Gherson LLP’s ‘Friday FAQs’ – Joining Family in the UK on a Visitor Visa; and working for your own business in the UK

15 Sep 2023, 11 mins ago

This week our immigration specialists will assist with the following matters:

  • Is it OK to join family in the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa?
  • Can I sponsor myself to work in the UK?

Is it OK to join family in the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa?

The UK immigration system offers a variety of Visitor Visas, but today’s blog will focus specifically on the Standard Visitor Visa. This visa may seem like a quick and easy solution for those who want to travel to the UK for either a short period of time, or on a short notice. It may seem particularly convenient for non-visa nationals, who do not have to apply for this type of visa in advance, but who are simply granted UK Visitor status at the border, provided there are no issues. 

However, if you want to join your family in the UK (for example, your British fiancé(e), spouse or parent), you need to be aware of the following potential pitfalls.

As a Standard visitor:

  • you may only stay in the UK for a period of up to six months;
  • you are not permitted to work or rent accommodation in the UK;
  • if the holder of a Standard Visitor visa is a child, they will not be allowed to attend school; and
  • you may not switch to any other visa category from the UK, and to do so you will have to leave and apply for a new visa from your country of origin/ residence.

It is therefore highly important to carefully consider your options (and perhaps, get legal advice) well in advance of travelling to the UK, as there may be other, better suited visas for you, such as Spouse Visa, Fiancé and Proposed Civil Partner Visa, Private Life in the UK visa, etc.

I am an accredited professional, and I want to start a business in the UK. Can I sponsor myself to work in the UK?

Unfortunately, the UK immigration system does not have a ‘self-sponsorship’ visa route. However, depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider other options:

  • If you are already working for an active and trading business outside of the UK, and you want to open a UK branch of this business, you may be eligible for the Expansion worker visa. There are specific eligibility requirements for this visa, including proving ownership link to the  non-UK business and having sufficient funds to maintain yourself (and your family) in the UK.
  • If you manage to secure a job offer from a UK company, they may be able to sponsor you on the Skilled Worker visa route, provided the business obtain a valid sponsor licence from the Home Office to sponsor migrant employees, and on condition that your skills, qualifications and experience match the needs of this business.
  • If you have a business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable, you may be eligible for the Innovator Founder visa route. Please note that applying for the Innovator Founder visa is a two-step process. First, you have to get an endorsement from a Home-Office approved endorsing body, which is effectively obtaining an official confirmation that your business plan corresponds to the set requirements; and only then can you apply for the visa.

There may be other available immigration options for you, and we recommend that you contact us for a detailed assessment of your situation.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have not found an answer to your question, or if you would like to talk to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2023