New immigration rules for visitors to the UK

New set of rules for visitors to the UK will come into effect on all applications made on or after 24 April 2015.

A visitor is a person who is coming to the UK, usually for six months, for a temporary purpose, for example a tourist, to visit friends or family or to carry out business activity. Under the new rules there are four visit visa categories:

-marriage/civil partnership
-Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) visit and
-Transit visit

Standard visits will be granted for up to six months, unless they are for private medical treatment it which case can be granted up to 11 months. Married and civil partnership get 6 months. Permitted Paid Engagements visit only a month and transit visas for 48 hours.

The ‘genuine intention to visit‘ requirement.

The applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine visitor. This means that the applicant:
-will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
-will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
-is genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes; and
-will not undertake any prohibited activities; and 
-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 and onward journey, any costs relating to the dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.

The ‘maintenance‘ requirement

A visitor’s travel, maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party where the decision maker is satisfied that they:
-have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and
-are legally present in the UK, or will be at the time of the visitor’s entry to the UK; and
-can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay.

The third party may be asked to give an undertaking in writing to be responsible for the applicant’s maintenance and accommodation. An applicant will normally be refused where, having been requested to do so, the applicant fails to provide a valid written undertaking from a third party to be responsible for their maintenance and accommodation for the period of any visit.

Rules on extensions of visit visas

Normally if the original visit visa is for less than six months, you can only extend it to the maximum of six months. Please note that extensions are considered on a case by case basis.

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