UK Visitor Visa application requirements and assessment 2019

UK visa assessmentIn the light of Appendix V for visitors, this relates to UK visitor visa application requirements and assessment 2019. Perhaps, the application process starts with the reason or need of visiting the UK. And culminates when an applicant gets the decision. Certainly, the decision is an outcome of the UK visitor visa assessment process, which evaluates the overall credibility of the applicant. Accordingly, the post highlights the importance of paragraph v4.2-v4.10 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules for a successful outcome. And also tries to explain the reasons for the variation in UK visa refusal rate across countries. Therefore, the post covers the following topics:

  1. Overview of the UK visa requirements and assessment 2019
  2. The UK Visit Visa Eligibility Requirements under paragraph v4.2-v4.10
  3. What is the UK visitor visa application assessment process?
  4. Factors affecting the UK visitor visa application assessment
  5. Who needs to apply for a visa for visiting the UK?
  6. UK visitor visa application processing time

1) Overview of the UK visa requirements and assessment 2019

Apparently, Appendix V for Visitors provides the details of the types of UK visitor visa applications. However, predominantly, for visiting the UK one needs to Apply for UK Standard Visitor Visa for different permissible visit activities. Moreover, the well most common purposes of applying for UK visitor visa are meeting family, attending a business meeting or just tourism for enjoying the sights and sounds of Great Britain.

What are other types of UK visitor visa applications?

According to paragraph V 1.5 of Appendix V for Visitors, apart from standard visitor visa, an applicant can apply for a marriage visitor visapermitted paid engagement visa and transit visa.

Types of UK visitor visaVisitors of this type can:The maximum length of stay that can be granted for each type of visitor:
Visit (standard)Do the permitted activities in Appendix 3 except visitors entering under the ADS agreement who may only do the activities in paragraph 3 of Appendix 3 (of Appendix V)up to 6 months, except: (i) a visitor who is coming to the UK for private medical treatment may be granted a visit visa of up to 11 months; or (ii) an academic, who is employed by an overseas institution and is carrying out the specific permitted activities paragraph 12 of Appendix 3 (of Appendix V), along with their spouse or partner and children, may be granted a visit visa of up to 12 months; or (iii) a visitor under the Approved Destination Status Agreement (ADS Agreement) may be granted a visit visa for a period of up to 30 days
Marriage or civil partnership visitVisit to marry or to form a civil partnership, or to give notice of this, in the UK, and do the permitted activities in Appendix 3up to 6 months
Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) visitDo the paid engagements in Appendix 4 and do the permitted activities in Appendix 3up to 1 month
Transit visitTransit the UKup to 48 hours, except for leave to enter as a transit visitor under the Transit Without Visa Scheme which may be granted until 23:59 hours on the next day after the day the applicant arrived

Visit Visa for the UK is a Bit Difficult to Get Since April 2015

Since the New Immigration Rules in April 2015, it has become slightly more difficult to get the UK visitor visa. However, if an applicant clarifies the purpose of applying for the UK visit visa and properly documents visa application then chances of success are quite high.

Who is a Visitor and Purpose of Visiting the UK?

Appendix V of the Immigration Rules provides the definition of a visitor in the UK. A visitor is a person who is visiting the UK for a temporary purpose to visit friends or family or to carry out a business activity or for tourism.

How to Apply and UK Visa Requirement?

An applicant can apply for a UK visitor visa application online at AccessUK. However, the first and foremost requirement is that the applicant clearly specifies the purpose of visiting the UK. Moreover, an applicant needs to furnish supporting documents. The supporting document help establishes that the visitor has:

  1. ample funds to support the trip costs
  2. intends to leave the UK at the end of the visit i.e. strong ties to the home country
  3. can meet the costs of an onward journey

Furthermore, each visitor needs to meet the UK visa requirements, even if they are travelling as a family group, a tour group or a school party. For

What an applicant needs to prove?

The decision of a visit visa for the UK largely depends on how one applies for the visa. Accordingly, for a successful UK visitor visa application, an applicant needs to prove that he/she will travel to the UK and will return to the Home Country after performing the permitted activity in the UK.

UK Visitor Visa Assessment and Requirements

The visitor visa applications are assessed on a Balance of Probability and the Onus of Proof is on the Applicant. Accordingly, applications are decided on the information provided by the applicant and any other relevant circumstances at the date of the decision.

This documentary evidence is evaluated during the UK Visa Assessment Process. Therefore, an applicant needs to furnish supporting documents for establishing personal credibility, ability to meet trip costs. And also family, employment, professional, business and social ties to the Home Country. If an applicant fulfils the UK visa requirements then a visitor visa is granted multiple entry 6-months.

