Business visit visa to the UK

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If you are a non-EEA citizen and wish to visit the UK to engage in business- related enquiries or one-off business related activities, you can apply for permission to enter the UK as a business visitor.
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Applying for a business visitor visa

If you wish to enter the UK on a business visit visa, you must apply for a standard UK visitor visa and specify in your application (form) for a visitor visa that you intend to visit the UK for business related purposes.

Requirements of a business visitor visa

To succeed in an application for a business visit visa to the UK, you must demonstrate to the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) that you are a genuine visitor. This means that you wish to enter the UK for one of the reasons permitted under the UK visitor visa route (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules), which includes visiting the UK for business- related purposes and that you will not engage in activities that are prohibited under the visit visa rules. You must also demonstrate to the UKVI that you have an intention to leave the UK at the end of your visit and that you will not make the UK your permanent home through successive visits.

In addition, you will be required to provide ample evidence, in support of your application for a business visit visa, that you will have sufficient funds to maintain and accommodate yourself through-out the entirety of your intended visit to the UK without recourse to public funds.

Documents to provide in support of your application

You must provide documentary evidence to prove that you meet each element of the eligibility requirements of a business visit visa application such as being a genuine visitor, intending to depart the UK at the end of your visit and being able to maintain and accommodate yourself on your business visit.

There is no standard list of documents that you can provide in support of an application for a business visitor visa and the documents you provide will depend entirely on your circumstances. For example, if you own a chain of businesses in your own country and wish to visit the UK to enquire about the possibility of opening a branch of the same business in the UK, you may want to provide evidence of your ownership of your businesses in your home country. This will act as both evidence of your intention to leave the UK at the end of your stated visit and as evidence of your being a genuine business visitor. On the other hand, if you wish to visit the UK to enquire about the possibility of setting up a business in the UK without prior ownership of a business in your home country, it may be advisable to provide a detailed letter explaining why you think the UK may be a good place to set up a business. You may also refer to the Home Office website (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/549692/Visitor_Supporting_Documents_Guide_-_English_version.pdf) for detailed guidance as to the documents you need to provide in support of your application for business visit visas.

Permitted activities in the UK as a business visitor

  • Attending meetings, conferences and seminars; 
  • Attending trade fairs so long at the Visitor is not taking part in direct selling;
  • Obtaining information for their overseas business;
  • Attending site inspections;
  • Negotiating and signing contracts;
  • Transiting through the UK;
  • You can convert your civil partnership into marriage;
  • You can study for up to 30 days so long that is not the main purpose of your visit;

 Business activities for specific sectors

 The Immigration Rules specifically state activities business visitors can undertake within particular sectors.  For example:

Legal  –           An expert witness can come to the  UK to give evidence to a UK court;

An Overseas lawyer can advise a UK client on an international transaction.

Religious –     Religious Workers can visit the UK to carry out pastoral activities and preach;

Creative  –      An entertainer, musician or artist can give performances, take part in auditions or competitions or make personal appearances.

Prohibited  activities in the  UK as a business visitor

  • You cannot claim public funds;
  • You cannot use the visitor rules to stay for extended periods of time in the UK;
  • You cannot undertake paid employment or unpaid employment;

The Home Office will wish to satisfy itself that the main purpose of the visit to undertake business- related activities.  If a conference is more than around two weeks the Home Office may well raise a question about if the main purpose of the visit is study rather than undertake business. 

The Home Office’s detailed guidance about permitted activities is set out in: appendices 3, 4 and 5 of appendix V: visitor rules

 

By Amarjit Ahluwalia, Consultant Solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors and Jahed Morad at Gulbekian Andonian Solicitors

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