Visit guidance - changes for holders of long-term visitor visas

05 January 2017

The Home Office has today published version 5.0 of its Visit guidance.

The main changes as set out on its last page are:

Visit visa applications from persons with Right of Abode to be refused
Clarified that evidence is required when refusing on mandatory grounds
Example of when an applicant may be considered to have few or no ties to their home country
Exception on study as a visitor for long -term visit visa holders
Clarified that escorting a private medical treatment is not a permitted visitor activity
Deleted reference to 2 year China visit visa scheme pilot
Cancelling and curtailing visitor visas and leave

Of key interest to us, following several months of correspondence with the Home Office on this subject, is the confirmation on pages 23-24 that long-term visit visa holders can on occasion use their visas to enter the UK mainly or solely in order to undertake study, as long as their main reason for holding the visa remains a permitted purpose other than study.

"A visitor who holds a long-term, multiple-entry visit visa may wish occasionally to come to the UK solely to study for a short period of time (up to 30 days). This can include but is not limited to, persons who are pursuing a course of study overseas (including a UK course by distance learning) who are required study in the UK as part of this."

"Since a person cannot hold 2 forms of leave at a time, a long-term visit visa holder cannot be granted a visa or leave to study as a short-term student without their long term visit visa being cancelled, if the validity of the long-term visit visa and the short-term study leave are concurrent. A long-term visit visa holder may therefore be permitted occasionally to enter solely to take a course or period of study. The course or period of study must meet the requirements of paragraph 25 of Appendix V, so must not exceed 30 days at any one time and, unless it is a recreational course, take place at an accredited institution."

"The main purpose of holding the long-term visit visa must continue to be to undertake visitor activities as set out in paragraphs 3 – 24 and 26 – 27 of Appendix 3 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules."