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UK Visit Visa Policy Changes

Posted on March  17 , 2015

Changes to UK visas, particularly affecting visit visas to be introduced in April this year have been released in an update to Immigration Rules today.

Under the changes proposed by UK Home Secretary Theresa May in February this year, the 15 different visa categories were to be  replaced by a system of four visa types.  The idea is to streamline the process and make it easier for business people and performing artists to enter the UK.

Changes include allowing visitors to use the same visa for business and holiday purposes instead of having to apply for two separate visa categories and a new type of visa for those undertaking paid engagements such as performing in theatre or concerts.

The changes were proposed after consultation with more than 100 organisations, ranging from business groups and tourism bodies to representatives from the worlds of science and technology, and announced to leaders of the Confederation of British Industry in a private meeting in February this year.

The four proposed visitor visa types mentioned (briefly summarised – with title and details not known) as at February were as follows:

  1. Tourist visa
  2. For paid performing artists etc
  3. Marriage or civil partnership visit
  4. Transit visa

A paper on updated Immigration Rules (Part 2) released today (17 March 2015) includes visas for the following categories:

  • people coming for tourism, to visit friends and family or to do short courses of study
  • unpaid academic, business, sports and entertainment activities
  • permitted paid engagements
  • people travelling to another country (‘in transit’)
  • private medical treatment
  • parents of children at schools in the UK
  • visiting just for marriage or civil partnership
  • the ‘Approved Destination Scheme’ agreement with China
  • Commonwealth Games family members

Sources: London Evening Standard; UK Home Office

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