UK to reduce visitor visas to four

11 Feb 2015 by GrahamSmith

The UK government is to reduce the number of visitor visa routes from 15 to four.

The overhaul will make the system easier to understand, it is claimed, and will affect all those visiting the UK from April, whether for business or leisure.

The four new visa routes will be: visitor (standard); visitor (to hold marriage or civil partnership); visitor undertaking permitted paid engagements; and visitors transiting the UK.

Reducing the routes to four will help visitors apply for the right visa, the government said, adding that "for example, a person can visit for business meetings and a holiday and will not need to apply for two separate visas".

Also in April, exit checks will be introduced to determine who has complied with the length of their visa.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "In a global market place we must make sure we stay ahead of our competitors as we work to carry on attracting the business and leisure travellers who will help our economy grow further still.

"These further reforms to the immigration system are part of our work to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Britain remains open for business and that visitors are always welcome in the UK, whether they come for leisure or work."

The new rules will be laid in Parliament on February 26 before coming into effect from April.

Graham Smith

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