What is a business visitor visa?
A UK business visitor visa is ideal for those who wish to travel to the UK from a non-EEA country to perform specific business activities. It grants permission to travel to and enter the UK for a short period of time – typically for no longer than six months.
Since this is a short-term UK visa, the business visitor visa comes under the general visitor visa category. For those looking to embark on business-related activities for longer periods of time, there are other UK business visa routes.
With a business visitor visa, it is important to note that you will not be permitted to work during your time in the UK. For paid work, you must acquire a Tier 2 work visa or for foreign nationals who would like to launch and run a business in the UK, a Tier 1 innovator visa would be the appropriate visa route.
What are the conditions of a business visitor visa?
Since all Visitor Visas do not permit the applicant to work, it is important to consider whether this route covers and allows for the activities you wish to participate in.
There are very specific limits as to what type of business activities can be carried out under a Visitor Visa.
Visitor Visa UK – permitted activities
- Conducting talks and speeches – You are able to give speeches and talks so long as these are unpaid, are not organised as commercial events and do not generate profit for the organiser. These must only be promotional in nature
- Attend appointments or business conferences – This includes the likes of meetings, seminars, interviews and undergoing training. Again, these must not be paid
- Sign business deals/negotiate contracts – You are able to agree and discuss trade agreements whilst holding a Business Visitor Visa
- Visit trade fairs for business reasons – While you are not permitted to sell or make any form of profit from attending trade fairs, you are able to visit these for business purposes
- Overseeing international goods and services – If you intend on receiving international business payments for services and trade conducted overseas, you are able to travel to the UK to check international goods prior to this
- Carry out research for business purposes – You are able to gather important information for the development or growth of your business while holding a Visitor Visa
- Inspections and site visits – If you wish to assess and evaluate an overseas site, you are permitted to do so with the Visitor Visa
- Engage with UK customers – You are able to discuss UK customer needs so long as you do not profit from this
- Academic research – If you wish to pursue academic research or to join international students on a study abroad programme, you are able to do so with a visitor visa. You cannot, however, seek employment whilst in the UK
- Sit an exam – You will be permitted to take an exam including the likes of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB). This is particularly helpful for foreign nationals who wish to work in the UK as a doctor or dentist; while the business visitor visa does not permit paid work, you are able to acquire this visa to sit the required exams in preparation for moving to the UK to work
Can I work in the UK with a business visitor visa?
No, as previously mentioned, this visa route is specifically intended for short visits to the UK and does not permit any paid work at all.
For those who would like to conduct profitable business while in the country, there are a range of business visas UK to consider.
UK immigration laws are extremely stringent when it comes to employment – the UK visitor visa route imposes many restrictions as it is only intended for those who wish to visit the UK on a short-term basis.
It is of the utmost importance that you provide detailed reasoning for your intentions when conducting business-related tasks in the UK via a business visitor visa; the Home Office will need you to provide evidence that you are able to financially support yourself throughout the duration of your stay.
Under a visitor visa, you cannot live in the UK for over six months. However, if you are a non-EEA foreign national who regularly travels to the UK for business-related activities, you may be able to apply for a long-term visitor visa instead.
You must not receive any public funds during your business visit to the UK. Your visa application must show that you are self-sufficient.
Help with submitting visitor visa applications
If you wish to apply for a visa, our immigration lawyers in Manchester are here to assist. We have extensive experience in preparing and submitting visitor visa applications and have an impressive track record of success when it comes to securing successful visa applications.
We can provide you with all the information you need to ensure you achieve the most from your visit to the UK and will outline what you can and cannot do during your stay. This allows you to rest assured that you will not breach any UK immigration law during your stay.
UK business visitor visa requirements
If you want to visit the UK for business purposes but only intend a short-stay which involves no paid work, the UK visitor visa is the ideal route for you.
However, as with all UK visas, you must meet the necessary requirements in order to qualify. Your visa application must demonstrate that you are eligible to acquire the standard visitor visa in order to conduct business activities.
Our immigration solicitors in Manchester can provide you with exceptional immigration advice and guidance to help you to successfully secure a UK visitor visa.
To meet the criteria, you must:
- Prove that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (this can be demonstrated by highlighting links and obligations in your country of residence)
- Proof of all business activities you intend to conduct during your stay
- Evidence that you have the sufficient funds to support and house both yourself and any dependents during your stay – without relying on public funds
- Evidence that you can afford travel both to and from the UK
Can I extend my business visitor visa to stay in the UK?
Unfortunately, you may not extend any standard UK visitor visa, including the business visitor visa. Short term visitor visas cannot be renewed nor can you make consistent, successive visits under this route in order to attempt to stay for longer periods.
You are limited as to how long you can stay in the UK with a visitor visa, typically a period of up to six months.
Long-term UK visitor visas
You might be able to apply for a long-term visitor visa, which would allow you to remain in the UK for longer than six months.
With a long-term visitor visa, you may be able to stay in the UK for periods of two years, five years or ten years. However, you must bear in mind that you will still be limited to maximum stays of six months each individual time you travel to the UK.
You must not remain in the UK for longer than six months even with this long-term visa.
If you would like to receive professional immigration advice on your options for visiting the UK for business purposes, and discuss which visitor visa would be best for you, please call us today on 0161 826 9783.
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Our team of highly qualified, experienced OISC-accredited immigration solicitors in Manchester are dedicated to achieving a successful visa application for our clients.
We know that navigating UK immigration law can be a challenge to say the least, with ever-shifting regulations and growing restrictions. To help combat the stress, our team can take full responsibility for any UK visa application, including a business visitor visa application.
You will be assigned an exceptional immigration caseworker who has extensive experience and knowledge, and who will prepare, complete and submit the necessary application forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
We can also offer tailored legal advice to those who would prefer to complete and submit their own applications; there is no request too big or small.
If you have already submitted your application for a UK visitor visa and have received a rejection, our immigration lawyers in Manchester can submit an appeal (if you are eligible.)
To find out how we can help you, contact us today on 0161 826 9783.
All standard Visitor Visas incur the same fees, including the UK Business Visa. This is £95 for a short-term 6-month visa.
If you’re looking to stay in the UK longer, here are costs for the long-term visit visas:
2 Year Visa – £361
5 Year Visa – £655
10 Year Visa – £822
In general terms, Business Visitor Visas and all other standard UK visitor visas allow only short-term stays of no longer than six months.
Immigration rules in the UK do not permit usage of short term visas to make frequent or successive visits to the UK.
However, once you have a business visa, you can leave and re-enter the UK as many times as you like within the six months provided by the visa. If you do need to remain in the UK for longer than six months, there are other options that will permit this.
In these cases, long-term visit visas are available for durations of two years, five years or ten years. There is an additional cost for these visas.
Note that even with these longer-term UK business visas, you are still restricted to a maximum stay of six months for each individual visit. UK immigration rules are very strict in this respect.
In the case of an academic visitor using a business visa in order to come to the UK for research, it’s possible that they may be able to stay in the UK for up to twelve months.
If you are an academic visitor from a non-EEA region such as America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America or Australia, you may be able to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). A BRP will permit you to reside in the UK for up to twelve months instead of the usual six month restriction. You will need to submit the necessary documentation to prove you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK, and you won’t have access to any public funds.
Academic visitors to the UK who opt to stay for longer than six months still need to show they are very qualified in their field or sector. They cannot engage in gainful employment, whether via paid or unpaid work. They must show that they are:
- carrying out their own research
- assisting with someone else’s research, or
- taking a temporary and unpaid teaching role in the UK