My mother-in-law is currently taking care of my borther's new born baby. We applied for a 2 year Standard Visitor visa, assuming she would be stay for 6 months at a time, with a month or two break in-between coming back to South Africa.

Upon entry in the UK, border control informed her the limitation is not per visit, but she would be able to return again within the same 12 month cycle. In other words, she would have to return back to South Africa for at least 6 months before she would be able to return again to the UK.

The page explaining the visa and it's purposes, is not very clear and open to interpretation, which is why we chose the 2 year Standard Visitor visa in the first place. All information and documentation supplied supports out initial intent as well.


Question: would she be allowed back in, considering the situation, without a 6 month break?

  • 5
    The linked page, summarising what a SVV is for, says (inter alia) "You can’t [...] live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits". What do you think that is, if not what you're trying to do? – MadHatter Jan 16 '18 at 11:06
  • Be very careful, because she's already breaking the terms of her visa. What's she doing is working and I've heard stories of entry refusals for "babysitting." – mkennedy Jan 16 '18 at 17:48

As you note, the rules are open to interpretation. There is no equivalent of the Schengen rule that allows calculation of the day on which a visitor can return, and how many days they can stay. Each time your mother-in-law attempts to enter the UK, the officials will make a judgement call on whether she is doing, or likely to do, anything that is not permitted.

The key item is the rule against using a visitor visa to "live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits".

The officer was giving some guidance on the sort of behavior that is likely to be considered unacceptable. Her original plan of spending blocks of six months in the UK separated by only a month or two in South Africa obviously amounts to living in the UK and visiting South Africa.

Your family should rethink the plan for the infant's care. She simply cannot be the everyday carer without effectively living in the UK, which is not permitted on a visitor visa. If she does not abuse her visa now, she can help in the future if e.g. the carer is unavailable for a few weeks or, later, during school holidays.


The answer to your question is no, she won't be allowed back in. Edit: see madhatter's comment. Also, consider that it may be possible to get her a more suitable visa that would allow long and frequent stays. Could she qualify as a dependent for instance?

  • 2
    While I don't think this merits the downvotes, since it is technically correct, it definitely would be improved by a little more explanation. – WGroleau Jan 16 '18 at 14:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.