A person can only visit the UK under certain restrictions. If a visitor fails to abide by these restrictions, their UK visa (or leave to remain) can be cancelled (or curtailed) by the Home Office. This post explains the reasons for UK visa cancellation at the airport concerning permitted and prohibited activities under Part V9 of Appendix V, Immigration Rules. It’s important to note that if a UK visitor or tourist visa is cancelled at the airport, this may lead to a re-entry ban. Visa cancellation at the airport may be due to long and frequent stays in the UK or engaging in prohibited activities during the preceding visit.
This article has been revised and updated on March 16, 2023, to reflect the latest information and regulations regarding UK visa cancellation as per Appendix V for Visitors, Immigration Rules.
Why UK Visitor Visas May Be Cancelled at the Airport
When visiting the UK, it’s important to understand what activities are permitted and what could lead to visa cancellation. Here are some reasons why a UK visitor visa may be cancelled at the airport:
- The visitor is suspected of not undertaking any permitted activities
- The visitor is suspected of intending to marry or form a civil partnership without a marriage visitor visa
- The visitor is suspected of intending to work, volunteer, or study beyond what is permitted under the Immigration Rules for visitors
- The visitor is suspected of intending to settle in the UK as a spouse/partner of a British citizen or that of a settled person
- There are doubts that the visitor will leave the UK at the end of their visit due to political conflict or social unrest in their home country
It’s worth noting that visitors and tourists are two different categories of travelers, each with their own specific visa requirements and rules. Visitors are typically allowed to stay for up to six months, while tourists can stay for up to 11 months.
Permitted Activities for UK Visitors
Here are some of the activities that visitors are permitted to do while in the UK:
- Tourism and leisure
- Volunteering for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- Private medical treatment
- Transiting the UK
- Permitted business activities, such as attending meetings or negotiating deals
- Conversion of a civil partnership to marriage
- Studying a short-term course
- Participating in an exchange program
- Educational visits
It’s important to note that visitors are not allowed to engage in paid or unpaid work, find employment, receive payments (except as permitted by paragraph V4.7 of Appendix V), study (except as permitted by paragraph 25 of Appendix 3), undergo medical treatment other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ, get married or form a civil partnership (except where the visitor has a visit visa endorsed for marriage or civil partnership), give notice of marriage or civil partnership, live in the UK for prolonged periods of time through frequent visits, or engage in other prohibited activities listed in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules.
Reasons for UK Visitor Visa Cancellation
If there are doubts about the visitor’s intentions or activities, their UK visitor visa may be cancelled at the airport. The Immigration Rules specify various reasons for visa cancellation, including:
- A change of circumstances for the visitor
- A change of purpose for visiting the UK
- Providing false information or failing to disclose material facts
- Medical reasons
- The visitor is not conducive to the public good in the UK
- Failure to supply information
- Curtailment due to false information or failure to disclose a material fact, failure to meet the requirements of the immigration rules, failure to comply with conditions, or being deemed not conducive to the public good
Visitors should be aware that if their visa is cancelled, they may be banned from re-entering the UK for a certain period of time. However, they can appeal the decision if they believe it was made in error.
Examples of Prohibited Activities
- A visitor doing voluntary work with a charity in the UK
- A visiting family member who gets employed as a childminder
- A visitor who intends to travel to the UK for volunteering or voluntary work rather than a permitted activity, such as tourism or attending a short-term course
- A visitor who receives payment from a UK source for their work during their stay
Change of Purpose for Visiting the UK
It’s possible for visitors to change their plans or undertake different permitted activities while in the UK. However, the main reason for their visit must still be a permitted activity. For example, if a visitor’s main reason for coming to the UK was to attend a sporting event that was later cancelled, they can still engage in other permitted activities such as tourism or attending a short-term course.
If a visitor holds a long-term visa, it’s natural for their reason for visiting to evolve over time. As long as they continue to engage in permitted activities, there should be no issue with visa cancellation due to a change in declared activity.
Visiting the UK can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand and follow the rules to avoid any issues with visa cancellation. By sticking to permitted activities, providing accurate information, and being mindful of any changes in plans, visitors can minimize the risk of visa cancellation and ensure a successful trip to the UK.