UK personal immigration law is constantly changing. Responses to global change have led to new immigration routes frequently being introduced to visit, work, live, study or join family in the UK.

We offer our services to a wide range of clients, including high-net-worth individuals, their families and their businesses. Our team provides a tailored, efficient and pragmatic approach to find the best strategy for each client’s specific individual circumstances and requirements. We often advise clients with complex circumstances, as we have a wealth of experience consulting on discretionary applications.

We recognise the importance of effective and efficient communication with our clients who come from all over the world. As such, the firm has a range of employees who speak multiple languages and dialects to fluency and currently has coverage in the following languages: Afrikaans, Chinese – Mandarin, Chichewa, Czech, French, Hindi, Igbo, Malay, Marathi, Romanian, Russian, Shona, Spanish, Slovak, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Tonga, Uzbek, Zulu.

Visiting the UK

Depending on your nationality and the intended purpose of your visit, you may be required to apply for a visa to enter the UK prior to your arrival.

The type of visa you will need to apply for will depend on your reason for travelling, whether that be for a holiday, to see friends or family, for business, for private medical treatment, to do research, to get married, or to visit your child at school in the UK. Each visit should continue for no longer than six months, regardless of the total length of your visa. We have particular expertise in successful visit visa applications following a series of past refusals.

Working in the UK

There are a number of different options available to those looking to work in the UK, and Gherson LLP can assist you with providing the best immigration route for your circumstances.

As of January 2021, the points-based immigration system in the UK treats EU and non-EU citizens equally.

Under the points-based immigration system, anyone coming into the UK will need to meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Different conditions and permitted activities apply to different types of visa.

We specialise in all types of corporate immigration visas, whether that be long-term work visas, such as the Skilled Worker or International Sportsperson visas, short-term visas, such as the Graduate Route, or visas aimed at business development and talent, such as Innovator Founder and Global Talent visas.

In relation to closed immigration categories such as Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Representative of an Overseas Business, we can still assist with your extension and settlement applications.

We also provide support with other visa categories, such as Overseas Domestic Worker, Frontier Worker, and Service Provider from Switzerland visas.

Global Talent visa

To qualify for a Global Talent visa you must be recognised as a leader, or emerging leader, in one of the following fields:

  • Research and academia, specialising in:
    • science
    • engineering
    • humanities
    • medicine
    • social science
  • The arts:
    • dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts
    • architecture
    • fashion design
    • film and television
  • Digital technology, for example:
    • fintech
    • gaming
    • cyber security
    • artificial intelligence

Before applying for the Global Talent visa, you must either:

  • have been awarded a qualifying prestigious prize, or
  • have obtained an endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies approved by the Home Office:
    • Arts Council England – for the arts, culture, architecture, fashion, film and television
  • British Academy – for humanities and social sciences
  • Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering
  • Royal Society – for natural sciences and medical science research
  • Tech Nation – for digital technology
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – for science and research under the endorsed fast-track route

We have had recent success in Global Talent visas for artists and digital technology applicants, in particular.

Each endorsing body has their own specific eligibility requirements and process for endorsement, which our team will happily advise you on. In general, you can expect your application to be assessed on one of the following criteria:

  • Exceptional Talent criteria – for individuals who can demonstrate that they are internationally recognised at the highest level as leaders in their particular field;
  • Exceptional Promise criteria – for individuals at an early stage of their careers who have already demonstrated exceptional promise and are likely to become leaders in their particular

If your application is approved, you will be issued with a visa which will be valid for five years. Before the end of this period, you can apply to extend your visa. Alternatively, if you satisfy the requirements, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (otherwise known as settlement) after 3 or 5 years of holding the visa and living in the UK, depending on your area of specialism and whether you were endorsed as Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise.

Under the current rules, you can extend your Global Talent visa as many times as you wish. To extend your visa, you will need to meet the extension criteria, which includes demonstrating that your endorsement has not been withdrawn, and that you have earned money in the UK in the field related to your endorsement or prestigious prize.

Innovator Founder visa

If you have played a key role in developing a new business concept that you wish to bring to the UK, you may be eligible to apply for an Innovator Founder visa.

There are several requirements you will need to meet. The business you wish to run must be:

  • new – you cannot join an existing business if you are not one of its founders;
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the UK market (meaning it is either a completely new product/service, or a new aspect of an existing product/service);
  • viable – with potential for growth; and
  • scalable – you must demonstrate a detailed plan for creating jobs and growth in the UK and beyond.

Your business or business idea will need to be endorsed by one of the endorsing bodies approved by the Home Office. You may be asked to provide a detailed business plan to demonstrate that you satisfy these requirements. Examples of businesses for which we have successfully obtained endorsement include a skincare brand, a manufacturer and distributor of nutritional supplements and a gift card trading mobile application.

