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New immigration rules for visitors to the United Kingdom

A new set of rules for visitors to the United Kingdom has been introduced taking effect on all applications made on or after 24 April 2015. The changes are brought about by Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 1025. The new rules are set out in a new Appendix V to the Immigration Rules. V is for Visitor, not Vendetta, nor is it a reference to a trashy 1980s scifi show. Appendix V does not represent any major change in what a visitor needs to show in order to be granted a visa but the rules are now presented very differently to the past and new guidance is also available.

Structure of Appendix V

Appendix V has its own set of appendices, one to five, and these collectively attempt to set out the legal requirements for making an immigration application as a visitor in plain and simple language. At the time of writing navigation of the new Appendix V is not helped by the use on GOV.UK of pdf documents and the lack of a contents page with internal hyperlinks. The new structure is:

  • Introduction
  • Part V1. Entry to the UK
  • Part V2. Making an application for a visit visa
  • Part V3. Suitability requirements for all visitors
  • Part V4. Eligibility requirements for visitors (standard)
  • Part V5. Eligibility requirements for a PPE visitor (PPE stands for Permitted Paid Engagement)
  • Part V6. Eligibility requirements for a marriage or civil partnership visit visa
  • Part V7. Transit visitor
  • Part V8. Extension of stay as a visitor
  • Part V9. Grounds for cancellation of a visit visa or leave before or on arrival at the UK border and curtailment of leave
  • Visitors Appendix 1. Definitions and interpretations
  • Appendix 2. Visa national list (oddly the word ‘Visitors’ is missing from the title, presumably by accident)
  • Visitors Appendix 3. Permitted activities for all visitors (except transit visitors)
  • Visitors Appendix 4.Permitted paid engagements
  • Visitors Appendix 5. Permit free festivals

You will need to open Appendix V and scroll or search (ctrl-f) to find the relevant parts.

What has changed from the old rules?

visit visa application checking service-3If you are reading this to find out about the requirements for a visit visa under the old rules, you can skip this bit, which is intended for lawyers and advisers wondering what has changed.

Lawyers and legal advisers may be interested in the excellent and free practice note on visitors by LexisNexis. The definitions of the different categories of visitor at paragraph 6 to the Immigration Rules are all scrapped, as are paragraphs 40 to 56Z of the Immigration Rules. Some transitional arrangements are inserted here instead, including the following:

From 24 April 2015 the following provisions of these rules will not apply to visitors, except where specifically provided for in Appendix V: Immigration Rules for Visitors:

a. Paragraph 6;
b. Part 1;
c. Part 9;
d. Appendix 1;
e. Appendix R.

The definitions, application formality, general grounds and visa national requirements of the Immigration Rules are disapplied to visitors? Whoa, there! But not all is at it seems.

Experienced immigration lawyers will start to think the new requirements in Appendix V sound eerily familiar. It gradually dawns that the plain language is an explanation of the effects of other parts of the Immigration Rules, namely the disapplied Part 1. This attempt at explaining things in plain language is admirable, although having to cross reference different sub appendices to appendices to the rules is somewhat less than convenient or simple.

Where to find law and policy on visitors

Appendix V to the Immigration Rules sets out the formal legal requirements for visitors. The Home Office also publishes guidance for its own staff on how to make decisions and apply the law (Visit Guidance and Considering human rights claims in visit applications) and also guidance for applicants on what documents to submit with an application (Visitor: supporting documents guide).

Administrative requirements for visitors

Part V1 sets out some of the administrative and formal legal requirements for visitors about what they need to do to enter the UK. It explains the need to obtain permission to enter the UK with either a visit visa or leave to enter, that visa nationals must apply for a visit visa before travelling and that non visa nationals may apply before travelling but do not need to.

Words which have specific legal definitions are in italics and the reader is told that the definitions are set out in “Appendix 1”, which actually means “Visitors Appendix 1”. There are several sloppy drafting mistakes of a similar nature in the rules.

