- What visa category should I apply for?
- What documents do I need for my visa application?
- How to submit a UK visa application
- How to track UK visa applications
- How to appeal a refused UK visa
- What happens after a successful visa application?
- How to get a Biometric Residence Permit
- How can I extend a UK visa?
- Frequently asked questions
Do you need a UK visa?
Many people who wish to come to the United Kingdom will need to submit a visa application. There are several different visa categories depending on the applicant’s background or reason for coming to the United Kingdom.
Many applications must be made outside the UK in advance of travel. There are fees usually associated with visa applications. There may be a requirement to book an appointment with an immigration centre as part of the application process.
Not everyone who applies for a UK visa is successful in their application. The process can be costly and time-consuming. It is important that your application is completed to the highest standard and that there are no errors or inaccuracies, as these can be grounds for refusal.
It is recommended to engage the visa services of a professional immigration solicitor when submitting a visa application in order to increase your chances of a successful application.
Our team of highly qualified Newcastle immigration lawyers are ready to work with you immediately on your visa application. Contact us on 0191 303 8965 or use the online form to get in touch with one of our friendly advisers.
What UK visa category should I apply for?
Your nationality will influence the type of visa that you need to enter the United Kingdom. Depending on your circumstances or background, you may be exempt from some immigration controls.
The rules around visa categories will vary if you are a resident of an EU, EEA, Swiss or Commonwealth country or if you are from outside one of these countries. Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can assist with all aspects of your immigration case.
If you are a resident of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who started living in the UK prior to 31 December 2020, you will not need a visa. However, it is recommended that you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living or working in the UK.
We provide support and guidance on all types of visa applications. We are experts in the field of the following visa applications:
- Visitor Visas: If you intend to visit the UK for non-work purposes
- Family Visas: If you wish to join an immediate family member living in the UK
- Spouse Visas and Partner Visas: If you wish to apply to join your legally married spouse, engaged civil partner, or de facto partner (unmarried partner)
- Work Visas: If you wish to work in the UK. The type of visa category you need will depend on whether you are an investor, innovator, skilled, or temporary worker
- Settlement Applications: If you have lived in the UK for a specific number of years and fulfil certain criteria, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship, indefinite leave to remain or the EU Settlement Scheme
What documents do I need for my visa application?
The visa application process will vary based on your visa category. All visa applications are complex, some are costly, requiring multiple documents, and it may take weeks or months to receive a decision on the application.
To maximise your chances of a successful first-time application, it is recommended to engage the services of a specialist immigration lawyer who can guide you through the application process.
In some circumstances, it will be necessary to pay a healthcare surcharge for the duration of your stay if you are applying for a work, study or family visa. This is also the case if you wish to stay for more than six months or if you are applying for a non-permanent stay in the UK (e.g., temporary work visas).
In most instances, you should be prepared to provide the following:
- A valid passport or travel document with at least one page (front and back) to allow a visa stamp
- At least two facial photographs
- Evidence of meeting minimum financial requirements
- The fee for the visa application
- Evidence of a tuberculosis test (if relevant)
- Biometric documentation required as part of the Biometric Residence Permit (which can be completed at an approved visa application centre)
- Other supporting documents in support of your application
When you begin the application process, you will be provided with a document checklist that will outline what you should submit.
How to submit a UK visa application
Once you have chosen the correct visa category for your situation and checked your eligibility, you are ready to begin the application process. In general, you should be prepared for the following steps in the process.
The majority of people applying for a United Kingdom visa will need to:
- Fully complete the visa application form (it is recommended to complete this online)
- Pay the visa application fee
- Upload or submit all the relevant documentation to prove your suitability and eligibility for the category of visa you are applying for
- Provide evidence of your finances and ability to support yourself in the UK
- Sign the document (digitally or on paper) to declare that all the information provided is true to your knowledge
Following this process, you may be contacted by the UK Home Office with a request for further information.
In order to provide your biometric information, you may need to book an appointment at a visa application centre where you will normally be asked to provide a facial photograph and you will be fingerprinted.
Once all this information has been gathered and submitted, the Home Office will then undertake a thorough investigation of your application to decide whether your application may be granted.
Upon completion of this process, you will receive official notice by email or letter with the decision on your case.
How to track UK visa applications
If you want to check the status of your visa application, you can use the Gov.uk website to speak to the relevant department about your application.
Unfortunately, you can’t currently track the status of your visa application in the United Kingdom. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) processes millions of applications every year and they do not provide automatic updates on each stage of the process.
You may contact the relevant UKVI department dealing with your application by phone or email. However, there is a charge for this service.
This page outlines the call charges for calls depending on where you are calling from. There is also a charge for emailing a query, but there is no additional cost for follow-up emails on the same query.
Please note that staff in the contact centre will not be able to provide you with advice or an update on your circumstances or application.
There are some instances where you may expect your application to take longer to be processed. If the following circumstances apply to your situation, you may be waiting for a longer period of time for a decision on your application:
- If the caseworker handling your application decides that extra verification is required on your documents in order to make a judgement
- If you are required to attend an immigration interview to provide extra information on your application
- If there is some change in your circumstances that pertains to your application (for example, if you are recorded as having a criminal conviction or breach immigration rules)
How to appeal a refused UK visa
From the date you receive the letter of refusal, you have 28 calendar days to appeal the decision. In the letter, the Home Office will explain why your application has been refused and whether you have the right to an administrative review or an immigration appeal.
