The Best Types of U.K Visas for African Immigrants
The United Kingdom (U.K.) welcomes immigrants from all over the world, but African immigrants in particular have unique visa requirements they need to meet in order to gain admission into the country. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for one of several different types of U.K visas, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most common types of U.K visas and how they apply to African immigrants.
U.K Work Visas
The most common way Africans migrate to the U.K is through a work visa. The three main types are Tier 2, Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, and Intra-Company Transfer Visa. Tier 2 allows you to apply for a visa if you have a job offer from an employer in Britain that cannot be filled by a local worker and your salary is between £20,800 – £35,000 (over 5 years it increases to up to £50,000). This can then be converted into indefinite leave to remain after 5 years provided that your annual earnings continue to be above that threshold during that time period.
All general work visa applicants must have an employer or a licensed sponsor. Although the requirements vary by type of work permit, the most common include:
- An application form
- Two color photographs taken within the past six months
- A valid passport
- Proof of financial means to cover UK living costs
- Proof of accommodation
- Detailed travel itinerary
- Tuberculosis test results
- Biometric information
- A visa invitation letter if the individual is staying with a friend or family member
- Paid UK visa fees
- Certified translations of any document that’s not in English or Welsh
Visa application processing can take up to three weeks, so it’s important to apply early at an application center or online through the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration Services website.
U.K Family Visa
Under current U.K immigration rules, most non-EU spouses and partners are subject to a minimum income threshold that must be met before they are granted visas to join their partners in Britain. They can do so under a tier 2 visa, which requires that all family members obtain sponsorship from an employer who will demonstrate that no British workers are able to fill available jobs; under a tier 1 visa, which requires sponsorship from either an employer or a specific educational institution; or under a points-based system (PBS) visa, which rewards skilled workers with at least 50 points for education and work experience but still may require work permits depending on how long applicants have lived in Britain and other factors.
To be eligible for a Family Visa, you must be one of the following:
- A spouse, partner, or close relative of a British citizen or settled person
- A dependant spouse, partner, or close relative of a person who has valid entry clearance in the UK
- The granddaughter/grandson of a British citizen (who was born in the UK)
- The family member of a person based in the UK, if you are looking to visit for a temporary period
As part of the requirements for these kinds of visas, you must usually prove that your relationship with your family members is genuine.
U.K Student Visa
To study in England, there are two types of student visas; Tier 4 Student Visa and Post-Study Work Visa. The Tier 4 visa is issued to students who want to study at a university or college in England. The visa will allow you to stay in the country for up to 5 years and during that time you can work part-time if you wish (20 hours per week). After completing your studies, you can apply for a post-study work visa which will allow you to stay on and find employment with an employer who has been approved by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). This type of visa is valid for 2 years but can be extended by another 2 years if all goes well.
Documents you’ll need to apply
When you apply for your Student visa you must provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation
- a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your course provider
You may also need to provide:
- proof you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
- a valid ATAS certificate if your course and nationality require it
- proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you’re under 18
- proof of your relationship to your parent or guardian if you’re under 18
- your tuberculosis test results
- written consent for your application from your financial sponsor if you’ve received sponsorship for your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months
U.K Retirement Visa
If you want to work in Britain after you’ve retired, you will need a retirement visa or permanent residence card (PRC). These are harder to get than most other visas and come with a number of restrictions. For example, if you have less than £18,600 in capital or income per year (2018), then your application will not be accepted; and even if it is, your spouse cannot take a job and cannot receive public funds (such as child benefits) during their time in Britain. The amount of funds required is subject to change every year so it is important that you check before making an application. Your application will also be rejected if you do not meet one of these criteria: You must be at least 50 years old when applying;
For people who wish to retire permanently but do not meet these requirements, there is another option: part-time work. This means that you can apply for a visa that allows you to live in Britain while working up to 20 hours per week. However, there are still many restrictions on what type of jobs you can do while on such a visa and how long they last—you can only stay on such a visa for up to 12 months at a time and must leave Britain between each stay (though certain exceptions apply). In addition, any children over 18 years old who wish to live with their parents must also apply for such a visa. Find out more about fees, how to pay, and the documents required, in the guidance notes on the Application to extend stay in the UK: form FLR(IR) page or the Application to settle in the UK: form SET(BUS) page.
U.K Tourist Visa
The first category is tourist visas, which are issued to applicants visiting England on vacation or business trips only. Tourist visas allow you to spend 6 months in total in England over a 12-month period and up to 4 weeks at any one time during that period. If you’re staying longer than 4 weeks, you may need a student visa or work permit instead. The best part about tourist visas is that there is no limit on how many times you can enter and exit, so long as your total stay is less than 6 months per year and less than 4 weeks at any one time. You should apply for a tourist visa if you plan to visit family members who live in England, or if you have friends or relatives who will be hosting you while you’re there. However, if your reason for travel is tourism (sightseeing), then it makes sense to apply for a tourist visa. It also makes sense if your purpose of travel is strictly recreational (holidays). If either of these situations applies to you, then applying for a tourist visa would be an excellent choice.
Documents required for a UK Tourist visa application
The documents required to apply for a UK tourist visa are as follows:
- UK tourist visa application form VAF1A.
- Two colored photographs in accordance with the UK guidelines.
- Your valid passport with at least one blank page. It must be valid for three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the UK after your trip.
- Proof of financial means to cover living costs while you are in the UK. This may be your bank statements for the last six months or payslips for the same period.
- Specifics about your accommodation in the UK. You will need to present a document that shows where you will be accommodated while in the UK. Note that you do not have to fully pay a hotel/hostel in the UK before getting the visa, just to get such a document. This could also be:
- ID information and living address of a person covering your travel costs.
- ID information and passport number of any relative living here.
- Detailed travel itinerary. It has to contain dates of your onward and backward travel. Submit a travel plan that gives all the information regarding how and what you are planning to do in the UK. Include the travel dates, places you will visit, meeting agenda, booked tour, festival agenda, etc.
- Previous travel history. This has to cover the period of the last 10 years. It can be proven through visas and entry/exit border stamps in current and older passports, or through separate residence titles.
- Specifics about your living address in the home country. Also, you’ve to show how long you’ve been living there.
- Biometric information. If you are applying for a visa that lets you stay in the UK for more than 6 months, you will need to submit your biometric information. This includes giving your fingerprints and a digital photograph taken at the appropriate application center.
- Letter of invitation from the host.
- Paid UK visa fees. You should submit the receipt that confirms you have paid the visa fee as required.
- Certified translations of any document that is not in either English or Welsh.
- Recognized certificate of English language.
- Your criminal history.
- If you are a student: Academic and professional certificates.
- The names and birthdates of your natural/adoptive parents. This has to be supported by information about the number of their annual earnings.
- If you are employed in your home country: Contact and information of your existing employer. Get more info https://visaguide.world/europe/uk-visa/
English Language Courses (Student) Visa
These visas are issued to non-EEA nationals who want to study a full-time course in England. Individuals will receive a student visa if they have been accepted onto a program that is at least 6 months long and on campus, or 8 months if done via an English language school. The program must be at least 16 hours per week and lead to an accredited academic qualification such as an IELTS Band 7 score, BA/BSc degree, etc.