Part V2 tells an applicant about how to make a visit visa application (apply online, pay the fee, etc.), that the date of application will usually be considered to be the date the fee is paid and that withdrawal of the application will not result in return of the fee.

What is a visitor anyway?

The introduction to Appendix V opens with a pithy and plain language definition of what a visitor is and is not considered to be:

A visitor is a person who is coming to the UK, usually for up to six months, for a temporary purpose, for example as a tourist, to visit friends or family or to carry out a business activity.

Visitors cannot work or study in the UK unless this is allowed by the permitted activities that are set out in these Visitor Rules.

The rest of Appendix V then struggles to define in both positive and negative terms what a visitor is and is not, drawing on Austen-esque language such as ‘suitability’ and ‘eligibility’ and subcategorising different types of visitor.

Part V4 continues the attempt to define what a visitor is and is not with the “genuine intention to visit” requirement:

V 4.2 The applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine visitor. This 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 the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.

The funds can be provided by a third party — often referred to as a sponsor — if the third party has a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor, is legally present in the UK (or will be at the time of the visitor’s entry) and can and will provide support for the intended duration of the visitor’s stay: see paragraph V4.3. An undertaking may be requested of the sponsor.

These requirements apply to all the categories of visitor, but some of the different categories also have additional criteria they must meet, described below.

Categories of visitor

Next we learn that there are to be four categories of visitor, with alarmingly varied use of capitalisation and parentheses:

  • visit (standard)
  • marriage / civil partnership visit
  • Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) visit and
  • Transit visit.

Different periods of leave might be granted to different types of visitor:

Type of visit Maximum length of stay
Standard visit 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 these Rules, 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/civil partnership Up to 6 months
Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Up to 1 month
Transit Up 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.

Here we can see that the supposed simplicity of the new visit visa categories breaks down and we can see that there are some subcategories. Standard visitors and transit visitors both have different subcategories of visitor within them.

Standard visitors

The “standard visitor” category actually includes several subcategories each of which has additional qualifying criteria. Basically, if a visitor is coming to the UK as a visitor for one of several defined reasons as set out below they will have to meet certain additional requirements over and above a normal standard visitor. If not coming to the UK for one the defined reasons then the visitor will be a true “standard” visitor.

Child

The additional requirements if the visitor is a child are:

  • Adequate arrangements must have been made for their travel to, reception and care in the UK.
  • If the applicant is not applying or travelling with a parent or guardian based in their home country or country of ordinary residence who is responsible for their care; that parent or guardian must confirm that they consent to the arrangements for the child’s travel to, and reception and care in the UK. Where requested, this consent must be given in writing.
  • A child who holds a visit visa must either:

(a) hold a valid visit visa that states they are accompanied and will be travelling with an adult identified on that visit visa; or
(b) hold a visit visa which states they are unaccompanied;

if neither applies, the child may be refused entry unless they meet the requirements of the previous paragraph.

Private medical treatment

The additional requirements if the visitor is a private medical treatment visitor are:

  • If the applicant is suffering from a communicable disease, they must have satisfied the medical inspector that they are not a danger to public health.
  • The applicant must have arranged their private medical treatment before they travel to the UK, and must provide a letter from their doctor or consultant detailing:

(a) the medical condition requiring consultation or treatment; and
(b) the estimated costs and likely duration of any treatment which must be of a finite duration; and
(c) where the consultation or treatment will take place.

  • If the applicant is applying for an 11 month visit visa for the purposes of private medical treatment they must also:

(a) provide evidence from their medical practitioner in the UK that the proposed treatment is likely to exceed 6 months but not more than 11 months; and
(b) provide a valid TB certificate if required.