UK Standard Visitor Visa Refusal

If an applicant is not able to establish bonafide in the application then instead of a visa, the passport is returned with a Refusal Letter. Accordingly, the refusal letter states the reasons for refusing the UK standard visitor visa application.

Standard Visitor Visa UK Refusal Due to Income and Bank Statement

In more than 80–90% of the visitor visa applications the common reasons relate to establishing income. This usually means origination of funds in the bank statement from employment or business. Perhaps, large deposits in the bank statements, which do not commensurate with the stated income of an applicant.

UK Standard Visitor Visa 10 Year Ban and Refusal on General Grounds

Moreover, quite a few applications are refused/banned on General Grounds due to past adverse immigration history- over-stayers, deportation, removals- or submitting false documents or making false statements in the application/during the interview.

UK Visit Visa Refusal Judicial Review

Please note: in case of a BAN, any future applications are automatically refused up-to 10 years. Therefore, if an applicant deems that the BAN is not justified then he/she needs to the challenge the refusal through a Judicial Review, as there is No Right of Appeal even for the Family Visitors since June 25, 2013.

For a simple refusal it is possible to reapply; however, keeping in view the nature and details of the refusal an applicant can decide whether to challenge a refusal decision or reapply after rejection. An authorized immigration solicitor can either challenge a refusal decision on behalf of an applicant or represents a UK visitor visa application or reapplication.

Long Term Visa for Frequent Visits to the UK

If an applicant has applied a Long Term UK Visit Visa for 2, 5 or 10 years then the purpose of frequently visiting needs to be clearly defined- such as visiting a family member on a regular basis (once or twice a year), regular business meetings, or just travelling to the UK for tourism purpose because of affinity to the Sounds and Sights of the UK. However, a visitor can’t stay for more than 180 days during a single visit on the long-term UK visit visa.

What is the UK Visa Refusal Rate?

The UK Visa Refusal Rate varies over time Refusal Rate 2005-15 and it varies from region to region and also from country to country UK Visa Refusal Rate by Country 2017 and UK Visa Success Rate 2018.

Why UK Visa Refusal Rate is Higher in Some Countries?

Perhaps, the disparity in the UK Visa Refusal Rates is due to the Security Risk perception of the respective countries.

On an individual level, it is the level of documentation that matters. This means if an individual is earning but there is no proper documentation available. Apparently, then there is no cogent evidence for establishing the earnings/income. Perhaps, the level of economic development has a correlation with the UK Visa Refusal Rate. Accordingly, applying for a UK visitor visa from  Singapore is much easier and usually successful. An applicant due to a well documented economic system can readily fulfil UK visit visa requirements. For example, explaining income details through bank statements, income tax returns, suppliers’ contracts, rental agreements, salary slips etc. Moreover, nationals from high-income countries are certainly less likely to live illegally in the UK. For instance, Japanese nationals can get an entry clearance on arrival in the UK.

2) UK Visit Visa Eligibility Requirements under paragraph v4.2-v4.10

This section explains the UK visitor visa application requirements in the light of paragraph v4.2-v4.10 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, in a nutshell, fulfilling UK visitor visa requirements means that an applicant clarifies his/her purpose of visiting the UK, has the ability to meet the trip cost without recourse to public funds and establishes clear intentions to return home after the journey.

UK Visit Visa Requirments under the Immigration Rules

Apparently, there has been a general misconception about the UK visitor visa requirements. Most of the applicants think that information relating to the procedural requirements such as filing an online standard visitor visa application form, attaching the supporting documents, fee payment and going to a UKVAC for submitting documents and biometrics are sufficient to meet UK visitor visa requirements. However, in reality, meeting the procedural requirements is only a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for the meeting the UK visitor visa requirements. Certainly, meeting the eligibility requirement under Paragraph v4.2-v4.10 of Appendix V is a sufficient condition for meeting the UK visitor visa application assessment for the grant of a visitor visa.

UK Visitor Visa Requirements: Paragraph v4.2-v4.10 of Appendix V

In terms of Paragraph V4.1 of Appendix V, an applicant needs to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Genuine Intentions to Visit (V 4.2): will visit the UK and come back at own cost without recourse to the public funds.
  2. Third-Party (sponsor(V 4.3 and 4.4): providing the funds, maintenance and accommodation provided by a third party
  3. No intentions of doing work in the UK (V 4.5 and V 4.6): prohibited activities and restrictions on permitted activities
  4. Payments (V 4.7): A visit can only receive permitted payments in the UK
  5. The applicant has no intentions to study except as permitted by paragraph 25 of Appendix 3 (V 4.8)
  6. No intentions to access medical treatment other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ (V 4.9)
  7. No intentions to marry or form a civil partnership, or to give notice of this, in the UK (V 4.10) except for in case of marriage visitor visa

Additional UK Visitor Visa Requirements Child, Medical, Academics

Moreover, there are additional UK visit visa eligibility requirements for child visitor (V 4.11 – V 4.13), private medical treatment (V 4.14 – V 4.16), organ donor (V 4.17 – V 4.20), ADS agreement (V 4.21) and academic seeking a 12-month visit visa (V 4.22).

