A visa is an endorsement that appears on a person’s passport, confirming that they are allowed to enter a foreign country, leave the country or to remain for a specified period of time.
When you need to apply for a visa, whatever the circumstances, the expert immigration solicitors at Stirling Ackroyd Legal can help. We will provide advice and guidance on the specific eligibility requirements and steer your application towards the desired outcome.
In order to apply for a visa, you will need to have a passport or travel document, with at least one page that is blank on both sides, as this is where the visa will be entered. Other documentation will also need to be submitted when you apply for a visa, although this will vary according to your individual circumstances and the type of visa that you need.
Please contact the expert immigration solicitors at Stirling Ackroyd Legal to discuss your individual requirements and a member of our team will be very happy to help you.
If you are planning to visit the UK for a period of six months or less, you may need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa if you are coming from outside the European Union (EU), or if you are not a British citizen. The rules for EU citizens may change after the UK leaves the EU, and the specialist immigration solicitors at Stirling Ackroyd Legal will always be on-hand to provide up-to-date information as the situation progresses.
Standard Visitor Visa
A Standard Visitor Visa will allow you to enter the UK for a visit or to spend time with family or friends; for business, including taking part in creative or sporting events; or for other reasons such as to undergo private medical treatment. You can apply up to three months before your date of travel.
A Standard Visitor Visa will allow you to participate in certain business activities, engage in a period of study of up to 30 days and to enter the UK in transit, when you are on the way to another county. It will not allow you to get married or enter into a civil partnership, receive public funds or live in the UK.
The Standard Visitor Visa will usually allow you to stay in the UK for a period of up to six months, however there are certain exceptions, for example this may be extended to 11 months if you are coming to the UK to undergo private medical treatment, or for 12 months if you are an academic on sabbatical.
Documentation and requirements
In order to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa, you will need to provide the following documentation:
- A passport that is valid for the duration of your stay in the UK. One page must be blank on both sides so that the visa can be entered
- You must provide a certified translation of any documents not presented in the English or Welsh languages
- You must provide your travel dates, your accommodation details in the UK and details of the costs of your trip
- You must provide your home address and the dates that you have lived there
- You will need to provide the names and dates of birth of your parents
- You will also need to provide details of your annual salary
In addition, you may be asked to provide:
- Your travel history during the last 10 years
- The contact details of your employer
- The personal details of your partner, including their passport number
- The names, addresses and passport numbers of your family members in the UK
- Information on any past criminal or immigration offences
You may also need to provide additional documentation depending on the reason for your visit, for example if you are seeking private medical treatment or travelling for the purpose of becoming an organ donor. Your expert immigration solicitor will be able to guide you through this process.
In applying for a Standard Visitor Visa, you will need to be able to meet the following conditions:
- You must be able to show that you intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit
- You must show that you can financially support yourself and your dependents whilst you are in the UK
- You must be able to meet all of your travel costs, including those relating to your onward journey
- You must be able to prove the nature of any business activities that are relevant to your visit
For academic applications, you can apply to remain for up to 12 months, however you must be able to demonstrate the following:
- You must be suitably qualified, and;
- You must be on sabbatical from your institution in your home county
- You must be travelling to carry out research, or;
- You must be taking part in an exchange visit with someone from the UK, or;
- You are going to participate in the research or the work of somebody else, although you may not take up formal employment
For applications to come to the UK for private medical treatment, you must be able to show the following:
- That you intend to leave the UK at the end of your treatment or upon the expiration of your visa
- That you have been diagnosed with a medical condition requiring treatment in the UK
- That you have made arrangements for medical care
- That you can pay for all of your treatment, without recourse to public funds
- That you are able to pay for your onward travel
- If your condition is considered infectious, you must show that you do not pose a danger to public health
For applications to come to the UK as an organ donor, you must be able to meet the following criteria:
- You are travelling to donate an organ to a blood relative, such as a sibling, or;
- You are travelling to donate an organ to someone with whom you have a close relationship, such as your partner, and;
- You must show that the recipient has entered the UK legally
If you would like to discuss your individual visa requirements with one of our expert immigration solicitors, please contact us.
Marriage Visitor Visa
You can apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa if you wish to come to the UK in order to marry or enter into a civil partnership, or if you wish to give notice of your marriage or civil partnership. You must intend to leave the UK afterwards and you cannot apply if you already qualify for British citizenship.
If you wish to convert an existing civil partnership into a marriage, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa rather than a Marriage Visitor Visa.
You can apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa up to three months before your date of travel. The visa will allow you to remain in the UK for six months and to marry or enter into a civil partnership during this time. You may also enter the UK whilst in transit on the way to another country.
A Marriage Visitor Visa will not allow you to bring any family members to the UK, or to access public funds during your visit. Neither will it allow you to live in the UK, to work or to study for a period of more than 30 days.
