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Choose your type of visa to move to the UK

We are often asked what type of visa to choose in order to come to the UK. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution. Circumstances and goals of every one of us are unique, while immigration rules for granting UK visas are complicated, confusing and often change. However, we can point out several types of visas that are used quite often. Below we will look at the most common cases.

1. I want my children to study at an English school and I don’t need UK passport.

This is a very common request from parents. We can help you find a school that best of all suits your child and their interests, and that is licensed to issue confirmation of acceptance for studies. Only when you have a duly issued confirmation, can you apply for a Tier 4 (Child) visa.

The period for which a visa is granted depends on the child’s age and study year. Once a child reaches the age of 18 or enrols in a university or college, they need to apply for a Tier 4 (Student) visa. Years spent by a child in the UK on these visas are added up and can lead to applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if they have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years.

Parents of a child attending a UK school on the Tier 4 (Child) visa can apply for a Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa. It is issued for the same period as the child’s visa and doesn’t give the right to apply for ILR. Besides, this visa doesn’t allow parents to study or work in the UK.

2. I have business interests in the UK and I often come here for negotiations.

We recommend our clients in this case to apply for a business visitor visa. Provided you can give enough reasons and you have clean immigration history, business visitor visa can be granted for up to 5 years. It doesn’t give the right to work, apart from a few paid jobs, or study in the UK and must be used for certain purposes, e.g. tourism, business meetings, trade fairs or private medical treatment.

Please remember that you can’t switch to a different type of visa from this visa while in the UK.

3. I am a top manager in the company that plans to open an office in the UK.

There is a special type of visa for such cases, a Representative of an Overseas Business visa. No investment is required, but you must show a sufficient knowledge of English and be a sole representative of your company in the UK. If the company wants to send any other employee to that office, they need to apply for a Tier 2 visa.

You and your family members can apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) on a Representative of an Overseas Business route after 5 years and naturalisation after six years from the first entry under this visa. To be eligible, the representative needs to show they have been running the business and the company still needs them for the job.

4. I have been offered a job in a UK company, can I come to the UK?

Yes, if the company is duly licensed and is ready to issue you with a certificate of sponsorship, then you can apply for a Tier 2 visa.

There are several eligibility criteria including salary, job responsibilities and the knowledge of English. At the same time, you can bring the whole family with you, and if you are on a long-term contract all of you can apply to settle after 5 years.

If the company that offered you a job doesn’t happen to be a licensed sponsor, first we’ll help it obtain a license, after which we will help you apply for a visa.

5. I found my other half in the UK. What do we do?

Carry on and build your relationship! You might have several paths based on the immigration status of your partner.

You can apply for a fiancé/ fiancée/ proposed civil partner visa and go to the UK to marry. The visa is issued for six months during which you must marry. After marriage, a partner with a visa must apply for a visa of a spouse or civil partner from the UK.

We also recommend in some cases to marry outside the UK and apply for a spouse or civil partner visa.

If your spouse or civil partner is a UK citizen or has ILR, you are eligible for naturalisation after 5 years after entry. If they are a EU citizen you can apply for settlement after 5 years and later for naturalisation.

6. I am an established businessman and want to do business in the UK.

There is a visa for that – Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). To be eligible, you must prove the required knowledge of English and invest at least £200,000 of your money into business. You must also have a viable business plan.

This visa allows you to satisfy your entrepreneurial zeal and move to the UK with the whole family. Your children don’t have to apply for a separate student visa, they are eligible to study in any UK school. If your business takes off, you will be able to apply for settlement after 3 years and naturalisation after 5 years from the first entry.

Please be aware that this visa allows you to run only your business that you’ve invested in, you cannot work anywhere else.

7. I have enough money to sustain my family and I want to be free in my decisions and choices.

You can opt for the easiest route – Tier 1 (Investor) visa. There is no language requirement and no limitations for your activity in the UK. You and your children can study, work, open and invest into business, or you can just enjoy your life.

Tier 1 (Investor) visa can be granted to individuals that want to invest at least £2,000,000 in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. These funds will generate almost no income and you will be able to recover them when your visa allows.

You can apply for accelerated settlement under this route after 2 years if you have invested into permitted bonds at least £10,000,000.

We have given only an overview of each route; however, there are many nuances that need to be discussed with an expert. It’s important to remember that immigration advice in the UK can only be provided by a qualified immigration advisor regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. Immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal are duly licensed to give professional advice.

Besides, our specialists will help you deal with all your issues simultaneously to make sure your pre-arrival preparations and your move to the UK are as smooth as possible.

Tired of getting general advice?

We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.