UK Visitor Visa Suitability Requirements

Moreover, all visit visa applicants also need to fulfil the suitability requirements as per Part V3 (3.1 to 3.16) of Appendix V.

The Limitations of UK Visitor Visa Eligibility Requirements

Perhaps, requirements relating to work, receipt of payment, study, medical treatment and marriage are futuristic in nature. Accordingly, requirements under Paragraph V 4.5 to 4.10 of Appendix V relates to the prohibited activities in the UK i.e. these will affect the eligibility of a visitor if a visitor will breach the Condition of Stay in the UK.

Moreover, the evidence relating to sponsor documents (V 4.3 and V 4.4) is supplementary in nature. Apparently, most of the visitors applying for UK tourist visa even don’t need to furnish any sponsor documents. Therefore, an applicant can only furnish evidence relating to genuine intentions to visit the UK as per Paragraph V 4.2 of Appendix V.

What is Genuine intention to visit under paragraph V4.2?

In terms of paragraph V 4.2 of Appendix V, an applicant needs to satisfy that he/she is a genuine visitor, which means that the applicant:

(a) will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
(b) will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
(c) is genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes (these are listed in Appendices 3, 4 and 5); and
(d) will not undertake any prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10; and
(e) must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependants. And also the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.

Intentions of an applicant to leave the UK

Perhaps, in terms with Paragraph V 4.2 (a) and (c) of Appendix V, the most critical requirement for getting a visitor visa is to satisfy that the applicant will leave the UK at the end of the trip and is only seeking entry for a permitted purpose. Accordingly, the UK visitor visa refusal letter usually concludes by questioning the genuine intentions of an applicant to visit the UK.

Conditions of Stay in the UK and Eligibility Requirements

If an applicant is able to fulfil all the UK visit visa eligibility requirements then the caseworker grants a UK multiple entry visa with the conditions of no recourse to public funds, no study, except as permitted by paragraph 25 of Appendix 3; and no work (which does not prohibit the permitted activities in Appendix 3, 4 or 5 as set out in V1.5). However, the visa vignette usually states a summary of the conditions as No work or recourse to public funds.

3) What is the UK visitor visa application assessment process?

The Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) assesses a UK visitor visa application in the light of Immigration Rules. Perhaps, in the light of Paragraph V 4.2 of the Immigration Rules, the centrum illud of the assessment process is to evaluate an applicant’s genuine intentions to visit the UK on the principle of balance of probabilities. However, for proving genuine intentions the onus of proof is on the applicant. Therefore, the immigration officer only evaluates the proof submitted by the applicant in light of the immigration rules. And accordingly, makes a decision!

How to pass the UK visitor visa application assessment process?

For passing the UK visitor visa application assessment process, an applicant needs to meet the UK visit visa requirements so as prove his/her genuine intentions to visit the UK, which in a nutshell means that the applicant:

  • has sufficient funds for the trip
  • intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit
  • can meet the costs of return or onward journey

What is the meaning of onus of proof?

An applicant needs to provide clear and conclusive evidence to establish his/her personal circumstance and credibility. Certainly, a failure to do so is one of the very common UK Visit Visa refusal reason. Accordingly, if the ECO is not satisfied that an applicant may be able to either maintain himself during the trip or return to the home country then the ECO is quite likely to conclude by raising questions about the credibility and genuine intentions of visiting the UK.

What is the meaning of balance of probabilities?

In the context of the UK visitor visa application assessment, the balance of probabilities means the overall credibility of the applicant and authenticity of the evidence. Please note: in the assessment process there is no room for benefit of doubt i.e. if the decision-maker has even an iota of doubt about the credibility then the likely outcome is a refusal.

How much time the assessment process may take?

The UK visitor visa application assessment process is not an open-ended process. Usually, the ECO does not take much time to decide an application. Therefore, in most of the cases, the assessment process (i.e. reviewing the GWF Application Form and the supporting documents) should not take more than a few hours- perhaps even less. Accordingly, the decision-maker forms an opinion about the credibility of the applicant and decides accordingly. However, in only a few instances, the ECO may like to verify the documents, request for additional documents or interview the applicant then it may delay the decision-making process. However, if any case, what is important is the outcome and not the time duration.