In order to apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa, you must be over the age of 18, free to marry and in a relationship with your partner. You must intend to leave the UK within six months, and able to financially support yourself for the duration of your visit, including meeting the costs of your onward journey.
You will need to provide the following documentation when you apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa:
- A passport or travel document that is valid for the duration of your stay in the UK. One page must be blank on both sides so that the visa can be entered
- Evidence that you can support yourself financially whilst you are in the UK
- Proof that your relationship is genuine
- Evidence of your travel plans and the accommodation you intend to use
- Evidence of your planned marriage or civil partnership
- A certified translation of any documents not presented in the English or Welsh languages
If you have been previously married or had a civil partnership that has been dissolved, you will need to show either your decree absolute or a death certificate if your previous partner has died.
Biometric residence permit (BRP)
A biometric residence permit (BRP) is used to confirm the following:
Your identity, such as your name and your date of birth
Your fingerprints and photograph
Your immigration status
Your level of entitlement to public services in the UK, such as healthcare
A BRP will be issued in a number of circumstances, including when you apply to remain in the UK for a period exceeding six months, when you apply to extend your visa for longer than six months or when you apply for settlement. Please speak to a member of our team if you have any queries about the information held in your biometric residence permit.
You will need to apply for a Family Visa in order to live with your relatives in the UK for longer than six months. From outside the UK, you can apply for a Family Visa to come to Britain to live with your spouse or proposed spouse, your partner or civil partner, your parent, your child or another relative who will be your carer. You can also apply to extend a Family Visa if you are already in the UK. You will not be able to apply for this type of visa if your family member in the UK has been allowed to remain on a temporary basis on a Work Visa or Student Visa.
It may be possible to switch to a Family Visa if you are already in the UK, however you must do this before the expiry date of your current visa. If you need to extend a Family Visa to stay longer with the same family member, any extension that is granted will not exceed 28 days. Your specialist immigration solicitor at Stirling Ackroyd Legal will be able to advise you according to your own individual circumstances. Most applications for a Family Visa should receive a decision within eight weeks, or longer if you are applying from outside the UK or if your case is more complex, for example if you have a criminal record or you have been unable to provide all of the documentation requested.
Spouse or Partner Visa applications
A Spouse or Partner Visa will allow you to legally remain in the UK as the spouse, partner or unmarried partner of someone who is already a British citizen. Whether you are applying from within the UK or from overseas, we will handle your application with sensitivity and care. Certain visas have specific requirements, and at Stirling Ackroyd Legal, your immigration solicitor will take the time to explain exactly what you will need to demonstrate in support of your case and guide you through the entire process, to ensure that you have the best chance of a favourable outcome.
The ‘financial requirement’ for Spouse and Partner Visa applications
In order to apply for a Spouse or Partner Visa, you must meet what is known as the financial requirement. This means that your partner (your UK sponsor) must meet a minimum annual threshold, which currently stands at £18,600. If you have one dependent child this will rise by £3,800, with an additional increase of £2,400 for each child thereafter.
Your partner may be able to show that they are able to meet the financial requirement through their annual salary, self-employed income or pension scheme, as well as any other income. There are some exceptions if your partner is receiving certain welfare benefits, although they will still need to show that they can support you and the children.
The English Language requirement
The International English Language Test System is used when you are required to prove your level of ability in the English language for the purposes of your visa application. If you need to meet the English Language requirements, your expert immigration lawyer at Stirling Ackroyd Legal can let you know what to expect from the test as well as help you to prepare to take it. Please contact us for advice and we will be very happy to help you.
The Surinder Singh case
This is a landmark case which has resulted in another potential way for family members of British citizens to legally enter the UK under EU regulations. You may be eligible if you are the spouse, parent, grandparent or child of someone who is a British citizen who has lived with you in the EU, where they were either working or seeking work, studying or financially independent. Your specialist immigration solicitor will be able to advise you if this option could be available based on the facts of your individual case. Please contact us for more information.
The different types of Partner Visa
Unmarried Partner Visa/De Facto Visa
An Unmarried Partner Visa will allow you to come to the UK because you are in a genuine relationship, including same-sex relationships. Your visa will have a duration of 33 months if you apply from outside the UK, or 30 months if you are already in the UK when you apply.
In order to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa, both you and your partner must be over the age of 18, and your partner must already be a British citizen. Your specialist immigration solicitor will advise you on the specific documentation that you will need to support your case, however in applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa you will generally need to show:
- Documentary evidence to demonstrate the authenticity and long-term nature of your relationship with your partner
- Evidence that you have already lived together for at least two years
- Evidence of your intention to live together as a couple in the UK
- Evidence that any previous relationships have officially ended, for example in death or divorce
- Evidence that you have suitable accommodation in the UK for yourselves and any dependents
- Evidence that you can meet the financial requirement
An Unmarried Partner Visa can be extended for a further 30 months. Once you have been in the UK for a minimum of five years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, although you will need to show that you and your partner are still together and that the financial requirement can still be met.