Organ donor

Quite why the Home Office seems so obsessed with the idea that some people might pretend to be an organ donor for the nefarious purpose of obtaining a visit visa to the UK is quite a mystery. Arguably, Home Office resources might be better used then in drafting and enforcing these particular rules. In any event, the additional requirements if the visitor is intending to donate an organ are:

  • An applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they genuinely intend to donate an organ, or be assessed as a potential organ donor, to an identified recipient in the UK with whom they have a genetic or close personal relationship.
  • The applicant must provide written confirmation of medical tests to show that they are a donor match to the identified recipient, or that they are undergoing further tests to be assessed as a potential donor to the identified recipient.
  • The applicant must provide a letter, dated no more than three months prior to the applicant’s intended date of arrival in the UK from either:

(a) the lead nurse or coordinator of the UK’s NHS Trust’s Living Donor kidney Transplant team; or
(b) a UK registered medical practitioner who holds an NHS consultant post or who appears in the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council; which confirms that the visitor meets the requirements medical and confirms when and where the planned organ transplant or medical tests will take place.

  • The applicant must be able to demonstrate, if required to do so, that the identified recipient is legally present in the United Kingdom or will be at the time of the planned organ transplant.

ADS agreement

An applicant under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement with China must:

(a) be a national of the People’s Republic of China; and
(b) intend to enter, leave and travel within the UK as a member of a tourist
group under the ADS agreement.

Academic seeking 12 month visit visa

An academic applying for a 12 month visit visa (standard) must:

(a) be highly qualified within their own field of expertise; and
(b) currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of
higher education overseas; and
(c) provide a TB certificate if required

Marriage and civil partnership visitors

Marriage and civil partnership visitors are allowed to do any of the activities listed in Visitor Appendix 3 that a standard visitor can do, but they must also meet the additional requirements of Part V6. These are that they must hold a valid visit visa as a marriage and civil partner visitor and:

(a) intend to give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
(b) intend to marry or form a civil partnership; and
(c) do not intend to give notice of or enter into a sham marriage or sham civil partnership, within the validity period covered by their visit visa.

Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visitors

PPE visitors are allowed to do any of the activities listed in Visitor Appendix 3 that a standard visitor can do, but they must also meet the additional requirements of Part V6:

An applicant must intend to do one (or more) of the permitted paid engagements set out in Appendix 4 to these Rules, which must:
(a) be arranged before the applicant travels to the UK; and
(b) be declared as part of the application for a visit visa or leave to enter; and
(c) be evidenced by a formal invitation, as required by Appendix 4; and
(d) relate to the applicant’s area of expertise and occupation overseas.

Visitors Appendix 4 then sets out what is meant by a “permitted paid engagement” for the purpose of a visit visa:

(a) an academic who is highly qualified within his or her field of expertise
may examine students and/or participate in or chair selection panels, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution or a UK based research or arts organisation as part of that institution or organisation’s quality assurance processes.
(b) An expert may give lectures in their subject area, if they have been invited by a UK Higher Education Institution; or a UK based research or arts organisation provided this does not amount to filling a teaching position for the host organisation.
(c) An overseas designated pilot examiner may assess UK based pilots to ensure they meet the national aviation regulatory requirements of other countries, if they have been invited by an approved training organisation based in the UK that is regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority for that purpose.
(d) A qualified lawyer may provide advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of dispute resolution for legal proceedings within the UK, if they have been invited by a client.
(e) A professional artist, entertainer, musician or sports person may carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, if they have been invited by a creative (arts or entertainment) or sports organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK.

Children cannot be PPE visitors.

Transit visitors

Part V7 deals with transit visitors, who are defined as follows:

A transit visitor is a person who seeks to travel via the UK en route to another destination country outside the common travel area.

Reference is made to Direct Airside Transit Visas which can be obtained if the traveller will stay “airside” and never formally enter the UK. Otherwise, a transit visit visa must be applied for in advance of travel or those who qualify for the transit without visa scheme can apply for leave to enter on arrival.

To qualify for a transit visa or leave to enter on arrival for transit the traveller must show they:

(a) are genuinely in transit to another country outside the common travel area, meaning the main purpose of their visit is to transit the UK and that the applicant is taking a reasonable transit route; and
(b) will not access public funds or medical treatment, work or study in the UK; and
(c) genuinely intend and are able to leave the UK by 23:59 hours on the day after the day when they arrived or within 48 hours after their arrival where they hold a transit visit visa; and
(d) are assured entry to their country of destination and any other countries they are transiting on their way there.

