The frequently asked questions about how to get a UK Visa
UK Tax resident status: You may be interested in our main Article on UK Tax status if you are looking to move to the UK or from the UK. You may also be interested to know how more about our property tax services if you are looking to invest in the UK buy to let properties.
The frequently asked questions about how to get a UK Visa
As property accountants, we are regularly asked about foreigners obtaining a UK Visa. We will look to answer the below questions in this Article.
“Why you may be paying too much tax.”
“UK tax when moving to the UK.”
“Understanding the basics of how to get a UK Visa.”
“Which type of UK Visa is right for me?”
“How long does it take to get a UK Visa?”
“What happens once I get a UK Visa?”
“Do I pay UK tax if I’m a non-resident?”
“How many days can I stay in the UK without paying tax?”
“What taxes do I have to pay if I live in the UK?”
“Can I be resident in two countries?”
“How does this affect our American readers?”
Why you may be paying too much tax
Our property tax specialists help over 1,000 monthly retained UK landlords and property investors to minimize tax whilst building their wealth.
There are many reasons why people pay far more tax than they need. This is because:
– They do not know what they do not know.
– They have not spoken to a tax specialist to go through their situation to see what available tax reliefs are available to them.
– Their accountants or solicitors are not aware of the many reliefs available to their clients and are not taken advantage of.
– Tax legislation changes but either the person or their accountant/tax specialist has not been made aware.
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UK tax when moving to the UK
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Understanding the basics of how to get a UK Visa
As property accountants serving thousands of UK landlords that purchase buy to let properties, we know that the UK property investment market is one of the most resilient in Europe.
This also makes it attractive to foreign investors looking to develop a property portfolio in the UK.
Despite recent challenges such as COVID-19 and the impact of the Brexit vote, the UK property market remains a stable alternative for many investors from abroad.
It is important to understand the rules concerning UK Visas and immigration beforehand.
There were 86,255 decisions on applications for settlement in the UK from non-EEA nationals in the year ending June 2020. Of these, 83,641 (97%) resulted in a UK Visa being granted.
Under European law, EEA nationals and their dependents do not need to obtain documentation confirming their right of residence in the UK.
EEA nationals only need to apply for a document certifying permanent residence if they want to either apply for British citizenship or sponsor their partner’s UK visa application under the Immigration Rules.
Americans do not need a UK visa for a visit of six months. They are classed as non-visa UK nationals.
The nationals of many Western countries, in particular European countries, can enter the UK visa-free.
With the UK buy-to-let market being worth more than £1 trillion, it is estimated that renters will outnumber homeowners by 2039.
Rapidly increasing house prices and growing demand for flexible accommodation are driving this.
UK property represents an increasingly attractive investment opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs.
According to Savills, UK house price growth for 2021 will be 4%. Many are suggesting the housing market will be strong throughout the first half of the year.
Predictions are for some UK areas, such as Glasgow, Leicester, and Liverpool, seeing rental yield as high as 8%, with other areas hitting 3%. It certainly looks like a good time to invest in property.
When it comes to getting a UK visa, the first thing to establish is if you need one in the first place.
You do not need a visa if you’re from the EEA, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or a Commonwealth citizen, and you came to the UK by 31 December 2020.
If you started living in the UK by that date, you could apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue working, live or study in the UK.
Most of the application process for a UK visa depends on your purpose of visiting the UK.
Your purpose of travel to the UK determines what type of visa you need. It can be one of the following:
– Work visa
– Business visa (including Investor Visas, see below)
– Study visa
– Tourist visa
– Family visa
– Settlement visa
– Transit visa
Documentation for every type of UK visa
According to the visa type you are applying for, you need to collect all these documents. Then you need to submit them on the day of your interview.
Make sure the required documents for the UK visa you are applying for complies with criteria set by the UK Home Office.
You should submit the following documents to apply for a UK visa:
– UK visa application form
– Two photographs
– Your valid passport
– Proof you have the financial means to cover living costs while in the UK
– Proof of accommodation
– Detailed travel itinerary
– Tuberculosis Test Results
It is important to find out everything you need to know about getting a UK Visa well before your visit.