Spouse or Civil Partnership Visa/UK Marriage Visa
You can apply for a visa to come to the UK to be with your spouse as long as you are both aged 18 years or over and you have physically met and are legally married to one another. In addition, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Your sponsor (your spouse) must be able to meet the financial requirement
- You must be able to provide appropriate accommodation for yourselves and any dependent children
- You must be able to show that your relationship is genuine
- You must be able to satisfy the English Language requirement
Once granted, a spouse visa can be extended. After five years’ continuous and lawful stay in the UK, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. You must show that you are in the same relationship and meet the financial requirement.
Fiancé/Fiancée/Proposed Civil Partner Visa
You can apply for a Fiancé/Fiancée/Proposed Civil Partner Visa if you wish to enter the UK with the intention of marrying your partner, who must already be a British citizen or have settled status. You will need to prove that you have met one another and that your relationship is genuine. You will also need to meet the financial requirement and show that you have appropriate accommodation. You will not be permitted to work whilst you are in the UK on a Fiancé Visa so you will also need to show that you will not need to recourse to public funds.
A Fiancé/Fiancée/Proposed Civil Partner Visa will be granted for up to six months, during which time you will be expected to marry and then switch to a Spouse Visa.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
A person who has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain can be said to have Permanent Residence in the UK. Indefinite Leave to Remain is an immigration status that can be granted to someone who does not hold right of abode that will allow them to stay in the UK without restriction and to work or study. Indefinite leave to remain may lapse if you leave the UK for two years or more.
If you have been in the UK for a minimum of five years on a Spouse or Partner Visa, the specialist immigration solicitors at Stirling Ackroyd Legal can help you to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
The type of Study Visa you will need to apply for will depend on your individual circumstances. If you intend to come to the UK as a visiting academic, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.
Short-term Study Visa
You can apply from outside the EEA for a Short-term Study Visa in order to take a short course in the UK, assuming that you do not already qualify for British citizenship. This will allow you to remain in the UK for up to six months, or for up to 11 months if you are aged 16 or over and studying the English language. The visa will allow you to take part in short-term study or research, although you cannot study at a state-funded school, take up work (this includes work placements) or bring any family members with you unless they have their own visas. You can apply up to three months prior to your date of travel.
In order to apply for a Short-term study Visa, you will need to show the following:
- That you have been accepted on a course at an appropriate institution
- That you can financially support yourself, including your onward journey, without recourse to public funds
- If you are under 18, you must have parental permission to stay in the UK and prove your accommodation and travel arrangements
Tier 4 General Student Visa
A Tier 4 General Student Visa enables you to study in the UK if you are over 16 years of age and are coming from outside the EEA or Switzerland. You will need to show following:
That you have been offered an appropriate study place
That you have a sufficient command of English
That you are able to support yourself financially, including paying the course fees and associated costs
A Tier 4 General Student Visa may allow you to bring your partner or your children under the age of 18 to the UK with you. Please talk to your specialist immigration lawyer here at Stirling Ackroyd Legal for advice based on your own individual circumstances.
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Family Law Blog
It may come as a surprise to know that in the UK, 71% of divorcees do not discuss pensions. Given that retirement plans are usually the greatest asset in marriage, this is often very damaging and rather nonsensical. It is therefore important couples have a good understanding of how their marital assets will be affected during a divorce. In this series, we look at pensions and divorce
The Government’s latest reforms to family law have focused on ending the blame game in divorce; or in other words, ending the no fault divorce.
Previously, couples were obliged to list the reason for the marriage breaking down such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion. Under the previous system, couples needed to prove they have been separated for 2 years, or 5 years if one partner did not agree to the divorce.
It is becoming more common for people to issue and deal with their own divorces. The process can involve obtaining the relevant forms from the internet such as from government websites and completing the forms themselves.
1. Be open, honest and frank with your solicitor.
Your solicitor will be able to advise you adequately from the outset if you are forthcoming with information however sensitive that information may be.
1. Preparation for the first meeting.
If possible, go along to the first meeting with your solicitor with a list of the matrimonial assets and liabilities that you are aware of which will help to streamline the first meeting. Raise any concerns you have with your solicitor and attend with a list of questions to ask which will help to focus the meeting.
Amicable divorces or ‘peaceful divorces’ are the majority of the time, seen as a bit of a myth. Many losses are experienced towards the end of a relationship, loss of home, security, finance, comfort, intimacy which can cause hostility and upset during the divorce process.