General visitors are given permission to enter the UK for up to six months, or 12 months if they are going to be accompanying an academic visitor. Are you entitled to enter the UK as a general visitor?
Establishing Eligibility as a General Visitor
In order to establish eligibility as a general visitor to the UK, you must meet certain criteria. Visitors must be aged 18 or above and plan to stay in the UK for up to six months, or up to 12 months if they are accompanying an academic visitor. General visitors must also show that they plan to leave the UK at the end of their permitted stay and supply evidence that they have enough funds to support themselves without applying for help form public funds, or employment.
In short, general visitors must prove that they do not intend to make the UK their home by entering into a marriage, applying for employment or transacting business deals. General visitors must have the means to support themselves, which includes the cost of return or onward travel at the end of the visit.
What Happens If You Are Refused Entry to the UK?
If your application to enter the UK as a general visitor is denied, the clearance officer or immigration officer will inform you of the decision. In addition to a written refusal notice, you will be informed of whether you are entitled to lodge an appeal. According to the UK Border Agency, if you travel without entry clearance and are refused entry, you should apply for entry clearance in your country of residence before you try to enter the UK again in future.
Documents Required for General Visitors
General visitors to the UK must provide documentary proof of their savings, several months’ worth of bank statements, evidence of family responsibilities or other social ties in your home country, including proof of onward travel arrangements, and property ownership.
If you are employed, you should also enclose a letter from your employer granting you a leave of absence. The letter should state the length of your absence, how long you have been employed at the company and when you will be expected to return to work. Self-employed individuals are also expected to furnish evidence of their business activities and financial standing.
Extending Stay as a General Visitor
If you wish to extend your stay as a general visitor in the UK, you will need to apply for an extension using form FLR(O). Applying for an extension does not take away the need to still meet the entry requirements as set forth in the Can I come to the United Kingdom as a general visitor? UK Border Agency page.
In order to be granted entry clearance to the UK as a general visitor, you must be at least 18 years of age and meet all the eligibility requirements, including all the relevant documents. Check with entry requirements in your country of residence before you travel.
UK Border Agency, General visitors.