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UK simplifies visitor visa categories

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The number of visitor visa routes has been reduced and the process made easier to understand with less recommended documentation.

Overview of the changes

There are four new visitor routes:

  • Visitor (standard): this consolidates 11 existing visitor routes including general and child visitors, as well as Chinese visitors entering with a tour group
  • Visitor (to hold their marriage or civil partnership in the UK)
  • Visitor undertaking permitted paid engagements, such as performers or sports people
  • Visitor transiting the UK

The student visitor and extended student visitor routes are being rebranded as short-term student routes. This will make it clearer that these routes are specifically for people who want to study short courses.

The new short-term student routes

  • Short-term student (up to 6 months) for children and adults undertaking short courses including English language
  • Short-term student (up to 11 months) for adults undertaking English language courses for up to 11 months.

Children coming to the UK to take part in educational exchanges for up to four weeks should apply under the visitor (standard) route. If they want to undertake a course of study for up to six months, then they will need to apply under the short-term student route.

These changes, which were introduced on April 24, will be reflected on the online application system as well as on the visa vignette later this year. Entry requirements, including the visa application process, have not been changed.

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