UK Visa Guide – London Immigration Lawyers

Many people, when gaining a UK visa, or any Visa, usually need the help of an Immigration Lawyer.

Whether you’re simply here to learn or gaining a Visa in the United Kingdom is something that you wish to seriously look into, this is your one-stop shop to all the information that you’ll need.

Gaining a visa can be life-changing for a lot of people, for many, they see it as a fresh start in life, in a Country that will look after them and give them what they need to survive and become functioning members of society.

There is a little bit on Visas in our Services page, so information there will not be included in this blog post to avoid repetitiveness.

Let’s get started.

Visas give EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Commonwealth citizens the freedom to move to different countries, either for extended stays, for business meetings/trips, to work and live or to study at a University or school abroad and become an International Student. You may also be entitled to claim a British Visa if you have a loved one, i.e, family or your significant other currently have legal residence in the United Kingdom

Reasons people apply for a visa

  • For work and to do business
  • To study
  • Short stays and tourism
  • To join family members currently in the UK
  • To live permanently
  • As a refugee or someone who needs humanitarian protection
  • As a stateless person
  • As someone who needs permission to stay.

If you were looking at gaining a UK Visa, you would visit this website and follow the instructions. But, there are some things that you’d need to know first.

Your Visa isn’t guaranteed to be accepted if you don’t meet some requirements, you will be stopped at the border and questioned if border control feels as if you intend to either out-stay your visa or break the terms of your visa, e.g, working when your visa says you’re there for an extended term/holiday. If this is the case, you may need the help of an Immigration Lawyer to help smooth the process out.

There are 4 key stages of your visa application.

  1. Choosing your visa
  2. Preparing your application
  3. Attending an appointment
  4. Getting a decision on your application.

You should apply for your visa no earlier than 3 months before:

Your planned travel date if you’d like a visit visa

Course date start for study visas

Employment start if you’re applying for a work visa (can vary)

Click here to get an estimation on how long your visa could take to be processed

Settlement applications can take up to 6 months before they are approved, in this allotted time slot, you cannot come to the United Kingdom until you’re given permission to. You must travel in another time slot before your permission ends.

Payment for healthcare

As part of your visa, you’ll have to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your application. This only applies to you if you’re:

  • Not applying for a visa to live in the UK permanently
  • Applying to stay for a term longer than 6 months
  •  A national born of a country outside of the EEA
  • Applying to stay for more than 6 months

These will cover the payment of healthcare you may receive whilst in the country.


You’ll get a refund if:

  • You withdraw your visa application
  • your visa application is refused
  • if you paid twice

You will receive a partial refund if:

  • You don’t get as much time on your visa as you thought you would
  • Any dependants on your visa application are turned down.

You will not get a refund if:

  • You’re told to leave the UK before your visa expires
  • Your visa application is successful but you do not come to the UK
  • You leave the UK before your visa ends

How long does it take for your refund to be processed?

You will usually get your refund inside 6 weeks of getting a decision about your visa application. If you choose to appeal, it can take longer, this will be the same if you ask for an administrative review after your visa application is refused.


UK Visa application fees


TYPE OF APPLICATION FEE, GBPOutside / Inside UK before 6 April 2018 FEE, GBP

Outside / Inside UK after 6 April 2018

Tier 1 Investor £1,561 £1,623
Tier 1 Entrepreneur £982 / £1,228 £1,021 / £1,277
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur £349 / £474 £363 / £493
Tier 2 – 3 years £587 / £677 £610 / £704
Tier 2 – 5 years £1,174 / £1,354 £1,220 / £1,408
Sponsorship License Application £536 £536
Tier 4 £335 / £457 £348 / £475
Tier 5 £235 £244
Family Settlement (Spouse Visa) £1,464 / NA £1,523 / NA
FLR (FP, O, M, S) NA / £993 NA / £1,033
MN-1 (Registration child – British Citizenship) £973 £1,012
AN (Naturalisation – British Citizenship) £1,282 £1,330
Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) £1,464 / £2,297 £1,523 / £2,389
Another dependant relative (s) £3,250 / NA £3,250 / NA
Visit visa – short up to 6 months £89 / NA £93 / NA
Visit visa – long up to 2 years £337 / NA £350 / NA
Visit visa – long up to 5 years £612 / NA £636 / NA
Visit visa – long up to 10 years £767 / NA  £798 / NA
EEA Applications (all forms) free / £65 free / £65

Note: these are government prices, not ours.