UK visitor visa application assessment: the possible outcomes

Usually, the assessment process concludes with the following four types of decisions:

  1. Grant of visitor visa as per the request of the applicant. For instance, the grant of 6-months or 2 years multiple entry visa if an applicant has applied for either a 6-months or 2 years visa, respectively.
  2. Borderline decisions: grants of a visitor visa, which is less than the expectations of an applicant. For instance, the ECO grants a single entry visa for 30 days, instead of the 6-months multiple entry visa.
  3. If during the UK visa assessment process the ECO doubts the intentions of an applicant then instead of granting a visitor visa, the passport is returned with a Refusal Letter, stating the refusal reasons. Please note: there is no right of appeal for UK visitor visa refusal. However, an applicant can either reapply or challenge refusal through immigration judicial review.
  4. refusal on the suitability grounds, which may also include a re-entry ban or 10-year deception ban.

A few words about the implications of Borderline Decisions

As explained above, a borderline decision may yield a favourable outside. However, the result may not commensurate with the expectations of an applicant. Perhaps, the most common example of a borderlines decision is to get a short term visitor visa even after paying the fee for a long-term visitor visa. For instance, an applicant, applying for a 2-year visitor visa for business purpose, may end up getting a 6-months visa if he/she fails to explain the need for recurring visits to the UK.

4) Factors affecting the UK visitor visa application assessment

Perhaps, during the UK standard visitor visa application assessment process, the decision maker usually takes into account the following aspects:

  1. The Purpose of Visiting the UK
    • What could be a credible reason for visiting the UK?
  2. Financial and Personal Circumstances of an Applicant
    • Ties to the country of residence
    • Changes in the circumstances (for repeat visitors)
  3. Immigration and Travel History of the applicant
    • Compliance with the UK Immigration Rules (for repeat visitors)
    • Travels and Trips to Other Countries
    • Failure to Comply with the Immigration Law of other countries
  4. Duration of Foreign Trips
    • Period of Time Spend in the UK
  5. Is a visitor visa applicant making the UK his/her main home (for repeat visitors)
    • Assessment of the duration and frequency of visiting the UK
  6. The risk perception of an applicant’s country of residence
    • The Situation of an Applicant’s Country of Residence
    • The Degree of Non-Compliance to Immigration Rules
  7. Other possible grounds for doubting the intentions
    • Previous History of Deception
    • Discrepancies of Statements
    • Information Not Verifiable
    • Information and Reasons Not Credible
    • Baggage Search at the Border

1) The Purpose of Visiting the UK

In the assessment, it is carefully scrutinised whether the information provided, especially the reasons stated for either visiting or extending stay by an applicant are credible.

What could be a credible reason for visiting the UK?

The credibility of purpose means whether the reasons correspond to an applicant’s personal, family, economic and social background or not. For instance, a family member such as parent applying for a visit visa to meet their son or daughter is a credible reason. Likewise, an avid traveller applying for a visa to see the sights and sounds is also a credible reason. However, an unemployed person with weak ties, applying for a UK visitor visa application for tourism is not a credible reason. Therefore, if the ECO finds reasonable grounds to judge that the information provided by an applicant is incongruent with the applicant’s background then it is quite a sufficient condition for a refusal decision.

2) Financial and Personal Circumstances of an Applicant

Perhaps, in terms with paragraph V 4.2, an applicant needs to prove the ability to meet the trip cost. Accordingly, would be able to maintain and accommodate him/herself during the trip without recourse to public funds. Therefore, it is necessary during the UK visitor visa application assessment process to evaluate the evidence relating to the stable income and savings of an applicant. Moreover, the decision-maker also assesses an applicant’s ties to the country of residence.

What is the meaning of weak ties to the country of residence?

In the context of UK visitor visa application, weak ties mean that an applicant has only a limited number of family, economic, social, professional and business ties to the country of residence. Moreover, quite a few family members of the applicant are living in the United Kingdom. For instance, an applicant with most of his/her near and dear family members living in the UK with no full-time employment/study status in the country of residence may be deemed to have few ties with the home country.

Changes in the circumstances (for repeat visitors)

A repeat visitor is a person who has already travelled to the UK in the past on either one or more than one occasions for undertaking any permitted activity in the UK such as tourism, business and visiting family. Therefore, in case of a repeat visitor visa application, it is necessary for the decision-maker to look for changes in the circumstances of an applicant since his/her last trip to the UK. Certainly, the decision on a repeat application is on the principle of balance of probabilities. And there is no room for giving the benefit of doubt to the applicant!

