What is a UK Business Visitor Visa?
The UK Business Visitor Visa allows individuals to travel to the UK to engage in permitted business activities. It is important to note that the ‘UK Business Visitor Visa’ does not actually exist, rather it is a category of the UK Standard Visitor Visa.
The UK Business Visitor Visa allows individuals to stay in the UK for up to six months. To obtain this visa, individuals must demonstrate that they meet the requirements for doing business in the UK under the Standard Visitor Visa.
Who is eligible for a Business Visitor Visa?
To be eligible to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa as a business visitor, you must be able to provide evidence that you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You are travelling to the UK to participate in permitted business activities and you will not breach the Standard Visitor Visa rules.
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit (and before your visa expires).
- You can financially support and accommodate yourself without needing to claim public funds. This includes being able to pay for your return or outbound journey.
- You will not make the UK your main home or live in the UK through frequent or successive visits.
Those who wish to engage in business activities while on the Standard Visitor Visa should be aware that they may face questioning by immigration officers upon arrival in the UK. This is to ensure that the proposed business activities do not violate the conditions of the Standard Visitor Visa.
What documents are required for a Business Visit Visa?
When applying as a UK Business Visitor, under the UK Standard Visitor Visa, you will be required to provide evidence that you are travelling to the UK to engage in permitted business activities. Examples of the information which you will be required to provide include (this is not a comprehensive list):
The dates you are planning to travel to the UK.
Details of your accommodation while in the UK.
How much you earn in a year.
In addition to the supporting documents which prove your reason for visiting the UK, to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer you will also be required to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements previously laid out.
It is important to note that the requirements for obtaining a UK Business Visitor Visa can be difficult to satisfy and will largely depend on the quality of documents and information that you provide to a visa officer. Our immigration solicitors are able to support you in your application and in turn, ensure that the prospects of success in obtaining a UK Visitor Visa are greatly increased.
Business Visitor Visa Permitted Activities
There are limited permitted activities that you can carry out whilst in the UK on a Business Visitor Visa which include:
- Attend interviews or meetings with clients, suppliers or professional advisers.
- Negotiate and sign deals and contracts.
- Carry out site visits and inspections.
- Deliver one-off or a short series of talks provided that they are not commercial events nor are they making a profit for the organiser and you are not getting paid.
- Attend trade fairs for the purpose of promoting your business but you must not directly sell your goods.
- Attend conferences.
- Gather information which will benefit your business overseas (e.g. market research).
- Advise, troubleshoot, provide training and share skills and knowledge. with your team in the UK where they are part of the same corporate group.
If you wish to engage in paid or unpaid work for a UK company then you will need a UK Work Visa.
Speak to an immigration lawyer
How long can a business visitor stay in the UK?
A UK business visitor can stay in the UK for up to 6 months in a calendar year: you must not stay in the UK for more than 180 days in a calendar year.
If you have been issued with a six-month, two-year, or even ten-year multiple entry Standard Visitor Visa then you will be able to enter and leave the UK on the same visa. However, each visit must not exceed six months (180 days).
What happens if I exceed my stay in the UK whilst on a Business Visitor Visa?
If you are visiting the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa and you exceed the 180 day rule, then this may be picked up by an immigration officer at the airport or when you make a subsequent visa application. The immigration officer will question whether you are genuinely entering the UK as a visitor or whether you are making the UK your main home or place of work. If the immigration officer suspects that you are breaching the rules of the UK Visitor Visa then your visa may be cancelled or a new visa application refused.
Can I be paid for the work I do?
No, you cannot be paid directly in the UK for the permitted business activities you carry out whilst residing in the UK on a Standard Visiting Visa.
Can I continue to be a director of a UK company whilst travelling to the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa?
Yes, you can be an overseas director of your registered UK company. However, it is important that you do not pay yourself a salary from the UK company and that you do not receive payments from your UK customers directly. Dividends and your salary must be paid to you overseas and customers must either pay the UK company directly or your overseas company: you must not receive any payments directly.
How can Paragon Law help?
Obtaining a UK Business Visitor Visa for the purposes of participating in permitted business activities in the UK can be difficult as applications will be closely examined by the UKVI. At Paragon Law, our immigration solicitors are able to assist in your application to ensure that the relevant documents and evidence is provided to significantly increase your chances of success.
UK Business Visitor Visa: FAQs
What documents do I need to provide?
To apply for a Visitor Visa as a UK business visitor, you must provide evidence that you intend to engage in permitted business activities during your stay in the UK. You will need to provide various details, which may include (though this list is not exhaustive):
- The dates of your planned travel to the UK.
- Information about your accommodation arrangements while in the UK.
- Your annual income.
Apart from the supporting documentation to substantiate your reason for visiting the UK, you must also provide evidence to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that you meet the eligibility criteria laid out previously.
It is worth noting that obtaining a UK Business Visit visa can be challenging, and the strength of your application will largely depend on the quality of documents and information you submit to the visa officer. Our immigration solicitors can provide assistance with your application and increase your chances of obtaining a UK Visitor Visa successfully.
Who can apply for a Business Visitor Visa?
To qualify for a Standard Visitor Visa as a business visitor, you must provide evidence demonstrating that you satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
Your purpose of travel is to engage in permitted business activities, and you will comply with the standard visitor visa rules.
You will depart the UK before your visa expires, at the end of your visit.
You possess sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself during your stay, without relying on public funds, and can afford the cost of your return or onward journey.
You will not use frequent or successive visits to make the UK your main home or place of residence.
It is important to note that those who intend to conduct business activities on the Visitor visa may be subject to scrutiny by immigration officers upon their arrival in the UK. This is done to ensure that the proposed activities do not violate the conditions of the Visit visa.
How long can I stay in the UK on a Business Visitor Visa?
In the UK, a Business Visitor Visa allows remain for a maximum of six months during a calendar year. It is important to adhere to this time limit and avoid staying for more than 180 days in a calendar year.
If you possess a Standard Visitor Visa that grants multiple entries for six months, two years, or ten years, you may enter and exit the UK using the same visa. Nevertheless, each visit must not surpass six months or 180 days.
How much is the application for a Business Visitor Visa?
The application fee for a UK Business Visitor Visa is currently £115.
What happens if I overstay on a UK Business Visitor Visa?
In case you overstay the 180-day limit during your visit to the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa, an immigration officer may detect this at the airport or during a future visa application. The immigration officer will inquire about your intentions for visiting the UK, and whether you genuinely intend to stay as a visitor or use the UK as your primary place of residence or employment. If the officer suspects a violation of the visitor visa regulations, your visa may be cancelled, or your new visa application may be denied.
Establishing a business in the UK
Working in the UK