The transit without visa scheme also has additional requirements which are set out at paragraphs V 7.6 to 7.9.

Suitability requirements for visitors

Part V3 is entitled “suitability requirements for all visitors”. Jane Austen must be turning in her grave. In fact this part reintroduces the general grounds for refusal from paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules but in plain English. This mandates or requires refusal of an application in some circumstances (‘will be refused’) and enables discretionary refusal (‘will normally be refused’) of an application in some circumstances.

The following list of the main suitability requirements (for the full list see Part V3) should be read as ‘or’: any one of these may trigger refusal:

Will be refusedWill normally be refused

Minister personally directs exclusion of applicant

Currently subject of a deportation order

ECO believes exclusion of applicant is conducive to public good because of their conduct, convictions, character, associations or other reasons

Sentenced to imprisonment of 4 years or more

Sentenced to imprisonment between 1 and 4 years unless 10 years has passed since end of sentence

Sentenced to imprisonment less than 1 year unless 5 years has passed since end of sentence

False representations have been made or false documents or information have been submitted (whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge) or material facts have not been disclosed

Applicant, when aged 18 years or over, breached the UK’s immigration laws: (a)  by overstaying (except where this was for 90 days or less and they left the UK voluntarily and not at public expense); or (b) by breaching a condition attached to their leave; or (c)  by being an illegal entrant; or (d)  if deception was used in relation to an application or documents used in support of an application (whether successful or not). If one of these triggers applies, a re-entry ban of between 1 and 10 years will apply depending on circumstances and the highest relevant exclusion period will apply. An exclusion period of 10 years starting from when the trigger occurred is imposed if deception was used in an application for entry clearance or if the applicant was previously removed from the UK.  Otherwise, an exclusion period of 5 years applies where the person left or was remove from the UK as a condition of a caution or where they left voluntarily but at public expense. Failing that, a 2 year ban applies if they left voluntarily at public expense or a 1 year ban applies if they left voluntarily at their own expense.

Applicant fails to produce a valid travel document that satisfies the decision maker as to their identity and nationality

Applicant fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a requirement to attend an interview, provide information, provide biometrics or undergo a medical examination or provide a medical report.

Convicted of or admits to offence in last 12 months resulting in non custodial sentence or out of court disposal recorded on criminal record

In view of Secretary of State the applicant’s offending has caused serious harm

In view of Secretary of State the applicant is a persistent offender

If the application has previously breached UK immigration laws but is outside the relevant re-entry ban time period the application will normally be refused if there are other aggravating circumstances, such as a failure to cooperate with immigration control or enforcement processes. This applies even where the applicant has overstayed for 90 days or less and left voluntarily and not at public expense: see below.

On the advice of the medical inspector, it is undesirable to grant the application for medical reasons

Where the applicant owes in excess of £1,000 of unpaid NHS charges

It is worth making representations for a ‘will normally be refused’ application because there is a discretion to grant the application and even if refused an appeal might potentially succeed. Where a refusal is mandatory, it would be very exceptional for an application to be granted, but it may be possible in some circumstances where the refusal is based on previous convictions: see this earlier blog post.

What can and can’t visitors do in the UK?

Credit: Holidayextras
Credit: Holidayextras

The rules on what visitors can and cannot do are complex. Because of the ‘negative freedom’ way in which the law operates so as to allow all things which are not specifically prohibited, it is sensible to start with the specific activities that visitors are prohibited from carrying out. Conceptually, visitors are then permitted to carry out any other activity.

There is a distinction between breach of a formal condition stated on a visa and doing something that is not permitted under the Immigration Rules for a particular type of visitor. The former is a criminal offence under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971. The latter is a breach of the Immigration Rules and a breach of trust, effectively, and will have adverse future immigration implications if discovered by the Home Office. It is not a criminal offence, however.

