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UK Visas and Immigration

When coming to the UK many rules and legislation exist to protect you. Whilst the most important to learn is your visa and immigration rights, other rights extend to you before you have even arrived.

As the UK is part of the EU, you are covered by EU legislation.

This encompasses such elements such as EU 261, consumer protection for flight delays. This protects you in the event of delayed, cancelled flights or if denied boarding and can often result in the award of compensation when claims are issued correctly.

You can claim back 6 years under UK law, so when you enter the UK for the very first time or if you are regularly back and forth you are covered. To be eligible your delay must be 3 hours or more. Whilst you can claim yourself, often flight delay solicitors are the best route to go and will typically pursue the airlines on your behalf on a no win no fee basis.

Check if you need a visa

You may need a visa to come to the UK to visit, study or work.

Use this tool to find if you’re eligible.

You may need to enter the following information:


  • Your nationality
  • Why you are coming to the UK
  • How long you intend to stay
Check if you need a UK visa

You can apply online for a:

  • UK visa – to visit, work, study or join a family member or partner in the UK
  • certificate of entitlement to prove your right of abode in the UK

You must be outside the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

You can apply here:

Apply for a UK visa

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, eg on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, eg to receive private medical treatment

Check if you need this visa if you’re visiting from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Standard Visitor visa




Check how long you’ll have to wait for a decision on your visa application if you applied from outside the UK.

If you applied to extend or switch a visa within the UK, check the individual visa guides to find out how long it will take.

Otherwise, you can check here:

Visa Processing Times


Work visas – See information and requirements for the following visas:

  • Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa
  • Get an exempt vignette
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa
  • Tier 1 (General) visa
  • Tier 1 (Investor) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 Priority Service
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and sporting) visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa
  • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa
  • Turkish Businessperson visa
  • Turkish Worker visa
  • UK Ancestry visa
  • UK visa sponsorship for employers
  • UK visa sponsorship management system
  • Working in the UK as a Croatian national
Work Visas



Settle in the UK – See restrictions and guidelines for the following types of visas to settle in the UK:

  • Apply for a Returning Resident visa
  • Apply to settle in the UK
  • Biometric residence permits (BRPs)
  • Life in the UK Test
  • Prove your knowledge of English for citizenship and settling
  • Return home voluntarily if you’re in the UK illegally
  • Settlement: refugee or humanitarian protection
Settle in the UK



Study Visas – For information on the different study visas:

  • Short-term study visa
  • Tier 4 (Child) student visa
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa
Student Visas



A collection of the current Immigration Rules.

The Immigration Rules are some of the most important pieces of legislation that make up the UK’s immigration law. They are updated on a regular basis and all changes can be found in the Immigration Rules: statement of changes.

The rules are divided into different documents. The index page will help you find the part you need.

Immigration Rules

Use the sponsor management system (SMS) to meet your requirements as an employer sponsoring tier 2 and 5 visa holders.

Sponsorship Management System



For any of the following area’s you will want to see the Visas and immigration operational guidance

  • Asylum policy
  • Business and commercial caseworker guidance
  • Enforcement
  • Entry clearance guidance
  • Fees and forms
  • Immigration directorate instructions
  • Immigration rules
  • Modernised guidance
  • Nationality instructions
  • Non-compliance with the biometric registration regulations
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Sponsorship
  • Stateless guidance
  • Visitors
Immigration Operational Guidance