Accordingly, the ECO carefully considers and evaluates all the relevant information before reaching an appropriate decision. Therefore, it is quite common that an application for a repeat visitor visa gets refused if the applicant is not able to prove his/her circumstances that may necessitate a grant of a visit visa. Likewise, a reapplication after a refusal can become successful, if an applicant is able to prove his/her credibility.

3) Immigration and Travel History of an applicant

Perhaps, if an applicant has no or limited travel history then the chances of getting a favourable decision are quite slim, especially it the purpose is tourism. However, an applicant’s travel and immigration history is not the only consideration during the UK visitor visa application assessment. Certainly, travel history provides useful information about the credibility of an applicant.

Compliance with the UK Immigration Rules

For repeat visitors, a pattern of previous visits to the UK may indicate that an applicant has complied with the UK Immigration Rules. Certainly, this increases the balances of probabilities in the UK visitor visa application assessment process.

Travels and Trips to Other Countries

Travels to other Countries such as the USA, Schengen Countries, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, etc. increases the balance of probabilities that an applicant is a genuine visitor. Moreover, a clean travel history also indicates that an applicant is a law-abiding person.

Failure to Comply with the Immigration Law of other countries

Perhaps, if an applicant has failed to comply with any other country’s immigration laws in the past then this may negatively impact the decision. For instance, if an applicant has been either removed from another country or refused entry to another country, this may lead to doubt an applicant’s intentions. However, it is not an automatic and sufficient condition for refusal but may reduce the balance of probabilities.

4) Duration of Foreign Trips to the UK and Other Countries

Certainly, the duration of past trips is an important consideration for the UK visitor visa application assessment process. Perhaps, the length of time, along with frequency, gives an indication of the purpose of visiting. And also the strength of ties with the home country.

Moreover, for repeat visitors, the decision-maker may check for discrepancies between the formerly stated length of stay on the UK visitor visa application and actual details (from an independent source) of an applicant’s journey to the UK. If there are discrepancies then this may not necessarily yield a  refusal decision. However, quite certainly, raise questions about the overall credibility of an applicant.

Period of Time Spend in the UK

Many visitors have a habit of extending their visits in the UK beyond the originally planned duration. For instance, a visitor’s family in the UK may request to prolong the stay in the UK. Perhaps, the applicants should certainly be mindful of the cumulative time period of their UK visit. And also the time spent in the UK during the preceding 12 months before making a new application. Certainly, spending time beyond the stated time duration on the visitor visa application leads to doubt the intentions. Accordingly, the decision-maker may become doubtful whether an applicant has made the UK the ‘de-facto’ residence or not.

5) Is a visitor visa applicant making the UK his/her main home?

For repeat visitors to the UK, the assessment process takes into the past trips of the applicant to the UK. Accordingly, the UK visitor visa application assessment process takes into account the duration of stay in the UK. And also the frequency of visiting the UK.

Assessment of the duration and frequency of visiting the UK

The frequency and duration of visits are scrutinised in the UK visitor visa application assessment process. According, this evaluate: whether a repeat visitor is making the UK his/her main home or not. Perhaps, for assessing frequency and duration, the decision-maker may consider the following aspects of a UK visitor visa application:

  • the purpose of visiting the UK
  • the intended duration of stay stated in the application form and the actual duration of stay during the previous visits
  • the number and length of visits made during the preceding twelve (12) months
  • the time period elapsed since the last visit
  • is an applicant spending more time in the UK than in his/her home country?;
  • what is the purpose of the return journey that an applicant is making to his/her home country? Is this nothing more than just to seek re-entry to the UK?;
  • the ties of an applicant to his country such as:
    • is an applicant is registered with the tax authorities of his/her home country?
    • are the children of the applicant attending schools in the UK?
  • the information on previous applications. For instance, if the previous application to settle in the UK through the family route has been refused. And an applicant merely intends to enter so as to join the family in the UK.

6) The risk perception of an applicant’s country of residence

Certainly, an ECO has the necessary information relating to the situation of an applicant’s country of residence. Therefore, the political, economic and security situation of an applicant’s country of residence and nationality are important considerations during the UK visitor visa application assessment process.

Assessment of country risk for UK visitor visa application

The country risk means the overall political, economic and security conditions of an applicant’s country of residence. Accordingly, during the UK visitor visa application assessment process, the decision-maker may raise questions such as:

  • is the applicant’s home country politically unstable?
  • is the applicant’s country of residence in a conflict zone?
  • are there imminent risks that the country will become politically unstable in the near future?

Accordingly, these macro signals could lead to doubt the intentions of an applicant to leave the UK. Therefore, applicants applying from countries where there is social and political turmoil needs to prove their credential in a much more precise and robust manner than nationals of those countries where there are relatively better and stable economic, political and social conditions.

The Overall Degree of Non-Compliance to Immigration Rules

In the light of the empirical and statistical data, the ECO also assesses a UK visitor visa application against the overall noncompliance to the Immigration Rules by the nationals/citizens of a country from which an applicant is making an application. Accordingly, this means that applicants belonging to countries that have a higher rate of non-compliance with Immigration Rules are more likely to go through a much rigorous and thorough assessment process.

7) Other possible grounds for doubting the intentions

Perhaps, apart from the aforesaid, the assessment process may consider many additional factors. However, some of the more common reasons for doubting an applicant’s intentions are:

Previous History of Deception and UK visitor visa application

The credibility of an applicant may becomes doubtful if an applicant or his/her sponsor (in case an applicant is visiting a relative or a friend) or sponsor’s/applicant’s immediate family members have used deception or have attempted to use deception in any of the previous visa applications – for entry clearance, leave to remain or leave to enter – submitted to HM’s Home Office.

Discrepancies of Statements

Certainly, the credibility becomes doubtful, if there are discrepancies in the declarations of an applicant and his/her sponsor. Perhaps, if the sponsor knows the information then the credibility may become even more doubtful.

Information provided with the UK visitor visa application

If after several attempts the decision-maker is not able to verify the information provided by an applicant. Then this will surely create an applicant’s credibility quite doubtful.

Information and Reasons Not Credible

If the information provided or the reason(s) stated in an application/interview are prima facie, not logical and reliable.

Baggage Search at the Border

In case if an applicant’s baggage search at the border reveals possession of items demonstrating intentions to work or live in the UK. Then perhaps, a record of such an instance would greatly undermine the credibility of any subsequent UK visitor visa application.

5) Who needs to apply for a visa for visiting the UK?

Apparently, citizens of 111 visa national countries require to have a visa for visiting the UK. However, nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE can get an electronic visa waiver (EVW) for visiting the UK up to 6 months for tourism, business, study and private medical treatment.

What about the EU citizens after Brexit?

Certainly, at present, EU citizens don’t require a visa for visiting the UK. However, after Brexit, with the end of the free movement, most of the EU citizens may continue to at-least visit the UK without a visa. Similar to non-visa nationals.

When a non-visa national may require a visitor visa?

Certainly, non-visa nationals such as citizens US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand etc may not need to apply for a UK visitor visa application. However, in terms of paragraph V 1.3 of Appendix V, a non-visa national require to apply for a UK visitor visa if he/she is:

  • visiting the UK to marry or to form a civil partnership, or to give notice of marriage or civil partnership in the UK, or
  • seeking to visit the UK for more than 6 months

Moreover, a list of visa nationals is as under:

List of Visa National Countries: citizens of these countries require a visa to visit or transit the UK
1Afghanistan38Georgia75Oman*
2Albania39Ghana76Pakistan
3Algeria40Guinea77Peru
4Angola41Guinea Bissau78Philippines
5Armenia42Guyana79Qatar*
6Azerbaijan43Haiti80Russia
7Bahrain*44India81Rwanda
8Bangladesh45Indonesia*82Sao Tome e Principe
9Belarus46Iran83Saudi Arabia
10Benin47Iraq84Senegal
11Bhutan48Ivory Coast85Serbia
12Bolivia49Jamaica86Sierra Leone
13Bosnia Herzegovina50Jordan87Somalia
14Burkina Faso51Kazakhstan88South Africa*
15Burma52Kenya89South Sudan
16Burundi53Korea (North)90Sri Lanka
17Cambodia54Kosovo91Sudan
18Cameroon55Kuwait *92Suriname
19Cape Verde56Kyrgyzstan93Swaziland
20Central African Republic57Laos94Syria
21Chad58Lebanon95Taiwan*
22People’s Republic of China*59Lesotho96Tajikistan
23Colombia60Liberia97Tanzania
24Comoros61Libya98Thailand
25Congo62Macedonia99Togo
26Cuba63Madagascar100Tunisia
27Democratic Republic of the Congo64Malawi101Turkey *
28Djibouti65Mali102Turkmenistan
29Dominican Republic66Mauritania103Uganda
30Ecuador67Moldova104Ukraine
31Egypt68Mongolia105United Arab Emirates*
32Equatorial Guinea69Montenegro106Uzbekistan
33Eritrea70Morocco107Venezuela
34Ethiopia71Mozambique108Vietnam*
35Fiji72Nepal109Yemen
36Gabon73Niger110Zambia
37Gambia74Nigeria111Zimbabwe

6) How quick is the UK visitor visa application processing time?