Can’t do

Formal conditions or restrictions will be imposed on a visit visa, breach of which amounts to a criminal offence:

(a) no recourse to public funds; and

(b) no study (which does not prohibit the incidental study allowed by the permitted activities at Appendix 3); and

(c) no work (which does not prohibit the permitted activities in Appendix 3, 4 or 5)

Paragraphs V 4.5 to 4.10 set out additional detail and prohibited activities. Study is here defined as any study beyond a maximum of 30 days of “incidental study” as permitted by Appendix 3. Any study in excess of that will necessitate an application under paragraphs A57A to A57H of the main Immigration Rules as “Persons seeking to enter the UK for short-term study”.

Work is defined in paragraph V 4.5 to 4.6 as including:

(a) taking employment in the UK;

(b) doing work for an organisation or business in the UK;

(c) establishing or running a business as a self-employed person; (d) doing a work placement or internship;

(e) direct selling to the public;

(f) providing goods and services

An exception is made for the activities listed as permitted activities in Appendices 3, 4 or 5. However, this exception is subject to a further exception (an “un-exception”?):

Permitted activities must not amount to the applicant taking employment, or doing work which amounts to them filling a role or providing short-term cover for a role within a UK based organisation. In addition, where the applicant is already paid and employed outside of the UK, they must remain so.

Confusingly, and rather ridiculously, this further exception/un-exception is subject to a further exception. The visitor must not receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except for the following:

(a) reasonable expenses to cover the cost of their travel and subsistence, including fees for directors attending board-level meetings; or

(b) prize money; or

(c) billing a UK client for their time in the UK, where the applicant’s overseas employer is contracted to provide services to a UK company, and the majority of the contract work is carried out overseas. Payment must be lower than the amount of the applicant’s salary; or

(d) multi-national companies who, for administrative reasons, handle payment of their employees’ salaries from the UK; or

(e) where the applicant is engaged in Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) as listed at Appendix 4, provided the applicant holds a visa or leave to enter as a PPE visitor; or

(f) paid performances at a permit free festival as listed in Appendix 5.

Other prohibited activities include intending to access health treatment, unless it is private health treatment or donating an organ and the relevant additional eligibility criteria are met, and intending to get married or enter a civil partnership (or give notice) unless in possession of a visit visa endorsed for such a purpose.

Can do

Most standard visitors (with the exception of ADS visitors who can only visit friends and family or come to the UK for a holiday) can engage in any of the many activities listed in Visitors Appendix 3. This is quite a long list of activities :

A visitor may visit friends and family and / or come to the UK for a holiday.

A visitor may undertake incidental volunteering, provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

A visitor on business may:
(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
(b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;
(c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
(d) attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;
(e) carry out site visits and inspections;
(f) gather information for their employment overseas;
(g) be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.

An employee of an overseas based company may:
(a) advise and consult;
(b) trouble-shoot;
(c) provide training;
(d) share skills and knowledge;
on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group, provided no work is carried out directly with clients.

An internal auditor may carry out regulatory or financial audits at a UK branch of the same group of companies as the visitor’s employer overseas.

A prospective entrepreneur visitor who can show support from:
(a) one or more registered venture capitalist firms regulated by the financial conduct authority; or
(b) one or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is listed as endorsed on www.gov.uk/government/publications/entrepreneurs-setting-up-in-the-uk/entrepreneurs-setting-up-in-the-uk; or
(c) one or more UK Government departments
may come to the UK for discussions to secure funding from one of the above sources which they intend to use to join, set up or take over a business in the UK.

An employee of a foreign manufacturer or supplier may install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on equipment, computer software or hardware where it has a contract of purchase or supply or lease with a UK company or organisation.

A client of a UK export company may be seconded to the UK company in order to oversee the requirements for goods and services that are being provided under contract by the UK company or its subsidiary company, provided the two companies are not part of the same group. Employees may exceptionally make multiple visits to cover the duration of the contract.

