December 11, 2023

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A Guide To The UK Tourism, Leisure & Family Visit Visa – Work Visas

The Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa is for
individuals who wish to come to the UK for a short-term stay for
the purpose of visiting friends and/or family or for a short
holiday. The Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa is a
sub-category of the Standard Visitor route, which is a route for
persons who wish to visit the UK for a temporary period of up to 6

Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa Immigration Rules

In summary, Appendix V of the Immigration Rules provides
for 4 types of Visitor:

  • Standard
    for those seeking to undertake the
    activities set out in Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities, for
    tourism and visiting
    ,usually for up to 6 months. A Standard
    Visitor may apply for a visit visa of six months, two, five or 10
    years validity, however each stay in the UK must not exceed the
    permitted length of stay endorsed on the visit visa (usually six

  • Transit
    for those who want to transit the UK on
    route to another country outside the Common Travel Area and who
    will enter the UK for up to 48 hours by
    crossing the UK
    border unless Appendix Visitor: Transit Without Visa Scheme

This article will focus on those coming to the UK to visit for
the purposes of tourism, leisure or to visit family.

General Requirements for a Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit

The requirements for a successful Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa
application are generally as follows:

  • You are a visa national (a non-visa national can
    normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival at the UK border);

  • You are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a
    purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes;

  • You will not undertake any prohibited

  • You have sufficient funds to cover all
    reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel,
    maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing
    public funds;

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your

  • You will not live in the UK for extended periods
    through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main

  • Your application does not fall for refusal under
    the general grounds for refusal.

Guidance is provided to caseworkers in the Visit guidance, Version 11.0, published for Home
Office staff on 06 October 2021.

Visa or Non Visa National

You will first need to consider whether you are required to
apply for entry clearance in advance of travel. Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa national
contains a list of countries who must apply for entry
clearance in advance unless the exceptions in VN 2.1, VN 2.2.
(subject to VN 2.3) or VN 3.1 apply. Those that are Non Visa
Nationals may consider applying in advance, if for example there is
an adverse immigration history and you have been refused entry on a
previous occasion. An application made in advance can provide
security and certainty. The Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa
requirements have to be met by Non Visa Nationals as well, but this
is assessed at the border, by an Immigration Officer.

To discuss your UK Visit Visa application or how we can
assist you to meet the requirements for entry to the UK a visitor
on arrival, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or
complete our enquiry form below.

Making a Valid UK Visit Visa Application

The Validity requirements for entry clearance or permission to
stay as a Visitor are set out in paragraphs V 2.1 to V 2.6 of
Appendix V.

An Applicant must apply using the relevant online application
form, pay the relevant fee, and provide biometrics. Any application
for entry clearance must be made from outside the UK.

General Grounds of Refusal and Immigration Status Required

You will need to consider if any of the provisions in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules apply. Part 9
generally covers criminality, non conducive grounds, false
representation and deception, previous breaches and other
discretionary grounds. Some grounds are mandatory and others
discretionary. It is important to ensure that you answer all
questions on the form accurately and make full disclosure. Any
false information given can lead to a refusal and a ban meaning
further applications to enter the UK will be refused. We examined
this in an earlier article.

If an Applicant is applying for permission to stay they must not
be in breach of immigration laws or on immigration bail. If
Paragraph 39E applies that period of overstaying may be disregarded
(V 3.1 and V 3.2).

Genuine Visitor

You will need to demonstrate that you are a genuine visitor.

The caseworking guidance refers to an assessment of the
Applicant’s personal circumstances including the following:

  • their previous immigration history,
    including visits to the UK and other countries

  • the duration of previous visits and whether
    this was significantly longer than they originally stated on their
    visa application or on arrival – if this is the case, you should
    not automatically presume that the visitor is not genuine, but this
    may be a reason to question the applicant’s overall

  • their financial circumstances as well as
    their family, social and economic background

  • their personal and economic ties to their
    country of residence

  • the cumulative period of time the applicant
    has visited the UK and their pattern of travel over the last
    12-month period, and whether this amounts to ‘de-facto’
    residence in the UK

  • whether, on the balance of probabilities,
    the information and the reasons for the visit or for extending
    their stay provided by the applicant are credible and correspond to
    their personal, family, social and economic background

The guidance continues by setting out reasons for doubting
someone is a genuine visitor, these include:

  • the applicant has few or no family and
    economic ties to their country of residence, and has several family
    members in the UK – for example a person with most of their family
    in the UK and no job or study in their own country may be
    considered to have few ties to their home country

  • the applicant, their sponsor (if they are
    visiting a friend or relative) or other immediate family member
    has, or has attempted to, deceive the Home Office in a previous
    application for entry clearance, permission to enter or

  • there are discrepancies between the
    statements made by the applicant and the statements made by the
    sponsor, particularly on points where the sponsor could reasonably
    be expected to know the facts but does not

  • it has not been possible to verify
    information provided by the applicant despite attempts to do

  • the information that has been provided or
    the reasons for the visit stated by the applicant are not

  • a search of the applicant’s baggage and
    vehicle at the border reveals items which demonstrate they intend
    to work or live in the UK

In order to demonstrate this requirement you will need to
consider providing full details of ties to the UK, financial and
personal as well as ties to your home country. Visit visas can be
complex and require wide ranging evidence. Evidence can take many
forms including statements and letters to support and explain
documentary evidence from various sources.

