How to Apply for a Long-Term UK Visitor Visa
Welcome to our guide on navigating the intricacies of applying for a UK Long-Term Visitor Visa. Whether you’re seeking to explore the UK’s historical treasures, pursue educational opportunities, or reunite with loved ones, the United Kingdom offers a wealth of experiences for extended stays. However, embarking on this journey requires a clear understanding of the application process, eligibility criteria, and essential documents. In this post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step procedure and provide some valuable tips to enhance your chances of securing a UK Long-Term Visitor Visa.
What is a Long-Term Visitor Visa?
When submitting an application for a Standard Visitor visa, applicants are able to indicate the desired length of the visa. Ordinarily, the Standard Visitor visa is chosen by individuals wishing to visit the United Kingdom for a temporary period of up to six months. However, it is also possible to apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa, which allows for multiple entries to the United Kingdom for a period of two, five or ten years. Each entry to the United Kingdom is limited to a maximum of 6 months on any individual visit. This route is desirable for those who have an ongoing need to visit the United Kingdom and seek to avoid making multiple entry-clearance applications.
Requirements for a Long-term Visitor Visa
Visa National vs Non-Visa National
To be eligible for a long-term visitor visa, applicants need to demonstrate to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) that they are a visa national. Visa nationals require entry clearance prior to travelling to the United Kingdom as a visitor, whereas non-visa nationals can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival at the UK border. The list of nationalities which require entry clearance is set out in Appendix Visitor: Visa national list here.
Those applying for entry clearance on a long-term Standard Visitor visa must not fall for refusal under the Immigration Rules part 9.
For an application to succeed, the UKVI decision maker must be satisfied that an applicant is a genuine visitor. To meet this requirement, an applicant must show that they:
- Will leave the United Kingdom at the end of their visit;
- Will not live in the United Kingdom for extended periods of time;
- Are genuinely seeking entry for a purpose permitted by the visitor routes;
- Will not undertake any prohibited activities, and;
- Have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit, without working or accessing public funds in the United Kingdom.
When applying for a long-term Standard Visitor visa, the evidence submitted in support of these factors ought to demonstrate an ongoing need to visit the United Kingdom as a visitor. The risks of insufficiently demonstrating a recurring need to travel to the United Kingdom when making this application are outlined below.
The Home Office acknowledges that where a person holds a long-term Standard Visitor visa for two, five or ten years, their reason for visiting is likely to differ over time; this is permissible if the person intends to continue undertaking permitted visitor activities. For an in-depth look at what activities are permitted and what activities are prohibited on a Standard Visitor visa, please see this article.
In assessing whether an applicant is a genuine visitor, UKVI caseworkers will refer to the Visit Guidance which lists a number of different factors, including:
- Immigration history in both the United Kingdom and other countries, and their record of compliance with immigration rules;
- Previous patterns of travel to the United Kingdom;
- Personal and economic ties to their home country, and;
- The credibility of their intentions in light of their personal, family and economic circumstances.
In the case of Sawmynaden (Family visitors – considerations)  UKUT 00161 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal set out relevant factors in assessing whether an applicant genuinely seeks entry as a visitor. See our previous article Visit visas – avoiding refusal for not showing a ‘genuine intention to visit’ for more information on the factors considered in Sawmynaden.
The Visit Guidance further provides a non-exhaustive list of factors which may lead a decision maker to doubt whether an applicant is genuine, including:
- A lack of family or economic ties to to their home country and familial connections in the UK;
- Previous attempts to deceive the Home Office in an application made by the applicant, the sponsor or any other relevant party;
- Discrepancies in the statements made in an application;
- The information provided in an application cannot be verified;
- The reasons for the visit or the information submitted lacks credibility, or;
- A luggage search at the border reveals items which contradict their intention to visit.
Application Process For a Long-Term Visitor Visa
Those applying for entry clearance as a long-term Standard Visitor must apply from overseas in a country where they have a right of residence using the specified online form, “Apply for a UK visit visa”. The form allows applicants to select the length of the visa they wish to apply for.
The length of the visitor visa will determine the application fee. As of writing this article, the prices for Standard Visitor visas are listed as follows:
6 month Standard Visitor visa £100
2 year long-term Standard Visitor visa £376
5 year long-term Standard Visitor visa £670
10 year long-term Standard Visitor visa £837
Once the appropriate fee has been paid and the application has been submitted, applicants are able to upload all supporting documents online and book an appointment to enrol their biometrics. These appointments additionally require the provision of an identity document (ordinarily a passport) which confirms the applicant’s nationality and identity. Applications made for a Standard Visitor visa are typically decided within three weeks of attending a biometrics appointment.
The Risks of Applying for a Long-Term Visitor Visa
It is important for applicants to be aware that there are several risks when applying for a long-term visitor visa.
Refusal of a Long-Term Standard Visitor Visa
As with the six month Standard Visitor visa, there is a risk of an application being refused. In the event of a refusal, applicants are very unlikely to have a legal right of appeal; a right of appeal is only possible where the visit engages human rights considerations. Applicants may otherwise be able to pursue judicial review proceedings as a remedy. You may wish to speak to one of our barristers for expert advice on making a fresh visit visa application if your application has been refused.
Issuing of a Shorter Long-Term Visitor Visa
If UKVI are not satisfied that an applicant meets the eligibility requirements for the duration of the visa applied for, they may alternatively be issued a shorter visa than was applied for. In this instance, the difference in the application fees will not be refunded.
Applicants Under 18
Applicants under the age of 18 must consider that their long-term Standard Visitor visas will be valid only for 6 months after they have turned 18.
Risk of Visa Cancellation
There is a chance that a long-term Standard Visitor visa might be cancelled if a caseworker has reason to believe that an applicant is using frequent and successive visits to make the United Kingdom their home. The use of a long-term Standard Visitor visa to make the United Kingdom one’s home could prompt a refusal in future visa applications. Visa nationals should carefully consider this possibility when travelling on a long-term Standard Visitor visa.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with an application for a long-term Standard Visitor visa, contact our Immigration Barristers on 020 3617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.