This section evaluates the stated UKVI Service Standards for UK visitor visa application processing time from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, USA and Lebanon during the month of January 2018. for the following types of applications:

  • Long-Term UK visitor visa applications for more than 6 months
  • UK General or Tourist Visitor visitor visa application for 6 months or less
  • Business visit visa for 6 months or less
  • Family visit visa for 6 months or less
  • Other visit visa applications for 6 months or less

Accordingly, the actual UK visitor visa application processing time from India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Lebanon and USA indicates that more than 90% of visa applications processed within 10-15 working days i.e. 2-3 weeks. Therefore, indicates that UKVI is meeting its service standards of deciding and returning UK visitor visa applications. Moreover, in most of the instances, 100% of the UK visitor visa applications within 30-60 working days (i.e. 6-12 weeks) in accordance with the stated service standards of UKVI.

UKVI Service Standards (Non-Settlement Applications)

The stated UKVI Service Standards (Non-Settlement) for UK visitor visa applications  from outside the United Kingdom is to process:

  • 90% of UK visitor visa applications within 3 weeks or 15 working days
  •  98% of UK visitor visa applications within 6 weeks or 30 working days
  • 100% of the UK visitor visa applications within 12 weeks or 60 working days

UKVI Priority Service Standards (Non-Settlement)

The purchase of priority service (for GBP 220 online or equivalent amount in the local currency at UKVAC) enables expediting processing of a UK visitor visa application before all other non-priority applications. However, purchasing priority visa service does not impact the outcome but FAST TRACK the decision process.

Do applicants go for the priority service?

Yes, they do, if they can afford it. Apparently, the actual visit visa processing times from India, Lebanon, Pakistan, USA and Nigeria indicates that 15-40% of the UK visitor visa applications processed within 3-5 working days. Therefore, UKVI seems to be meeting its stated service standard with respect to priority service as well. Please note: usually the Priority Service Standard is 5 days. However, it may vary from country to country. For instance, for applications submitted from Pakistan, it is 7-9 days

How long does a Priority Visa application take?

UKVI aims to make a decision on your Priority Visa application, and contact you to let you know that your passport is ready to be collected within 5 working days from when you submit your biometric information.

Long-Term UK Visit Visa Processing Time

The information relating to long-term visit visa processing time, during Jan 2018, from Nigeria, USA, Lebanon, Pakistan and India indicates that apart from missing out meeting the stated service standard, only by a very close margin, in Nigeria (89% in 15 days), UKVI has been able to process more than 90% of the applications within 15 days during the month of January 2018. Moreover, all the long-term visit visa applications were decided within 30-60 days.

  • Nigeria (Lagos)– 5%, 16%, 44%, 89% and 100% of the Long-Term UK Visitor Visa Applications submitted at UKVAC Lagos processed in 3, 5, 10, 15 and 60 days, respectively.
  • USA- 31%, 71%, 97%, 99% and 100% of the Long-Term UK Visitor Visa Applications from the USA processed in 3, 5, 10, 15 and 30 days, respectively.
  • Lebanon (Beirut)- 7%, 35%, 81%, 98% and 100% of the Long-Term UK Visit Visa Applications submitted at UKVAC Beirut processed in 3, 5, 10, 15 and 30 days, respectively.
  • Pakistan (Karachi)- 23%, 77%, 97% and 100% of the Long-Term UK Visit Visa Applications submitted at UKVAC Karachi decided within in 3, 5, 10 and 60 days, respectively.
  • India (Mumbai)- 99% and 100% of the applications from  Mumbai decided within 10 and 15 working days, respectively.

How long can I stay in the UK?

Here it is important to mention that Long-term visitor visas are for 2, 5 and10 years. And are for any eligible visiting purpose such as meeting family, doing business, tourism. However, an applicant cannot remain in the UK for more than 180 days during a single visit. For instance, if a holder of 10-years visitor visa enters the UK on Jan 1, 2019, needs to leave the UK on or before June 29, 2019. Usually, a long-term visit visa issued to those applicants who have a good immigration history. And also have a credible purpose of frequently visiting the UK.

UK General or Tourist Visit Visa Processing Time

The UK General Visit Visa application is for tourism and sight-seeing purpose i.e. the tourist visa.

During the month of January 2018, more than 90% of the UK Tourist Visit Visa Applications were decided within 10-15 days from Karachi, Mumbai, the USA and Beirut; however, in case of Lagos (Nigeria) the service standard was not achieved as 82%instead of 90% of the applications, were disposed within 15 days. Nevertheless, all the applications were decided within 30-60 workings days from Karachi, Mumbai, USA, Nigeria and Lebanon.