Scientists and researchers may:
(a) gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;
(b) share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying our research in the UK.

Academics may:
(a) take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
(b) carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution;
(c) if they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.

An expert witness may visit the UK to give evidence in a UK court. Other witnesses may visit the UK to attend a court hearing in the UK if summoned in person by a UK court.

An overseas lawyer may advise a UK based client on specific international litigation and/or an international transaction.

Religious workers may visit the UK to preach or do pastoral work.

An artist, entertainer, or musician may:
(a) give performances as an individual or as part of a group;
(b) take part in competitions or auditions;
(c) make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities;
(d) take part in one or more cultural events or festivals on the list of permit free festivals in Appendix 5 (where payment is permitted).

Personal or technical staff or members of the production team of an artist, entertainer or musician may support the activities in paragraph 16 of this Appendix or paragraph 1(e) of Appendix 4, provided they are attending the same event as the artist, entertainer or musician, and are employed to work for them outside of the UK.

Film crew (actor, producer, director or technician) employed by an overseas company may visit the UK to take part in a location shoot for a film or programme that is produced and financed overseas.

A sports person may:
(a) take part in a sports tournament or sports event as an individual or part of a team;
(b) make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities;
(c) take part in trials provided they are not in front of a paying audience;
(d) take part in short periods of training provided they are not being paid by a UK sporting body;
(e) join an amateur team or club to gain experience in a particular sport.

Personal or technical staff of the sports person, or sports officials, may support the activities in paragraph 19 of this Appendix or in paragraph 1(e) of Appendix 4, if they are attending the same event as the sports person, and are employed to work for them outside the UK.

Individuals employed outside the UK may visit the UK to take part in the following activities in relation to their employment overseas:
(a) a translator and/or interpreter may support a business person in the UK, provided they will attend the same event(s) as the business person and are employed by that business person outside of the UK;
(b) personal assistants and bodyguards may support an overseas business person in carrying out permitted activities, provided they will attend the same event(s) as the business person and are employed by them outside the UK. They must not be providing personal care or domestic work for the business person;
(c) a driver on a genuine international route delivering goods or passengers from abroad to the UK;
(d) a tour group courier, contracted to a company with its headquarters outside the UK, who is entering and departing the UK with a tour group organised by their company;
(e) a journalist, correspondent, producer or cameraman gathering information for an overseas publication, programme or film;
(f) archaeologists taking part in a one-off archaeological excavation;
(g) a professor from an overseas academic institution accompanying students to the UK as part of a study abroad programme, may provide a small amount of teaching to the students at the host organisation. However this must not amount to filling a permanent teaching role for that institution.

Overseas graduates from medical, dental or nursing schools may:
(a) undertake clinical attachments or dental observer posts provided these are unpaid, and involve no treatment of patients. The visitor must provide written confirmation of their offer to take up this post and confirm they have not previously undertaken this activity in the UK;
(b) take the following test/examination in the UK:

(i) the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, where the visitor can provide written confirmation of this from the General Medical Council; or
(ii) the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) for overseas, where the visitor can provide written evidence of this from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Employees of an overseas company or organisation may receive training from a UK based company or organisation in work practices and techniques which are required for the visitor’s employment overseas and not available in their home country.

An employee of an overseas based training company may deliver a short series of training to employees of a UK based company, where the trainer is employed by an overseas business contracted to deliver global training to the international corporate group to which the UK based company belongs.

Visitors may carry out the following study:
(a) educational exchanges or visits with a UK state or independent school; or
(b) a total of up to 30 days on:

(i) recreational courses (not English language training);
(ii) a short-course (which includes English language training) at an accredited institution.

An individual may receive private medical treatment provided they meet the additional eligibility requirements at V 4.14 – V 4.16.

An individual may act as an organ donor or be assessed as a potential organ donor to an identified recipient in the United Kingdom, provided they meet the additional eligibility requirements at V 4.17 – V 4.20.