You will also need to have the relevant skills, qualifications and entrepreneurial experience in order to lead the business in the UK. In addition, you have to meet the minimum English language requirement. If your application is approved, you will be granted leave as an Innovator Founder for a maximum initial period of 3 years. You can apply to extend your leave in the UK for further periods of 3 years, subject to meeting various requirements, which include demonstrating that:

  • At the time of extension you are continuing to pursue the business assessed by an endorsing body approved by the Home Office;
  • Your business is active, trading and sustainable, and it demonstrates significant achievements against the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement; and
  • You continue to be active in day-to-day management and development of the business.

It may be possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (also known as settlement) after 3 years of living and running your business in the UK.

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, your business will need to meet a number of criteria prescribed by the Home Office, such as having created jobs for local UK residents or meeting minimum revenue targets.

Studying in the UK

If you are going to study in the UK for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a student visa, a child student visa or a short-term study visa.

If you are a student on the basis of this visa category in the UK, you are not allowed to undertake the following activities:

  • work for more than 20 hours per week during term-time (if your course of study is at a degree level or higher);
  • be self-employed or engage in business activity;
  • work as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach);
  • work as an entertainer; or
  • work in a position which would fill a permanent full-time vacancy.

If your course of study is 12 months or longer, you will be granted a visa valid for the duration of your course plus up to five months in addition.

Overall, you cannot spend more than five years in the UK if you are 18 or over and your course is at degree level, or more than two years if your course is below degree level.

This visa route does not lead to UK permanent residence in itself. However, you may be able to apply for permanent residence once you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of at least 10 years on the basis of multiple UK visas, which could include a Student visa.

Parent of a Child Student visa

In order to qualify for a Parent of a Child Student visa, you must demonstrate that:

  • You are aged 18 or over on the date of application;
  • You are the parent of a child who has a Child Student visa or is applying for it at the same time as you;
  • Your child’s other parent must not be in the UK or seeking to come to the UK;
  • Your child is aged between 4 and 11 years on the date of application;
  • You intend to live with your child during their stay in the UK;
  • You do not intend to make the UK your primary residence, and you have sufficient funds to maintain your main home outside of the UK; and
  • You have sufficient funds available for maintaining yourself and your child in the UK.

If your child is aged between 4 and 11 years and studying at an independent school in the UK, you can apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa to accompany them.

An initial Parent of a Child Student visa application must usually be made from outside of the UK. An application can, however, be made from within the UK, if the parent is lawfully present in the country, except for holders of visitor, short-term student or Leave Outside the Rules visas.

Graduate Visas

The Graduate visa route allows overseas students who have completed an eligible course of study in the UK to stay for a further two or three years to work or look for work.

To be eligible to apply for leave under the Graduate route, you must:

  • be in the UK on a Student Visa or Tier 4 (General) Student Visa;
  • have confirmation from your educational provider that you have successfully completed the course that you were sponsored to study when on your Student Visa; and
  • have spent at least 12 months of your course studying in the UK, or the whole duration of the course if it was less than 12 months (certain COVID-19-related concessions apply).

The Graduate route does not lead to settlement in the UK and it is not possible to extend this visa. It is possible, however, to switch from the Graduate route into another immigration category which does lead to settlement, such as Skilled Worker route.

High Potential Individual visas

The High Potential Visa is a UK immigration category which allows recent graduates of top global universities to work or look for work in the UK, following the successful completion of an eligible course equivalent to UK bachelor’s degree or above.

The course must have been completed in an academic institution listed on the Global Universities List, but not in a UK university.

If your application is approved, you will normally be granted leave as a High Potential Individual for 2 years, or 3 years if your course was a PhD or other doctorate-level qualification.

As a High Potential Individual migrant you are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work), excluding as a professional sportsperson or a sports coach. You are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions.

The High Potential Individual route does not lead to settlement in the UK, and it is not possible to extend this visa. It may be possible, however, to switch from the High Potential Individual route into an immigration category which does lead to settlement, such as Skilled Worker.


To be eligible to apply for an Ancestry Visa, you must demonstrate that:

  • you are over 17 years of age;
  • you are a Commonwealth citizen (including British Overseas Territories citizens, British Nationals (Overseas), British Overseas citizens and British subjects);
  • you are applying from outside of the UK from a country where you are lawfully resident;
  • you are able and genuinely intend to work in the UK (this can include voluntary work);
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself and any dependent family members without having to rely on public funds;
  • you must be able to prove that one of your grandparents:
    • was born in the UK or Islands (i.e. the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands); or
    • was born before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland; or
    • was born on a British-registered ship or aircraft.

As an Ancestry Visa holder you are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work) without restriction.

You are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions, provided you are also intending to work in the UK. The Ancestry Visa is granted for an initial period of 5 years, after which you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Youth Mobility Scheme

Individuals from certain countries, aged between 18 and 30, may be eligible to apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa. The Youth Mobility Scheme allows individuals to come and experience life in the UK for a period of up to two years.