  • Pakistan- 72% and 97% of the applications from Karachi decided within 5 and 10 working days, respectively
  • India- 99% of the UK general visitor visa applications submitted from Mumbai decided within 10 working days
  • Nigeria- 82% and 100% of the applications from Lagos processed within 15 and 60 working days, respectively
  • USA– 11%, 62%, 97% and 100% of the UK general visitor visa applications from the USA processed in 3, 5, 10 and 60 days, respectively
  • Lebanon (Beirut)–  all the UK general visitor visa applications from Beirut processed within 30 working days

UK Business Visit Visa Processing Time

The Business Visitor Visa (6 months or less) is mainly issued for performing permitted business activities in the UK.

During the month of January 2018, more than 90% of the UK Tourist Visitor Visa Applications were decided within 10-15 days from Karachi, Mumbai, the USA, Lagos and Beirut. Moreover, apart from Beirut, all the applications were decided within 30-60 workings days from Karachi, Mumbai, USA and Nigeria.

  • Pakistan (Karachi)– 77% and 100% of the applications from Karachi decided in 5 and 15 working days, respectively.
  • India (Mumbai)- 40% and 100% of the applications from Mumbai decided within 5 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • Nigeria (Lagos)- 34%, 91% and 100% of the applications from Lagos processed within 5, 15 and 30 days, respectively.
  • USA- 35%, 77%, 99% and 100% of the UK Business Visitor Visa Applications from the USA were processed in 3, 5, 10 and 30 days, respectively.
  • Lebanon (Beirut)- 38% and 97% of the applications from Beirut processed within 5 and 15, respectively.

UK family visitor visa application processing time

The UK Family Visitor Visa applications for 6 months or less are for meeting brothers, sisters, son, daughter. And also to perform permitted activities in the UK. Certainly, the definition of family includes a stepbrother, stepsister etc. And in-laws such as mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, etc.

In January 2018, UK family visitor visa applications decided within 30 working days from Karachi, Mumbai, USA, Beirut and Nigeria.

  • Pakistan– 71% and 100% of the UK family visitor visa applications from Karachi decided within 5 and 15 days, respectively.
  • India- 10% and 99% of the applications from Mumbai decided within 5 and 10 working days, respectively.
  • Nigeria (Lagos)- 85% and 100% of the applications from Lagos processed within 15 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • USA- 10%, 47%, 96% and 100% of the UK family visitor visa applications from the USA processed in 3, 5, 10 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • Lebanon (Beirut)- 95% and 100% of the applications from Beirut decided within 15 and 30 working days, respectively.

Other UK visitor visa applications processing Time

Perhaps, the Other visitor visa (6 months or less) is for medical treatment, academics, undertaking tests etc. Apparently, during the month of January 2018, all the Other types of UK visitor visa applications decided within 30 workings days from Karachi, Mumbai, USA, Beirut and Nigeria.

  • Pakistan – 63% and 100% of the applications from Karachi assessed within 5 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • India – 97% and 100% of the applications from Mumbai decided within 10 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • Nigeria (Lagos)- 85% and 100% of the applications from Lagos processed within 15 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • USA- 52% and 100% of the applications from the USA assessed within 5 and 30 working days, respectively.
  • Lebanon (Beirut)- 98% and 100% of the applications from Beirut processed within 15 and 30 working days, respectively.

READ BLOG POSTS UK VISA & APPEAL SERVICES
UK VISA ENQUIRY PROCEDURE CONTACT IMMIGRATION SOLICITORS

Related Posts:

  1. Naturalisation Requirements for British Citizenship
  2. UK Visit Visa Extension- Can I Extend My UK Visitor Visa?
  3. UK Spouse Visa requirements for 5-years route under Appendix FM
  4. Start-up visa UK 2019 guidance and requirements for new business!
  5. UK Visa Fees India 2019: what are the charges in Indian Rupees?
  6. Form FLR(IR) – Applications for Extension of Stay in the UK
  7. UK Visa Fees USD and the cost of VFS premium services in the USA!
  8. UK visa fee Turkey 2019: application cost in Turkish Lira
  9. Child Visitor Visa UK: application guidance for minors under 18
  10. UK Visa Egypt: application fee, processing time and refusal rate
  11. Spouse Visa ILR Requirements: Set (M) guidance notes 2019
  12. UK Visa Turkey: applications, processing time and refusal rate
  13. Switch Visitor Visa UK: Can I Switch a Tourist Visa to Work Visa?
  14. UK Visa Fee Philippines: application cost for Filipino in Peso
  15. Immigration Appeal: waiting time, visa decisions, success rate
  16. UK Visa Fee Pakistan 2019: latest application charges in Rupees!
  17. UK Visa Saudi Arabia applications, processing times, refusal rate