Immigration

When should you start the immigration process? Applying for a visa to come to the UK

Many of us are not sure whether immigration formalities need to be completed right before the deportation process. The answer to this often asked question is that it is best to start the process as soon as possible.

In order to start the immigration paperwork, you must first explore what immigration options are available. For example, if a person is currently eligible for certain immigration benefits or may apply for the green card paperwork or is eligible for certain relief funds or another legal status in the United States, it is best to apply at once. Immigration authorities would carefully review your application and decide whether or not to approve it. The process can take a long time in some cases.

Many changes are happening on the immigration front and are also being implemented quickly. For example, some states like Arizona are undergoing major reforms in the immigration process. However, some of the proposed reforms have yet to be approved by the Supreme Court. Therefore, in order to avoid getting stuck in the whirlwind of these latest reforms, it is best to do the paperwork quickly as soon as possible.

Choose a visa

You may need a visa to come to the UK to study, work, visit, or join the family.

There are different visas depending on:

  • Where do you come from?
  • Why do you want to come to the UK?
  • How long do you want to stay
  • Your personal situation and skills

Before applying, you should check if you need a visa and what you need. Depending on your nationality, you may not need a visa. Your request must be approved before traveling.

If you want to visit the UK

Check the visa you need to visit the UK:

  • For a vacation or to see family or friends
  • For a business trip or a meeting
  • To marry

If you have a visitor visa, you cannot find a job in the UK. You can take up to 30 days of study, as long as this is not the main reason for your visit.

If you are traveling through the UK

You may need a visa if you are traveling through the UK to another country, for example, if you are making a stopover between flights.

The process to apply for a visa to travel through the UK.

You may need a visa to cross the UK in transit (en route to another country).

Check if you need it before you apply.

To obtain a transit visa, you must prove that:

  • you will be in transit to another country, with sufficient funds and the intention to travel
  • you can enter this country
  • the only purpose of your visit to the UK is a transit
  • You do not need a transit visa if you:
  • are from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • have an EEA family license
  • have a travel document from the Home Office, for example, you are a refugee or stateless person
  • have a standard visitor visa
  • have a marriage visitor visa

Types of transit visa

The visa you need depends on whether you go through UK border control when you arrive in the UK.

Your airline can tell you if you will go through border control.

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You don’t go through UK border control
Apply for an Airside Direct Transit Visa (DATV) if you are changing flights in the UK and will not go through UK border control.

You go through UK border control

Apply for a transit visitor visa if you go through UK border control but leave the UK within 48 hours.

You will need to apply for a standard visitor visa if:

you need to stay longer in the UK

  • you can prove that you often have to travel through the UK over a longer period
  • Fees
  • Airside Direct Transit Visa (DATV) – £ 35
  • Visitor visa in transit – £ 64

If you want to study in the UK

The length, type of course, and location of your studies will affect which visa you apply for.

A short-term study visa allows you to study for up to 6 months (11 months if you are over 16 and studying an English course).

General student visa for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a secure place. You can work on this visa.

Student visa for children between 4 and 17 years old who wish to study in an independent school. If you are 16 or older, you can work on this visa.

If you want to work or invest in the UK

You can work in the UK short or long term on a work visa. There are many types of work visas.

The visa you need depends on:

  • Your skills and qualifications
  • If you have a job offer and a guarantee
  • If you want to take your family with you
  • What would you do – for example, sports, charity or religious activities?
  • You can also invest money in the UK with an investor visa. You can start a business with a start-up or an
  • innovative visa.

If you want to join a family in the UK

If you are the spouse, partner, or family member of someone who has UK citizenship or settling in the UK, you can apply for a family visa to join them. They may need to show that they can support you financially.

You may be able to request Unlimited Holiday Leave (ILR) after a specified period of time that you live in the UK.

Family reunification visas for refugees

If you were separated from your partner or child when you had to leave your country, you can apply to join you in the UK.

To apply you must have been granted asylum or humanitarian protection for a period of 5 years and you do not have UK citizenship.

Other ways to get permission to live in the UK

Commonwealth citizens
You can apply to Ancestry to work in the UK if you have a UK grandfather and meet other eligibility criteria.

You may have the right to reside in the UK.

If you are a Commonwealth citizen and cannot prove your right to be in the UK, read about Windrush.

Return population

If you have Unlimited Leave (ILR) and have left the UK for more than two years, you will need to apply for a Return Residence Visa.