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Which type of UK Visa is right for me?
Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK for up to six months. For example:
– for a holiday or to see family and friends
– for a business trip or meeting
– to do a short course of study
You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa to visit the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.
If you have a visitor visa, you cannot take a job in the UK.
You might need a visa if you’re travelling through the UK on your way to another country.
If you want to study in the UK, your course length, type, and place of study effect which visa to apply for.
A Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than six months.
The Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course over six months and up to 11 months.
A Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.
If you want to invest or work in the UK, there are many types of work visas.
The visa you need depends upon:
– your skills and qualifications
– if you have a job offer and sponsorship
– if you want to bring your family with you
– what you’ll be doing – for example, sporting, charitable or religious work
You can also invest money in the UK with an Investor visa.
You can set up a business with a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa.
How long does it take to get a UK Visa?
It will generally take around three weeks for the visa application to be processed and a decision made.
What happens once I get a UK Visa?
Once a UK Visa is approved, you’ll be given a sticker called a vignette that goes in your passport.
You will also be given access to view your immigration status information online. You will be able to see what type of UK visa you’ve been granted, the start and end date of the visa, and any visa conditions.
UK conditions might include:
– ‘No access to public funds,’ i.e. you cannot claim benefits
– ‘No work,’ i.e. you cannot take paid or unpaid work in the UK
– ‘Restricted work,’ i.e. you can only work for your sponsor
If you get a vignette and you’re coming to the UK for more than six months, then you have to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) after you arrive.
You must do this before the vignette sticker expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
You can also use the online service to share your immigration status information with others, such as employers or universities.
Do I pay UK tax if I'm a non-resident?
Non-residents only pay tax on their UK-based income. They do not pay UK tax on foreign income.
Residents usually pay UK tax on all their income, whether derived from within the UK or abroad.
How many days can I stay in the UK without paying tax?
You can spend up to 182 days in any tax year in the UK and remain tax resident in another country.
One of the most common requests from our foreign property investor clients is how to get the best Capital Gains Tax advice. Our property tax accountants are here to help.
What taxes do I have to pay if I live in the UK?
You pay tax on your income if you come to live in the UK. Income includes wages, benefits, pension, and savings interest. Income tax is paid on income above your personal allowance.
You will not have to pay UK tax if you only make short business trips such as a meeting or training course.
If you’re employed in the UK, your employer will deduct Income Tax from your wages.
You’ll have to send a Self Assessment tax return if you work for yourself or you have other UK income.
You may also have to send a tax return if you:
– made a profit when selling (or ‘disposing of’) certain assets such as shares or a second home.
– have to pay UK tax on foreign income, for example, savings in an overseas bank account, rent on a property you let out, or an overseas pension – this depends on if you’re ‘resident’ in the UK.
You may have to pay tax on UK income or gains made while you were abroad if you’ve lived in the UK before
Many of our clients from abroad are keen to avoid paying Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on UK property.
It is important to speak to property tax experts who can best advise on mitigating CGT wherever possible.
This article on UK non-resident Capital Gains Tax provides a useful overview for foreign property investors.
Everything you need to know about being a UK tax resident landlord will help to ensure you are as tax efficient as possible.
Can I be resident in two countries?
If you live in the UK and another country and are taxed on income from both, you are classed as a dual resident.
This means you can claim full or partial relief on UK tax on your UK income if the two countries have a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) allowing this.
How does this affect our American readers?
Americans moving to the UK will need to obtain a UK Visa. Americans need to be aware that they will always need to pay taxes to the IRS even if they move full-time to the UK.
US citizens do not need to apply for a visa to enter the UK if they travel for tourism or business purposes lasting up to six months. They are required to apply for all other types of visas to travel or stay in the UK.
To learn more, make sure you head over to our sister company Purser Tax that helps British people save tax in the US and Americans save tax in the UK. It is one thing to be tax-efficient in the UK or the US; it is another thing to be tax-efficient across the Atlantic.
This is why you need to get a tax advisor that truly understands international tax.