UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is exploring options to make the immigration system for visitors clearer and more accessible. It is envisaged that the existing routes be reduced from 15 visitor visa routes to approximately four in order to provide a clearer and more flexible framework. No current visitor route will be deleted but instead they will be absorbed under the new categories.

The likely new categories are:

  • Visitor
  • Permitted paid engagements
  • Marriage
  • Transit

For student visitors, the routes (6 and 11 month) will be rebranded into ‘short term study’ to make it conceptually clearer. The benefit of the reduction in categories is that it will allow individuals to carry out more permitted activities on a single visa rather than applying for separate visas to carry out different activities. It is hoped that the proposals if adopted will enable applicants to understand more clearly what they can and cannot do while on a visit to the UK.

Although there is no set date for implementing the above proposals, the expected date is April 2015.