Thinking of moving to London? Here’s what you should know about Visas 

The United Kingdom offers plenty of opportunities regarding career, studies, and life in general. Because of this, it’s unsurprising that the UK remains a top destination for many immigrants and expatriates due to its bustling culture and natural beauty, among many others. However, if you’re considering moving to London, your visa application is one of the most important things you should prioritise.

Many people often struggle with their visa applications, especially if they don’t know the ins and outs of the immigration process. Apart from the mountain of paperwork, the interviews, alongside other requirements, are particularly rigorous and may be stressful at most. Immigration rules in the UK are complex, and even accidental mistakes can result in a rejected application. For this, you may need to hire a London immigration lawyer to assist you along the way. An experienced attorney will advise you about UK visas and will do anything to achieve the best interests of your case, ensuring a smooth transfer. 


Before moving to any country, it’s imperative that you do the necessary research so you won’t be completely in the dark during your application. You’ll have to educate yourself a bit about the visa you need to apply for and the decisions you will need to make throughout the process. 


This article will cover everything you need to know about visas and some tips for you to remember for your visa application. 


What is a Visa?

A visa refers to an official document that allows the holder to enter a foreign country legally. In most cases, the visa is glued or stamped to your passport, but it can also be a document provided by the UK embassy or consulate in your resident country. Upon being given a visa, it simply means that you’re able to meet all of the requirements of the visa you’ve been provided with and are thus eligible to enter. 


It’s important to note that a visa comprises different types. The visa you need to apply for largely depends on your purpose of visiting or entering the UK. Moreover, each visa affords you varying rights in the country. Some visas only let you visit the country or only allow temporary residence, while others clear you of permanent stay in the country. Because of this, it’s crucial that you apply for the visa that you think applies to your situation the most. 


There are various reasons why people need to apply for a visa. These are the following:

  • For tourism and short stays
  • To live permanently
  • To enter through the UK to another country
  • To study
  • To do business and work
  • To reunite with family members in the UK
  • As someone who requires permission to stay
  • As a refugee or someone who requires humanitarian protection
  • As a stateless person


Types of UK visas

If you’re among these people mentioned above, here are the types of UK visas you can apply for:


  • Visitor Visas
  • Settlement visas
  • Transit Visas
  • Study Visas
  • Work Visas
  • Business Visas
  • Family visas


Keep in mind that the citizens of the EEA or the European Economic area alongside Commonwealth countries and Switzerland aren’t necessarily required to apply for a visa before entering the UK. If you’re not included among the countries with visa exemptions, you will need to apply for a standard UK visa, especially if you plan to stay in the country for longer than six months. 


When to Apply for a UK Visa and How


The earliest you’re allowed to apply for a UK visa is around three months prior to the date of your planned trip to the country. It’s worth noting that the processing of your visa application may be as long as three weeks. That said, it’s better to apply in advance so that you’ll give the UK consulate sufficient time to process your visa application and so that you won’t have to wait for a longer period. 


In terms of the application process, it generally depends on the visa type that you’re applying for. If your visa belongs among those included in the Points-Based System category, you will be evaluated based on the points you’re able together when accomplishing visa requirements. Each requirement has its own set of points, and applicants should gather a designated number of points to obtain the visa they want to have. 


While most requirements are usually the same for each category, the means by which they are assessed in the system varies. Furthermore, there may also be extra requirements that differ from one category to another. Some standard visa requirements include an accomplished visa application form, a valid passport, two photographs, and biometric information, among many others. 

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