- What do I need to know about the UK Business Visitor Visa?
- What can I do in the UK with a Business Visitor Visa?
- What can I do if I want to start a Business in the UK?
- What can I do if I need to visit the UK regularly for short periods?
- What is the cost of a UK Business Visitor Visa?
- Which documents do I need to provide in the Business Visitor Visa application?
- What is the processing time for a Business Visitor Visa?
- Frequently asked questions
What is the Business Visitor Visa?
The Business Visitor Visa is a visa for those who wish to enter the UK for a short period of time, primarily for business purposes. Typically, you can stay in the UK for up to six months with a Business Visitor Visa.
Technically, the Business Visitor Visa is actually a form of a Standard Visitor Visa, rather than a standalone visa. The Standard Visitor Visa replaced the Business Visitor Visa in 2015.
The Business Visitor Visa enables you to perform specific business-related activities in the UK. This is also the visa to apply for if you wish to undertake academic work in the UK.
What do I Need to Know About the UK Business Visa?
Before beginning a Business Visitor Visa application, it is important to establish whether you are eligible for the visa.
- Have proof that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- Be able to show that you have the financial means to support yourself during your time in the UK
- Be able to show that you can pay for your return/onward journey (if arrangements haven’t already been made)
- Be able to show the details of your business-related activities in the UK
It is very important to note that you cannot do any paid or unpaid work when you are in the UK under a Business Visitor Visa.
Also, you cannot receive any public funds whilst in the UK under a Business Visitor Visa. This means that you are not entitled to access any benefits, grants or bursaries.
Bear in mind that if you are being paid to visit as an expert in your profession by a UK company, you need to apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa rather than the Business Visitor Visa.
This visa is also separate from the Student Visitor Visa which is designed for the purposes of short-term study in the UK.
What Can I do in the UK with a Business Visitor Visa?
If you are granted a Business Visitor Visa, you are only entitled to do certain business-related activities.
As a Business Visitor Visa holder, you are permitted to:
- Attend business appointments including conferences, meetings, seminars, a form of training or interviews
- Negotiate and sign business deals or contracts
- Check international goods and services. (If you are checking the goods and services on behalf of an overseas employer, company or international business)
- Carry out site visits and inspections
- Attend trade affairs for promotional purposes for your business
- Conduct research and gather information for your overseas business
- Look for funding to start, join, run or take over a business in the UK. (You cannot perform any actual standard business duties under this visa)
- Liaise with UK-based customers to establish customer requirements or needs
- Perform a one-off or short series of talks and speeches
- To undertake academic research or accompany international students on a study abroad programme
- Take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
What Can I do if I Want to Start a Business in the UK?
With the Business Visitor Visa, you are permitted to look for funding in the UK to start, join, run or take over a UK business. However, you cannot perform any standard business duties (or be paid for any business activity you do).
If you wish to start a business in the UK and you are an experienced businessperson, you will need to apply for a Tier 1 Innovator Visa. You can apply for a Start-up Visa if you want to set up a business in the UK as a first-time business owner.
Both of these visas offer longer stays in the UK, usually for up to three years. There are a number of requirements which applicants need to fulfil in order to be considered for one of these entrepreneur visas.
One of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham can provide you with full guidance on what you need to know about the Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to speak with one of our client care team.
Can I Stay in the UK for Longer Than Six Months?
In most circumstances, will not be able to stay any longer than six months in the UK under a Business Visitor Visa.
If you are in the UK for academic purposes, under certain conditions, you can stay in the UK for up to twelve months with a Business Visitor Visa.
These conditions are as follows:
- Must prove you’re highly qualified within your field of expertise
- On sabbatical leave from your home institution
- Will be either taking part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart, carrying out your own research or taking part in somebody else’s research, teaching or clinical practice
If you stay in the UK for longer than six months, you will need to have your biometric information taken at a cost of £19.20. You’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints as well as a photo.
What Can I do if I Need to Visit the UK Regularly for Short Periods?
If you need to visit the UK regularly for short periods of time, you can apply for what is known as the long-term Standard Visitor visa.
You can apply for a long-term Business Visitor Visa which lasts for 2, 5 or 10 years. You will be able to stay for a maximum of six months with each visit.
What is the Cost of a UK Business Visitor Visa?
The cost of the Business Visitor Visa varies depending on the type you apply for.
- Standard Business Visitor Visa: £95
- 12-month Business Visa as academic: £190
- Business Visitor Visa (2 years): £361
- Business Visitor Visa (5 years): £655
- Business Visitor Visa (10 years): £822
Which Documents do I Need to Provide in the Business Visitor Visa Application?
A key part of the application process is the preparation and submission of a portfolio of documents to prove your eligibility for the Business Visitor Visa.
The specific documents which you need to submit will differ somewhat depending on your circumstances.
In all Business Visitor Visa applications, the following information will need to be provided:
- Passport or other travel-related document
- Travel documents which show the dates of your visit to the UK
- Details of your travel history over the previous ten years, and any immigration record
- Confirmation of legal residence if applying from a country which you are not a national of
- Details of the overseas employer or company which you are associated with
- Details of the business-related activities which you will be doing in the UK, including any letters from inviting organisations
- An estimate of the cost of your trip and proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and any dependents during your time in the UK. This can be proved through bank statements, a letter from your employer confirming income and proof of employment
- Details of where you will be staying in the UK
- Current overseas contact and address details
Any documents which are not in English or Welsh must be translated by an accredited translator. Both the original and translated documents must be provided.
What is the Processing Time for a Business Visitor Visa?
The standard processing time for a Business Visitor Visa is three weeks.
You can apply for the visa at any time from three months to 48 hours before you plan to enter the UK. We recommend that you complete your application well in advance of the date you wish to enter the UK.
If UK immigration officials have any concerns with your application, it is likely that the application process will be delayed. In mind of this, it is extremely important to ensure that your portfolio of documents proves your eligibility for the visa, and the application is completed in accordance with Home Office administrative standards.
If you need to complete your application as quickly as possible, there are the options of using either the priority service or the super priority service.
With the priority service, your application will be completed within five working days. This service costs an additional £500.
The super priority service is for those who want their application completed as quickly as possible. With this service, your application will be processed within one working day, costing an additional £800.
How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help me?
We understand that completing visa applications can be a difficult and arduous task. This is why we have created the industry-leading application package, which is designed to assist you through the whole application process.
With the application package, one of our expert immigration lawyers in Birmingham will work with you to formulate an application of the highest standards to submit to the Home Office. They will inform you of the application’s progress through the processing stage and liaise with the Home Office throughout the process.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out more about our application package.
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It might not be clear which visa to apply for if you won’t be working in the UK in a traditional sense, but will still be paid to visit the UK by a UK company.
In this situation, you will need to apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa rather than the Business Visitor Visa.
If you wish to visit the UK to invest a large sum of money, the optimal route towards entering the country is through the Investor Visa.
This is an exclusive visa which requires the applicant to have at least £2,000,000 to invest in a UK business. It is a visa with highly favourable terms, including, in some cases, the ability to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status after just three years of residency in the country.
You can apply to extend the Business Visitor Visa if your time in the UK has not exceeded six months. For instance, if your visa expires after four months, you can apply for an extension for a further two months.
If you are visiting the UK as an academic, you could be eligible to stay in the UK for up to 12 months on a Business Visitor Visa.
There is also the option to apply for a long-term Business Visitor Visa if you need to visit the UK regularly over a period of time. This visa can last for 2, 5 or 10 years. You will be able to stay for a maximum of six months on each visit.