The Business Visit Visa is for individuals who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of carrying out a permitted short-term unpaid business activity.
The Business Visit Visa is a sub-category of the Standard Visitor route, which is a route for persons who wish to visit the UK for a temporary period of up to 6 months.
The route does not lead to settlement in the UK and all visitors must make a separate application, even when travelling as part of a group.
In order to qualify for a Business Visit Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
A visa national is someone who, by reason of their nationality, requires a Visit Visa in order to enter the UK as a Visitor. Visa nationals must generally apply for a Visit Visa before travelling to the UK.
The Home Office has published a list of nationalities that are required to apply for a Visit Visa prior to travelling to the UK as a Visitor. The list includes a number of exceptions, which allow certain visa nationals to seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.
A non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK. A non-visa national must still satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor and so, on arrival, should be prepared to explain, for example, the purpose of their visit and how they will be maintained and accommodated in the UK, as well as their return travel arrangements.
EU citizens are non-visa nationals and can seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK without needing to apply for a Visit Visa.
As well as preparing Visit Visa applications for visa nationals, our barristers regularly assist non-visa nationals to satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.
In order to qualify for a Business Visit Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that you are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes and will not undertake any prohibited activities.
The Home Office will normally expect your business activities to be linked to your employment outside the UK in some way. In all cases the duration of your business activities must be less than 6 months and prearranged where possible.
Business Visit Visa holders may undertake a wide range of permitted activities in the UK:
Business Visit Visa holders may undertake the following general business activities:
The Home Office will assess whether the period of leave requested is credible in view of the activities that you are seeking to take part in during your visit.
Provided no work is carried out directly with clients, employees of overseas based companies engaged on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group may apply for a Business Visit Visa in order to:
Internal auditors may carry out regulatory or financial audits at a UK branch of the same group of companies as the Business Visitor’s employer overseas.
Intra-corporate activities should be of a short duration, linked to a specific project and not involve you directly working with or for clients. The Home Office will expect you to be mainly based at your company’s offices in the UK and not at client sites unless it is for meetings.
If you are an employee of an overseas company you may install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on machinery, equipment, computer software or hardware (or train UK based workers to provide these services) where there is a contract of purchase, supply or lease with a UK company or organisation. The overseas company must either be the manufacturer or supplier or be part of a contractual arrangement for after sales services agreed at the time of the sale or lease, including in a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale or lease.
The Home Office may wish to see evidence of the contract between the overseas and UK based company, which should specify the arrangements in place for the after sales service.
The Home Office will usually expect such visitors to stay in the UK for less than one month to carry out their activity because they will be in employment overseas.
If you are a client of a UK export company you may be seconded to the UK company in order to oversee the requirements for goods and services that are being provided under contract by the UK company or its subsidiary company, provided the two companies are not part of the same group.
The Home Office will expect to see a contract of service between the 2 companies for the UK company to provide goods or services to the overseas company.
If you are employed outside the UK you may visit the UK to take part in the following activities in relation to your employment overseas:
If you are driver on a genuine international route between the UK and a country outside the UK and you are either employed or contracted to an operator registered in a country outside the UK or are a self-employed operator and driver based outside the UK then you may deliver or collect goods or passengers from a country outside the UK to the UK and undertake cabotage operations. The operator must hold an International Operators Licence or be operating on an own account basis.
In addition to satisfying the Home Office that you are genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a permitted purpose, as part of your application for a Business Visit Visa you will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit and will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home.
In assessing your application, the Home Office will consider a range of factors including:
Factors which may cause the Home Office to doubt that you are a genuine visitor include having few or no family and economic ties to your country of residence, whilst having several family members in the UK, previous attempts to deceive the Home Office in an immigration application and discrepancies between statements made by yourself and your sponsor.
You will need to have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds.
Your funds will need to be held in a permitted financial institution.
Your travel, maintenance and accommodation costs may be met by a third party if the third party has a genuine professional or personal relationship with you, they are not, and will not be, in breach of immigration laws and they can support you throughout the duration of your stay as a Visitor.
Business Visit Visa applicants do not need to satisfy an English language requirement.
If you wish to enter the UK for the purpose of a Business Visit you may apply for a Visit Visa that is valid for either 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years.
You may enter and leave the UK multiple times during the validity period of your Visit Visa, unless your Visit Visa is endorsed for a single or dual entry.
Each visit to the UK must not exceed 6 months.
Business Visitors are not permitted to work in the UK or, with few exceptions, receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK.
This means that Business Visitors cannot take employment, establish or run a business as a self-employed person, work for an organisation or business in the UK, undertake a work placement or internship in the UK or otherwise provide or sell goods or services in the UK.
Business Visitors are permitted to undertake activities relating to their employment overseas remotely whilst they are in the UK, such as responding to emails or answering phone calls. However, the main purpose of your visit to the UK should be to undertake a permitted activity, rather than specifically to work remotely from the UK.
Business Visitors are also permitted to come to the UK to seek employment and attend job interviews. However, if successful in obtaining employment, you will be expected to leave the UK and seek the appropriate entry clearance prior to commencing work.
The Home Office application fee for a Business Visit Visa for a short stay of up to 6 months is currently £100.
If you wish to apply for a Business Visit Visa that is valid for either 2 years, 5 years or 10 years then the Home Office application fee will be £376, £670 or £837 respectively.
Our immigration barristers are experienced in assisting businesspeople from across the globe to secure visas to visit the UK for the purpose of carrying out permitted short-term business activities.
Whether you are seeking advice on the merits of applying for a Business Visit Visa, assistance with preparing a Business Visit Visa application or legal representation to challenge a decision to refuse an application for a Business Visit Visa, our immigration barristers can assist.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our client’s needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to our clients as part of a professional and friendly service.
As specialist immigration solicitors, we pride in having one of the best team of specialist immigration solicitors with wealth of knowledge and experience to deal with all types of UK visa and immigration matters. Our top rated immigration solicitors have successfully helped thousands of clients with all types of UK visa and immigration applications, immigration appeals, Administrative Review, Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) and Judicial Review.
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