Extension of stay as a visitor

tape measure extend

It is possible to extend stay as a visitor only in very limited circumstances under the rules. In exceptional circumstances and application outside the rules might be contemplated, however.

An extension is explicitly ruled out for a PPE visitor or transit visitor. Other types of visitor can potentially apply to extend their stay if they meet the following criteria:

  • An application for an extension of stay as a visitor must satisfy the decision maker that they continue to meet all the suitability and eligibility requirements for a visit visa.
  • The applicant must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws, except for any period of overstaying of 28 days or less which will be discounted.
  • If the applicant is applying for an extension of stay as a visitor for the purpose of receiving private medical treatment they must also satisfy the decision maker they:

(a) have met the costs of any medical treatment received so far; and

(b) provide a letter from a registered medical practitioner, at a private practice or NHS hospital, who holds an NHS consultant post or who appears in the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council, detailing the medical condition requiring further treatment.

The following extensions of stay are permissible:

  • A standard visitor or a visitor for marriage or civil partnership who was granted a visit visa or leave to enter for less than 6 months may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor so that the total period they can remain the UK (including both the original grant and the extension of stay) does not exceed 6 months.
  • A standard visitor who is in the UK for private medical treatment may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor for a further 6 months, provided this is for private medical treatment.
  • A standard visitor who is an academic on sabbatical leave and is in the UK undertaking their own research, or the spouse, partner or child accompanying such an academic, can be granted an extension of stay as a visitor so that the total period they can remain in the UK (including both the original grant and the extension of stay) does not exceed 12 months.
  • A standard visitor may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor for up to 6 months in order to resit the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) Test, provided they meet the requirements at Appendix 3, paragraph 22(b)(i) of the main Immigration Rules.
  • A standard visitor who is successful in the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor to undertake a clinical attachment, provided they meet the requirements of Appendix 3, paragraph 22(a) so that the total period they can remain in the UK (including both the original grant and the extension of stay) does not exceed 18 months.

There is no provision in the rules for extensions of stay beyond these limits.

Cancellation and curtailment

Visit visas can be cancelled or curtailed in certain circumstances. These are set out in Part V9.

Cancellation while outside the UK or on arrival may occur where:

  • there has been such a change in the circumstances of the case since the visit visa or leave to enter or remain was granted that the basis of the visitor’s claim to admission or stay has been removed and the visa or leave should be cancelled.
  • the visitor holds a visit visa and their purpose in arriving in the United Kingdom is different from the purpose specified in the visit visa.
  • false representations were made or false documents or information submitted (whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge)
  • material facts were not disclosed
  • it is undesirable to admit the visitor to the UK for medical reasons, unless there are strong compassionate reasons justifying admission.
  • conducive to the public good criteria apply
  • the person is outside the UK and there is a failure to supply any information, documents, or medical reports requested by a decision maker.

Curtailment within the UK may occur where:

  • false representations are made or material facts are not disclosed as above
  • the visitor ceases to meet the requirements of the Visitor Rules
  • the visitor fails to comply with any conditions of their leave to enter or remain
  • conducive to public good criteria apply, in particular if the visitor has committed a criminal offence and received a sentence of imprisonment, but also in wider circumstances

In related news, student visitors are rebranded as “Persons seeking to enter the UK for short-term study” and moved to new paragraph A57A to A57H of the rules. The “parent of a child at school” route is rebranded as “parent of a Tier 4 (child) student” and placed into Part 7 of the Immigration Rules.


For more information on visit visas, the classic reasons for refusal and how to challenge a refusal, see my updated ebook now covering the new Appendix V rules and Home Office policy on when visits might engage human rights and generate a right of appeal:

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Full guide to visit visa applications, appeals and judicial reviews for family and general visits to the UK, including how…

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Colin Yeo
Colin Yeo A barrister specialising in UK immigration law at Garden Court Chambers in London, I have been practising in immigration law for 15 years. I am passionate about immigration law and founded and edit the Free Movement immigration law blog.

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