UK Visas for Individuals & Families

The complicated world of immigration can be a daunting process for those negotiating it on their own, so having the right legal advice and support can be essential to give you and your loved ones the best chance of securing UK residence.

Vanessa Ganguin heads our UK visa team, bringing more than 20 years of experience and an encyclopaedic knowledge of UK immigration law to your visa application. Whether you need help with a relatively straightforward application or are dealing with more complex issues, such as human rights concerns, we have the expertise to maximise your chances of securing a visa as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Our UK visa lawyers can ensure your visa application complies with all of the relevant Immigration Rules, minimising the chances of rejection or any delays for you and your family. We also have a strong track record of finding creative solutions both within the rules and on a discretionary basis outside of the rules where required.

We are highly experienced in challenging visa application refusals, ensuring no potential angle is overlooked. We have a well-established network of useful contacts we can rely on to help find the fastest, most economical solutions to any UK visa issues you may experience.

For immediate assistance with any UK immigration issue affecting you or your family, please contact Vanessa Ganguin now on +44 (0)2070 339527 or use our contact form to request a call back.

Our UK visa services for individuals and families

Our highly experienced UK visa lawyers are here to help guide individuals and families though all types of visa applications for living, working and studying in the UK.

Standard visitor visas

This type of visa normally allows you to stay in the UK for up to six months and can be used if you want to visit the UK for:

• Leisure e.g. on holiday or visiting friends or family
• Business e.g. visiting a client or potential client or to attend a conference
• Taking part in sports and creative events
• Various other reasons e.g. seeking medical treatment

This type of visa does not allow you to:

• Work (whether paid or unpaid)
• Get married or register a civil partnership
• Access public funds

You are also not allowed to use multiple successive standard visas to live in the UK for an extended period.

You can apply for a standard visitor visa from up to three months before you travel.

Student visas

A Tier 4 (General) student visa can be used to study in the UK if you are 16 or over. It can allow you to stay in the UK for the entire length of your course.

To qualify for a Tier 4 (General) student visa you must:

• Have been offered a place on a recognised course
• Be able to understand, speak, read, write English to an acceptable level
• Have the money to pay for your course and support yourself
• Be from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
• Meet all of the other standard eligibility criteria

With this type of student visa you can:

• Study
• Work in most jobs (depending on the course and other circumstances)
• Apply to extend your visa

However, you cannot:

• Access public funds
• Work in some types of jobs e.g. professional sportsperson or coach
• Study at an academy or school funded by a local authority

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa both from inside and outside the UK up to three months before the start date of your course.

Worker visas

A Tier 2 (General) visa allows you to stay in the UK either for the length of the period of your engagement plus 14 days or for five years initially (whichever is shorter), and this may be extended up to a maximum period of six years.

You may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if:

• You have a confirmed offer of a skilled job in the UK
• You are from outside the EEA and Switzerland

Find out more about sponsoring employees from abroad as a business.
With a Tier 2 (General) visa you can:

• Work in the job covered in your visa application
• Work a second job (under certain circumstances)
• Carry out voluntary work
• Study alongside the job specified in your visa application
• Travel outside of the UK and return
• Bring family members into the UK with you

You cannot:

• Access public funds
• Apply for a second job before the job specified in your visa begins
• Own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless your annual earnings exceed £159,600) if our sponsor is a limited company

Find out more about coming to the UK as a investor or entrepreneur.

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa up to three months before the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship and no later than three months after your Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned.

Family visas

If you want to live with a family member in the UK for more than six months, you will need to apply for a family visa. This can be done whether you are already in the UK on an existing temporary visa (except a visit visa and some other exceptions) or from outside of the UK.

If you are already in the UK on an eligible temporary visa, you can apply for a family visa to extend your stay if you will be living with your:

• Spouse or civil partner
• Child
• Parent

You can apply for a family visa from outside of the UK to live with your:

• Spouse or civil partner
• Fiancé or proposed civil partner
• Child
• Parent
• Relative who will act as your long-term carer

Discretionary visas (outside the Immigration Rules) involving human rights issues

You may be able to apply for discretionary leave to remain if you can make the argument that your removal from the UK would lead to a breach of the UK’s obligation under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The decision to grant discretionary leave to remain outside of the standard Immigration Rules is in the hands of the Secretary of State. The evidence you must provide to support your argument is often considerable, so it is absolutely essential to have the support of an immigration lawyer experienced in these matters to give you the best possible chance of success.

Citizenship applications

The most common way for an adult to become a British citizen is through naturalisation. This allows those already living in the UK to become citizens.

To be eligible to apply for British citizenship you must:

• Be 18 or above
• Be of ‘good character’ e.g. have no recent or serious criminal convictions
• Plan to live permanently in the UK (unless you are married to a British citizen)
• Meet the knowledge of English and ‘life in the UK’ requirements
• Meet the residence requirements
• Have been in the UK exactly five years before the day on which your application is received by the Home Office

Additional requirements normally include:

• Having spent no more than 450 days outside of the UK in the last five years
• Having spent no more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last year
• Having had indefinite leave to remain in the UK for the last year (non-EEA nationals) or permanent residence status for the last year (EEA nationals)
• You have not broken any UK immigration laws

The rules are different for spouses, civil partners and children under 18 of British citizens.

Indefinite leave to remain

Settlement (commonly known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) means that you have the right to stay in the UK with no time restrictions.

To be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you will normally need to have been resident in the country for a set period under some type of temporary visa. Exactly how long you will need to have been resident will depend on the type of visa, with the minimum being five years for many types of visa.

If you are granted indefinite leave to remain, you will normally be able to apply for British citizenship after 12 months, as long as you are over 18 and have lived in the UK continuously for the past five years.

UK Immigration Appeals & Judicial Review

We regularly achieve success for our clients in statutory immigration appeals, both in Tribunals and the higher Courts. We also have a strong track record of securing residency via administrative and judicial reviews for clients whose initial visa application has been rejected.

Our immigration appeals team has particular experience with European free movement and human rights issues. We are frequently able to find creative solutions for even the most challenging visa issues.

With work with some of the leading barristers handling immigration law in the UK, meaning we can always ensure you have the best possible representation at every stay when appealing a rejected visa application.

What our clients say about our UK visa lawyers

“Vanessa has a wealth of connections at the Home Office and frequently liaises with them in relation to the development of immigration policy”
(Who’s Who Legal 2014)

Vanessa “has a particular flair for appeals at all levels and challenging refusals.”
(Who’s Who Legal 2014)

“Clients are very satisfied with Vanessa’s skills, attitude and ability to get things done.”
(Chambers & Partners 2014)

Contact our UK visa lawyers today

For help with any UK immigration issues for you or your family, please contact Vanessa Ganguin now on +44 (0)2070 339527 or use our contact form to request a call back.