I am a US citizen and thus can stay in the UK for 6 months. I am purchasing a live-aboard cruising boat to tour the UK via canals and rivers. I'd like to be able to stay for 10 to 12 months before I move the boat to Holland? How do I extend the 6 months - What kind of Visa do I need to apply for. This is strictly for tourism. I've been on the UK websites - the only things I can find tells me I do not need a visa.

  • @pnuts: Well, for starters, there's Wikipedia, which says that US citizens "are visa-exempt for stays in the UK of up to 6 months". – Nate Eldredge Sep 9 '16 at 2:53
  • @pnuts - Most web information about USA to UK travel mentions that US citizens can stay in the UK for up to six months for both tourism and business purposes. – user13044 Sep 9 '16 at 2:56
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    Just BTW - "I am purchasing a live-aboard cruising boat to tour the UK via canals and rivers" I'm surprised there is a "cruising boat" (ie a cruiser, a boat you can do things with like "go to Italy") which is also usable on "canals" ..... what sort of stinkboat is it??! – Fattie Sep 9 '16 at 6:25
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    It apparently is possible, with a lot of skill and luck, to take a narrow boat across the English Chanel. See Retired couple conquer the Channel in a canal boat – Patricia Shanahan Sep 9 '16 at 6:45
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    Getting landed with 6 months leave-to-enter is not automatic. – Gayot Fow Sep 9 '16 at 13:58

Normally, US citizens can only visit without a visa for no more than six months. Some countries allow visitors to apply for a visa to stay for longer. However, that does not appear to be true for the UK. From Standard Visitor visa:

How long you can stay

You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

You might be able to stay for longer if:

  • you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment - up to 11 months
  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research - you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months

Staying for 10 to 12 months is outside what is permitted under a Standard Visitor visa. As far as I am aware, there is no other visa that would permit tourism activities for more than six months.

Although US citizens do not need a visa for visits up to six months, you will still be interviewed by an immigration officer (ECO, Entry Clearance Officer). They do have the power to refuse entry to you if they believe you are arriving to live in the UK (and if you say "live-aboard cruising boat" that sure sounds like you intend to live in the UK).

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    There's no reason to hedge with language like 'seems like'. There are no provisions in the rules to extend permission full stop end of story. I would also suggest a cautionary note to the OP that the BIG 'elephant in the room' is getting landed in the first instance (no ties, regulated activities, onward travel), much less trying to extend. Please ping me if you edit so that I can vote. – Gayot Fow Sep 9 '16 at 13:57
  • With the above information it sounds like I need to apply for a true Visa. I will go forth with the help of an immigration/visa company. – Claire Sep 9 '16 at 15:46
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    @Claire locate a practitioner using ILPA ilpa.org.uk/pages/find-immigration-advice.html or the Law Society solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk – Gayot Fow Sep 9 '16 at 16:06
  • @Claire don't forget to mark Greg's answer as 'accepted' by putting the green check mark on it. I can vote on it later, thanks. – Gayot Fow Sep 9 '16 at 19:50
  • @GayotFow: Thanks for the support, I've edited my answer with additional information. – Greg Hewgill Sep 9 '16 at 20:02

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