On a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa you are able to study, work, be self-employed and set up a company (as long as your premises are rented, your equipment is not worth more than £5,000 and you don’t have any employees).

There are several requirements that every applicant must satisfy, including having a minimum of £2,530 in savings. The remaining requirements for the visa depend on the nationality of the applicant.

Overseas Domestic Worker

In order to obtain an Overseas Domestic Worker visa for your domestic staff, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your domestic worker is aged 19 or over on the date of application;
  • Your domestic worker has been employed in this capacity and is either living with you, or in a property that you use as a home on a regular basis for at least 12 months immediately before applying;
  • The terms and conditions of your domestic worker’s employment in the UK are confirmed in writing;
  • You genuinely intend to pay your domestic worker at least the UK National Minimum Wage throughout their employment in the UK;
  • You, the employer, must be a British national whose usual place of residence is outside the UK, or a non-British national who is travelling to the UK as a Visitor in accordance with the Immigration Rules, and you do not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months;
  • Your domestic worker intends to work for you whilst you are in the UK and will travel to the UK in your company or in the company of your spouse, civil partner or child under the age of 18;
  • Your domestic worker will leave the UK within six months or at the same time as you, whichever is earlier, and will not live in the UK for extended periods or make the UK their main home through frequent or successive visits; and
  • Your domestic worker can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds.

If the application is approved, your domestic worker will be granted a visa for a maximum period of six months. It is not possible to extend the visa from within the UK. Overseas Domestic Worker visa holders are only permitted to work as domestic workers in private households. An Overseas Domestic Worker visa holder is, however, permitted to change employer without notifying the Home Office within the validity of their visa.

Family in the UK

If you would like to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a type of family visa.

A family member includes a spouse or partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner, child, parent or relative who will provide long-term care for you. We offer particular expertise in navigating more unique family circumstances, such as adoption, surrogacy and sole responsibility cases.

We know how carefully the Home Office assesses every application under the Partner visa category. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, or if any of the requirements regarding the process or documentation have not been met, your application may be refused. Gherson LLP has extensive experience advising on such matters.

British Citizenship and Naturalisation

British citizenship and nationality law is complex, in part, due to Britain’s imperial past and its historical relationship with other countries around the world. In some cases, several generations can be traced to identify whether an individual is a British citizen or is entitled to apply for British citizenship.

There are six different types of British nationality:

  • British citizenship;
  • British Overseas Territories citizen;
  • British overseas citizen;
  • British subject;
  • British national (overseas); and
  • British protected person.

British citizenship is divided into two categories: “British citizens by descent” and “British citizens otherwise than by descent”. The type of citizenship an individual holds is important because it will determine whether they can automatically pass their citizenship on to their children, irrespective of where they are born.

Determining whether an individual automatically qualifies as a British citizen usually depends on three factors:

  • Where they were born;
  • When they were born; and
  • Their parents’ circumstances at the time of their birth.

In relation to the other five types of British nationality, these are mostly a legacy of the British Empire and will not normally provide a right to live or work in the UK without the correct immigration status.

Some individuals may be British but do not hold a UK passport. In these cases, an individual may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode in their foreign passport, which will allow them to live and work in the UK as a British citizen without holding a UK passport.

For those who are not automatically a British citizen, the route to becoming British will be either through naturalisation, or registration.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

As of 1 January 2021, the transitional period following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union has expired. European citizens without Pre-Settled or Settled Status who intend to reside in the UK for more than 6 months are required to apply for a visa under the UK Immigration Rules. Although this change is relatively recent, Gherson LLP has developed the adaptive tools and skills to assist in any new immigration matter, however novel the route may be.

Although the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021, in certain circumstances it may be possible to submit a late application. We continue to have success submitting late applications for Pre-Settled and Settled Status on a discretionary basis.

Global Immigration

When dealing with global immigration, our clientele are often high-net-worth individuals who require further assistance in addition to personal immigration. As a result of this, we frequently advise on and assist with matters relating to asset structuring, tax planning, media & reputation management, corporate matters, commercial & residential property, employment and family matters.

We can also assist you with your Schengen visa applications. Reasons for applying for a Schengen visa can include, among others, airport transit, tourism, visiting family and friends, business, medical, study, cultural, sports and religious purposes.

Similarly, US Visas have always been popular. Hence, we are able to assist with both non-immigrant (visit) and immigrant (settlement) visas.

Investment immigration is not a new concept; however, obtaining secondary citizenship and residencies have been increasingly prevalent throughout the most recent years. By way of investment, an individual can obtain settlement or citizenship within a short period of time and have access to a myriad of benefits including visa-free travel, efficient tax schemes and the opportunity to own a secondary residence in another country.