New Changes to the UK Visitor Visa Route

By 11th December 2020 No Comments

What are the new changes to UK Visitor Visas?

Can’t wait to see the new Big Ben after its major makeover? Counting the days until you can sip on your pint of beer in Covent Garden again? Planning for that perfect Instagrammable moment with your friends and family in the UK?

This article applies to you if you plan to visit the UK soon, either for tourism or to see your friends and family in the UK.

The ‘freedom of movement’ is coming to an end on 31 December 2020. The new set of immigration rules will be effective immediately starting 1 January 2021. Even though the visitor rules have not changed drastically, there are still minor changes you should understand before packing your bags.

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens travelling from 1 January 2021

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, this applies to you. In fact, you will be treated as a non-visa national from 1 January 2021 onwards. This means you can continue visiting the UK for holidays or short-term trips.  You can attend business meetings without needing a visa. You can enter the UK with a valid passport or a national identity card. However, from 1 October 2021, you cannot use your national identity card to enter UK Borders unless certain exceptions apply. One practical piece of advice is to ensure you have travel insurance with health cover before travelling to the UK! Short-term visitors cannot use the NHS for free anymore from January 2021. While holidays are always relaxing and wonderful, make sure expensive medical treatment bills don’t burden you, if you need necessary medical treatment during your visit.

As a non-visa national, EEA or Swiss nationals will be treated as the same as citizens from countries such as the US, Canada and Australia.  Non-visa nationals do not require a visa before they travel to the UK. You can typically seek entry on arrival in the UK and can stay in the UK as a tourist for up to 6 months without a visa.

Do you want to study a long-term course, or do paid/unpaid work in the UK? You will need to apply for a Student Visa or Skilled Worker visa before starting your studies or employment.

Photograph of Guard outside Buckingham Palace

Guard outside Buckingham Palace, London, UK

New changes for all visitors

Instead of setting out mandatory refusal grounds by each paragraph, the new Appendix V: Visitor incorporated Part 9: general grounds for refusal and the famous paragraph 39E as a suitability requirement for all visitors.

Requirements for providing biometrics, satisfactory identity documents and the payment for visa application fees moved under the validity requirement. Failing to provide one of the above, could result in an invalid application. When this happens, the Home Office will generally reject and do not consider them.

The new Rules certainly relaxed visitor requirements in some aspects. For example, visitors can now come to the UK for the primary purpose of studying for up to six months, at an accredited institution. Alternatively, you can also undertake short courses for up to 30 days. Students from overseas may also visit the UK to undertake research or be taught about research, for up to 6 months, if the research is relevant to their course of study.

For more information:

For guidance with UK immigration, please contact our experienced immigration solicitors today on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.

If you are interested in visiting Australia, please contact our relevant specialists on www.emigrate-to-australia.co.uk.

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