Reforms to be made to UK visitor visas

visa 02 February 2015

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that visitor visas will be reformed to make it easier for businesspeople and performing artists to enter the UK.

These changes will apply to the two million people a year who apply for UK visitor visas. As part of the changes, four new visitor visa categories will replace the current range of 15 categories. The new categories will be as follows:

· A tourism visa

· A performing artist visa (e.g. for paid participation in a concert, theatre or other performance art event in the UK)

· A visa for those getting married / entering into a civil partnership in the UK

· A transit visa (for those passing through the country)

Also, visitors will be able to use the same visa for multiple purposes (e.g. to attend a business meeting and to take a holiday).

The result of a consultation with more than 100 businesses and tourism organisations, these changes are intended to not only make it easier for people to apply for such visas but also to streamline the process of reviewing applications.

May commented: "Fine-tuning the immigration system will help ensure we are demonstrating 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.

"In a global marketplace 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 changes will be introduced in April.

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