Required documentation for a UK Visa

There are standard documents that are needed but these vary depending on the type of Visa you’re applying for.

These are the documents you may be asked to provide when applying for a UK Visa:

  • Detailed travel itinerary
  • Filled application form
  • Recent photographs
  • Document(s) showing the payment of the UK visa application fees
  • Biometric information. This is only needed if you’re looking at staying in the UK for more than six months.

The UK uses a points-based system when it comes to Visas as a way of regulating immigration. This is in place of an old system that was a lot more complex and hard to cover. This system evaluates candidates based on the points they can gather by meeting each visa requirement.

Now we’re going to go over the different types of visas in more detail.

Work and Business Visas

The government is very strict with its visas, the large majority of people who apply for visas are not allowed to work. There is an exception of course if you apply for a work visa. Once doing this you will be categorized. There are 3 different tiers.

  • Highly qualified foreigners
  • Killed foreign workers with a job offer in a shortage area
  • Youth mobility and temporary reign workers

Student Visas

These are given to international students who wish to study in the UK. There are two different types

  • Child – For children whose parents have sent them to boarding school etc
  • Adult – This is more tailored for those wishing to attend a College or University of their choice

Tourist and Short-stays Visas

The United Kingdom is a very popular tourist destination for many reasons. For shorter periods or for long monthly holidays, the United Kingdom can cater for it all. UK authorities don’t allow periods of above 6 months usually as they will suspect you’re here for work. As you’d expect, work is prohibited with this type of visa.

Different categories in this section include:

  • Marriage Visitor Visa
  • Parent of a Child Student Visa
  • Permitted Paige Engagement Visa
  • Short-term Study Visa
  • UK Visitor Visa
  • Visa for a Chinese Tour Group

Family Visas

This type of visa is given to people who have family in the United Kingdom. This can include an extended visit of longer than six months but the visa applicant is still not allowed to work. Your family has to claim dependency upon you as you’re not allowed to work. This can be husband or wife, partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner, children, parents or other family members.


  • UK Spouse visa
  • UK Parent visa
  • UK Child visa

Transit Visas

Transit Visas are for foreigners that are not from the EEA or Switzerland and are using the country to pass from one to another. If the applicant can prove that they will be coming in and out of the UK a lot they can apply for a long-term transit visa that can be anywhere from 1 year to 10 years of access.


  • Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) – For those who have to change flights in the UK without leaving the airport
  • Visitor in Transit Visa – For reigners that have to leave the airport and have other means of transport. This visa can be valid for up to 4 days and includes people that get to their destination by land.

UK Residence Permit

For applicants looking to gain temporary residence in the UK.


  • Returning Resident Visa
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs)
  • Settlement visa as a refugee or for Humanitarian Protection

EEA Residence Permit


  • EEA Residence Cards
  • Certificate of entitlement for the right to abode in the UK
  • UK Registration Certificate
  • EEA family permit related to retained rights of residence
  • UK Permanent Residence Card
  • EEA family permit related to Surinder Singh
  • EEA family permit related to the derivative right of residence.

UK Settlement Visa

The UK Settlement visa is commonly known as an “Indefinite Leave to Remain” permit and is for those who have been living in the UK for a long period of time with a temporary visa and would like a permanent one. This applies to people who have lived outside of the UK for at least 2 years and would like to return or their passport was lost.

Foreigners that already live in the United Kingdom with refugee or humanitarian status and want to settle here permanently or for a family reunion can also do so. Most of these visas require that the applicant has lived for at least 5 years in the UK.

Temporary Visa for Refugees and Stateless people

This visa is for people who are about to enter the UK and are at the borders because they’ve left their country due to a serious threat to their lives. This application is made in the UK at the border and lasts as long as the visa holder is no longer endangered in their own country, upon which time, they will return to their country. This visa is given out typically anywhere between 2-6 years. The visa for stateless people is for foreigners living in the UK and are not nationals in any other country in the world.

What you should know as a British Visa holder

Your visa does not grant you immunity from not being sent away at the border, earlier on in this blog post we explored the possibility that border patrol may deny you entry if they suspect your entry is not genuine and you will break the terms of your visa in any way, which is a criminal offence in the UK. Any form of overstaying is a criminal offence and could result in either deportation or jail time, depending on the severity.

Travelling abroad is allowed with a UK visa, however, there may be additional requirements the holder will have to fulfil depending on their nationality and purpose of the travel.


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