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I have a long term (2-year) type C business visa to the UK. From the website and other resources, it says that:

If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

This gives you unlimited entry into the UK during the visa’s validity - not to be confused with being allowed to stay for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.

You are only allowed to stay in the UK for up to 180 days during each stay, unless the visa expires before the 180 days - as indicated by the ‘valid until’ date shown on the visit visa.

But when I contacted the customer support, the reply I got was:

With regards to your query, you can spend up to 6 months in any 12 month period in the UK. I hope this answers your query.

We strongly recommend not to book prepaid travel and accommodation before receiving the visa.

So I am confused about the "180 days during each stay" vs "180 days in 1 year of stay".

Could someone help me with that?

  • 1
    Which customer support sent you that erroneous message? – Gayot Fow Oct 26 '15 at 7:03
  • donotreply@hgs-ukvi.co.uk – Geeky Oct 26 '15 at 7:06
  • I contacted through this form gov.uk/contact-ukvi-outside-uk – Geeky Oct 26 '15 at 7:19
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    It's from Hinduja Global Solutions acting on behalf of UKVI. They gave you wrong advice. The web site is correct. Also please read travel.stackexchange.com/questions/47975/… – Gayot Fow Oct 26 '15 at 7:23
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    It happens all the time. Do you want a formal answer? Or let the comments suffice? – Gayot Fow Oct 26 '15 at 7:26
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You have received conflicting information from two sources...

  • The UKVI web site
  • Email from Hinduja Global Solutions acting on behalf of UKVI

They both cannot be right. And the answer is that the customer services email (Hinduja) is wrong. The web site is correct. This is to say that the rule governing long-term visit visas is...

You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

That means you can stay for 6 months, take the ferry to Calais, and return for another 6 months back-to-back. The rules state that a visitor can stay for up to 6 months on each visit.

The rationale is that it normalizes visitors with non-visa nationals (e.g., Americans, Canadians, Aussies, etc), who can also stay for up to 6 months per visit without a visa.

NOTE: there is a deeply entrenched internet myth that a visitor can stay for 6 months in a rolling year. It's wrong, there's no such rule. But the myth persists, and we can see that even UKVI's customer service has fallen victim. It's always worse when people get something 'official' that's wrong and then vector it on the net as 'official'. There's a related article here.

NOTE: The rule itself is stated here.

If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit

NOTE: Finally, take note that these visas are hard to get. You need to be an end-user for a long time before you can qualify, and then you need to have an airtight reason.

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