Coming to visit
99. At the end of the transition period free movement will end and EU citizens will come within the scope of the new immigration system. We want to ensure legitimate travellers who support our economy and enrich society and culture can continue to come to the UK smoothly in the future.
100. Visitors can, in most cases, come to the UK for up to six months. A visitor may enter the UK multiple times during that period, but they may not in effect live in the UK by means of repeat or continuous visits. They may not work or access public funds. Currently they may not study for more than 30 days.
101. The UK’s visitor rules already permit a wide range of activities, in addition to tourism and seeing family, that visitors can undertake. Business people can come to the UK for meetings and to negotiate and sign business contracts; leading academics can present their latest research; or scientists, for example, can share their knowledge with colleagues on international projects. People employed overseas can come and support companies who have bought goods from their company or to collaborate with a UK business which is supplying their employer overseas. More detail can currently be found in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. We will continue to engage with stakeholders to further understand how the visitor rules can be improved and simplified.
Who can apply?
102. Anyone can apply to visit the UK. They must either apply for a visa before arrival or seek leave to enter at the UK border. Visa nationals (those who are citizens of countries listed in Appendix 2 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules) can apply anywhere outside the UK. Non-visa nationals (citizens of countries not listed) can apply at the UK border. The Government has already said that its intention is for citizens of the EU and Switzerland to not require visas to visit the UK.
Table 11: Visitor conditions and requirements
|Requirements||Conditions and restrictions|
|Application fee||Yes*||Switching – routes (in country)||No**|
|Immigration Skills Charge||No||Route to settlement||No|
|Immigration Health Surcharge||No||Dependants||No|
|Biometrics||Yes*||Access to public funds||No|
*Only for visa nationals
**Unless you are in the UK doing activities as an entrepreneur you cannot switch from being a visitor into other routes.
***Visitors must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds.
103. We will permit study of up to six months under the standard visit route. All nonrecreational study must be undertaken at an accredited institution. Recreational courses undertaken for leisure, that last no longer than 30 days and which do not lead to any formal qualifications, will not need to be undertaken at an accredited institution.
104. We will keep the six to 11-month short-term English language study route open. This route is distinct from both the main student route and the main short-term study route and requires applicants of all nationalities to obtain an entry clearance in advance of travel. It is specifically for people taking English language courses, does not require sponsorship and does not permit work.