Length of a Visit Visa

It is possible to apply for a long-term Visit Visa of up to 2
years, 5 years, or 10 years. You may enter and leave the UK on
multiple occasions during the validity, unless your Visit Visa is
endorsed with a single entry. You must ensure that each visit is
not more than 6 months from the date of entry. If you do not have
an ongoing reason to visit the UK you may consider applying for a 6
month visit visa.

Even if you apply for a long-term multiple entry Visit Visa you
may only be granted one of short duration. The guidance reads:

You can issue a shorter duration visa if the applicant meets
the Visitor rules relevant to their visit but you have concerns
about issuing a long term visit visa. Entry Clearance officers must
obtain the authority of the Entry Clearance Manager before issuing
a visit visa of shorter duration than that applied for.

You must provide clear reasons for the decision to grant a
visa for a shorter period than that applied for in a covering
letter when the passport is returned.

It is important to note that no refund, whether full or partial,
wll be given.

Using a Multiple Entry Visit Visa

There is no specified maximum period for which an individual can
spend in the UK during a 12 month period (as long as it is for no
longer than 6 months from each entry), but you will need to be
careful not to make the UK your home through successive visits.
This will form a consideration when you plan your trips to the UK.
The guidance reads:

“There is no specified maximum period, which an
individual can spend in the UK in any period, such as ‘6 months
in 12 months’ (as long as each visit does not exceed the
maximum period for that visit, normally 6 months). However, if it
is clear from an applicant’s travel history that they are
seeking to remain in the UK for extended periods or making the UK
their home you should refuse their application”.

The fact that an Applicant is granted a multiple entry long-term
visit visa does not mean that they are guaranteed entry each time
they arrive in the UK. Their circumstances may be examined at the
border and you would be advised to carry evidence pertaining to any
current circumstances. Whether an individual is making the UK their
home through successive visits will be one matter that will be

The guidance makes reference to a number of factors that will be

  • the purpose of the visit and intended length
    of stay stated

  • the number of visits made over the past 12
    months, including the length of stay on each occasion, the time
    elapsed since the last visit, and if this amounts to the individual
    spending more time in the UK than in their home country

  • the purpose of return trips to the
    applicant’s home country or trips out of the Common Travel Area
    (CTA) and if these are used only to seek re-entry to the

  • the links they have with their home country
    or ordinary country of residence – consider especially any
    long-term commitments and where the applicant is registered for tax

  • evidence the UK is their main place of
    residence, for example: o if they have registered with a general
    practitioner (GP) o if they send their children to UK

  • the history of previous applications, for
    example if the visitor has previously been refused under the Family
    Rules and subsequently wants to enter as a visitor you must assess
    if they are using the visitor route to avoid the rules in place for
    family migrants joining British or settled persons in the

At the border, as the guidance confirms, an Applicant may be
asked for supporting evidence. This depends on the questions asked
and the answers given.

Maintenance and Accommodation – What Are the Levels and Who Can
Provide This?

As part of the Genuine visitor requirement (paragraph V 4.2) you
will need to show you have sufficient funds (paragraph V 4.2(e)).
There is no set level of funds required for an Applicant to show
they will be maintained and accommodated for their planned visit to
the UK.

In assessing whether there are sufficient funds, the caseworker
will consider the criteria in Paragraph V 4.3. A third party may
provide support, this includes family members, family, and other
individuals with whom the Applicant has a genuine personal or
professional relationship. You will want to consider the following
factors as set out in the guidance and provide evidence of

  • The Third party’s previous history of

  • The relationship between Applicant and

  • Where and how they met;

  • How often and by what means they

If maintenance and accommodation is to be provided by a third
party, that third party must not be in the UK in breach of
immigration rules at the proposed date of entry or the application.
The individual will need to show they have the means to provide
that support as well as anyone else usually dependent upon them in
addition to the Applicant. There are many ways to evidence these
requirements and you will want to ensure any concerns are

You will need to demonstrate that the funds are held in a
permitted financial institution under FIN 2.1 in Appendix Finance.

When addressing your finances you will need to evidence your
sources of income and savings. You will need to consider evidencing
how long you can be absent from your employment or business, who
will provide cover. You should consider how to address payments in
and out of your account, particularly any recent payments prior to
the date of application.

You may consider providing a schedule of costs to demonstrate
that the funds held or the funds you rely on are sufficient for
your purposes, your costs may for example be less if you are
staying with family and not expected to contribute to daily living
expenses such as food. There are many ways and forms to present
this evidence.

Part Two

In Part Two we will address further frequently asked questions
in relation to the Tourism, Leisure and Family Visit Visa

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.