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I'm a US citizen/passport holder. I'm planning to go to London to visit beginning November.

The UK Standard Visitor Visa website seems to indicate that I don't need a visa to enter the country, but 1) I'd like travel Europe and re-enter the UK a couple times and 2) I'd like to break up my six month eligibility so I can stay until the end of May instead of April. A UK extended visa should allow me to do this.

So, should I apply for a visa now, even though the website tells me I don't need to?

Should I be concerned about not being issued a regular visa, if for some reason, I can't satisfy the need for an extended stay? In other words, if they deny my extended stay, would I still be able to enter the country?

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    What is your itinerary? What is the purpose of your visit to the UK? – Michael Hampton Sep 27 '16 at 1:07
  • The visa extension tag is for when you have a visa but wish to go to immigration office in the country to have it extended. The other tags are enough for this question unless there is one I'm not familiar with for this specific type of UK visa. – hippietrail Sep 27 '16 at 3:25
  • @MichaelHampton I don't specifically have an itinerary except I will arrive on Nov 1. My purpose is just to visit. My partner is there studying on a student visa (from the US, too, btw), so I'll stay with them. Their visa expires in May so we'd like to leave together after that. – CJ Hildegaard Sep 27 '16 at 5:20
  • Related question: travel.stackexchange.com/q/78646/19400. Note that accompanying a partner who is a student could get you in trouble on purpose-of-travel grounds, in which case you would need a visa, perhaps a family visitor visa or as a dependant on your partner's student visa. – phoog Sep 27 '16 at 5:56
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In short, the answer is, under normal circumstances, never. You shouldn't bother to get a visitor visa unless you have had some iimmigration problem in the past, and you should not apply to extend your stay in the UK unless you want to stay past the date that was stamped in your passport when you entered.

An extended visa is for someone who needs a visa to be in the UK, and who needs to stay in the UK beyond the expiration of the visa. You don't need a visa, so you don't need to extend a visa. If you plan to spend a total of less than six months in the UK, but spread out over a period of seven months, there should be no problem.

Each entry to the UK is a new entry, and the normal course of affairs is that you get six months on each entry. In other words, your six-month eligibility is automatically broken up when you leave the country. If the immigration officer notices that you've spent a good deal of time in the UK recently, they may admit you for less than six months, but the time should be reduced by your recent stay in the UK, so the total will still be six months.

For example, if you stay in the UK for four months from November through February, then enter at the beginning of April for two months, you are likely either to be given six months or two months.

Extending a vistor visa costs £811, which is around $1050 US dollars right now. It's a very expensive undertaking for something that is not actually necessary.

  • Thank you for the information! I see now that extending the visa is a very costly endeavor (and I was getting it mixed up with the Long Term visa). Do you have a source or documentation about entry and re-rentry situation, and not needing a visa ever? – CJ Hildegaard Sep 27 '16 at 5:23
  • @CJHildegaard not "not ever" but as a standard visitor, generally never. The entry and reentry situation has been the subject of some recent posts by Gayot Fow; I'll have a look for them. – phoog Sep 27 '16 at 5:48
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    @CJHildegaard see travel.stackexchange.com/a/78659/19400. – phoog Sep 27 '16 at 6:02

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