UK Immigration Law and Visa Types

The United Kingdom Border Agency's (UKBA) Points-Based System is the UK's immigration system relating to those wishing to apply to gain initial admission into the UK and permission to remain for all forms of business and employment related immigration, as well as those who wish to study in the UK.

Grey & Co Solicitors can guide applicants through the process of the Points-Based System, both for individual applications and for the employers and education providers who sponsor them.

Grey & Co Solicitors can also assist on the full range of applications, including visa applications to visit the UK and applications for British citizenship.

Please follow this link to the UK Border Agency to confirm whether or not you require a visa for entry to the UK.


  • Short Term Visas are generally granted for periods of up to six months. Categories of short-term visitor visas include general (tourist, visiting friends), child, Approved Destination Status (ADS: a special category for Chinese nationals), family, short-term study, sportsperson, entertainer, prospective entrepreneur, medical treatment, marriage/civil partnership (for those not intending to live in the UK) and transit.
  • Points-Based System Visas. The Points-Based System is designed to provide visas for those coming to work, study or invest in the UK for periods in excess of six months. Applicants are awarded points against a set of fixed criteria and if they achieve the stipulated number of points they are granted a visa. There are four separate tiers of points-based visas;
    • Tier 1 for investors, entrepreneurs and exceptional talent.
    • Tier 2 for skilled workers (who must be sponsored by an accredited firm)
    • Tier 4 for students
    • Tier 5 for the Youth Mobility Scheme.

N.B. For several of these categories there is a fixed ceiling for the number of visas that can be issued in any one year.

  • Other Visas. Other types of visas include:
  • Ancestry visas for those who can demonstrate the required British ancestry and wish to work,
  • Spouse and partner visas for those joining their partners in the UK and family visas for other family members who meet certain conditions.
  • There are also special categories of visa for domestic workers and representatives of overseas businesses or media organisations (newspapers, news agency, broadcasters).
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