If you do not have the right to stay in the UK following the refusal, you will have 28 days to appeal starting from the date you leave the country.
If your visa application is refused, it is strongly recommended to retain a specialist immigration lawyer to support with your appeal. This will save you time and money on your appeal by ensuring that you are putting your best case forward.
It is recommended to lodge your appeal online instead of by post or fax to make the process as efficient as possible.
In some cases, you may be invited to a hearing following the submission of your appeal. You have the right to bring your immigration solicitor with you to this hearing as your representative.
If you decide against having a legal representative at this hearing, the judge may make a decision on the appeal based solely on the documentary evidence you provide.
If you need urgent visa services, advice and assistance with your immigration case, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers today for immediate help at 0191 303 8965.
What happens after a successful visa application?
You will be notified by an official email or letter if your visa application has been granted. Depending on how you submitted your biometric information, you may receive a sticker for your passport or access to your online immigration status.
If you attended a visa application centre to provide your biometric information, the Home Office will provide you with a sticker (also known as a vignette) which should be added to your passport.
Alternatively, if you are successful in your application and you used the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app to provide evidence of your identity, you will receive access to an online portal with information on your immigration status.
Any conditions of your stay will be outlined on the sticker or online portal. If you notice a problem with any aspect of the sticker or status, you should report it within three months of receiving the application. If you don’t report it, you may need to make a new application.
With the sticker option, you will also need to make an appointment to pick up your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) at a visa application centre.
If you have chosen the online-only option, you will not need either the sticker or a BRP.
How to get a Biometric Residence Permit
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is evidence of the holder’s legal right to be in the UK. It outlines the condition of the holder’s stay.
Some people will need to obtain a BRP if they intend to stay in the UK for more than six months, apply to settle in the UK (also known as indefinite leave to remain), or transfer a visa to a new passport.
The data that is held on the BRP includes:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Place of birth
- Your gender
- Your nationality
- Your fingerprints
- Your facial photograph
- Your immigration status and conditions of stay
- Whether you may access public funds during your stay
If you have noticed any errors on the BRP, you should report it within 10 days.
How can I extend a UK visa?
May people can apply to extend their leave to remain in the UK (visa extension) for a specified period of time. Immigration rules generally require that you are inside the United Kingdom when making an application to extend your stay.
In order to remain compliant with United Kingdom immigration rules, you must apply for an extension in advance of the expiry of your current visa. If you are in breach of your visa expiration date, you may face serious consequences as a result.
Depending on your circumstances and eligibility, you may be able to apply to settle in the UK instead of extending your visa. For some applicants, the route towards indefinite leave to remain is open after five years of living in the UK continuously (with further conditions attached).
If you hold indefinite leave to remain for 12 months, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
If you would like expert legal support with your visa application and want visa services to increase your chances of a successful application, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers for a discussion with our friendly and professional advisers.
Call 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to get in touch.
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A visa is a form of permission from a government granting access to the country to a person who is not a citizen of that country. Every country in the world has different visa requirements to enter, live, work, or study in that country.
Visas are provided to applicants on the basis that they fulfil certain eligibility criteria. If the visa holder violates the terms of the stay, they may be forced to leave the country. In some circumstances, they may be barred from re-entering.
Depending on the immigration rules of the country, visas may be extended to allow the holder to stay in the country for a longer period. Under some conditions, a visa holder who legally stays in the country for a certain number of years may be eligible to apply for citizenship of that country.
The UK’s points-based visa system is a new system which regulates some immigration categories. For non-British citizens who want to work in the United Kingdom, they must score a certain number of points in order to be eligible for a work visa.
The new system treats EU and non-EU applicants equally since the freedom of movement within the EU ended. Points are awarded for a number of criteria. Holding an official job offer from a UK business who is registered as a sponsor will add 40 points to an applicant. English language proficiency will result in another 10 points.
Some qualifications will provide extra points under the new system. In most cases, a migrant worker will need 70 points to obtain a work visa in the UK.
If your visa application is approved, you will receive official notice from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Depending on how you submitted your application, you may receive either a sticker for your passport (vignette). Alternatively, you will be given access to your approved immigration status online through the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app.
Whether your UK visa has been approved or refused, you will be notified within the outlined timeframe of the decision.
It is not possible to check the status of your visa application while the process is ongoing. You will be provided with an estimated timeline when you apply, based on current waiting times.
If you need to speak to a Home Office UKVI representative, you can contact them through the Gov.uk website by phone or by email. You may be charged for the call or email.
The length of time you will wait for an application depends on the type of visa you have applied for. For some applications, you may be able to use a priority or super priority service.
It is not recommended to book travel before you receive an official decision on your application.
The majority of people wishing to come to the UK will require a visa.
Since 1 January 2021, residents of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland can visit the United Kingdom without a visa if they intend to come for a short trip or a holiday. They must travel using a valid passport which is in date for the full duration of the trip.
Residents of the above areas will no longer be able to live in or work in the UK without a valid visa. The new points-based visa immigration system means that people who intend to work in the United Kingdom must first reach a qualifying number of points.
The rule changes have not affected people from non-EEA countries or Irish citizens.