With effect from 24 April 2015, changes have been made to the visitor visa categories of the Immigration Rules. The changes apply for all applications for visitor visas to the UK made on or after 24 April.

Appendix V – introduction 

The new visitor visa provisions are contained in “Appendix V” to the Immigration Rules. The visitor visa rules are now self-contained within their own “booklet”. The introduction to Appendix V states that:

“A visitor is a person who is coming to the UK, usually for up to six months, for a temporary purpose, for example as a tourist, to visit friends or family or to carry out a business activity”.

Visitors cannot study or work in the UK unless specifically permitted to do so by the Immigration Rules.

There are now four visitor visa categories (streamlined from 15):

  1. Visitor (standard);
  2. Visitor for marriage or civil partnership;
  3. Visitor for permitted paid engagements; and
  4. Transit visitor.

Changes relevant to business visitors to the UK

Under the visitor (standard) category it is now possible for all visitors to carry out permitted activities which were not originally declared on their visit visa application. The list of permitted activities has been expanded to include:

  • Employees of an overseas training company delivering global training to employees of a multinational company based in the UK
  • Allowing training in specialist UK work practices and techniques to be delivered by non-corporate organisations
  • Expanding the current provision for overseas lawyers to advise UK clients on litigation and international transactions to include lawyers who remain employed by an overseas multinational company.

The full list of permitted activities can be found towards the end of Appendix V in “Visitors Appendix 3”.

Employers can now be asked to provide a written undertaking agreeing to accommodate and maintain their visitor for the duration of their stay.

Conclusion

The visitor visa rules are now considerably clearer. The changes effective from 24 April mean that visitors can carry out a number of different activities, instead of applying for different visas for each type of activity.