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Apply for a UK Business Visit Visa for Short Trips

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. Apply for a UK Business Visit Visa for Short Trips

You can apply for a Business Visit Visa if you wish to travel to the U.K. for up to six months at a time for unpaid business activity

The Business Visit Visa is a category of the Standard Visitor visa and aimed at people who want to visit the U.K. for short periods. This visa is not suitable for those who wish to be part of a company or operate a business in the U.K. and isn’t a substitute for the Skilled Worker visa or one obtained through self-sponsorship.

Visitors cannot use this route to settle in the U.K. and each person must fill a separate application even when travelling as part of a group.

The Business Visit Visa allows you to undertake the following activities:

  • attend interviews, meetings, conferences and seminars
  • negotiate and sign deals and contracts
  • attend trade fairs to promote your business (you cannot sell things)
  • get work-related training if you’re employed overseas and the training is not available in your home country
  • give a one-off or short series of talks as long as they’re not for profit or a commercial event - you can only be paid for speaking at certain engagements or events (a ‘permitted paid engagement’)
  • carry out site visits and inspections
  • oversee the delivery of goods and services provided by a U.K. company to your overseas company or organisation
  • deliver training or share knowledge on internal projects with U.K. employees of the company you work for overseas
  • install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on equipment, computer software and hardware, if your overseas company has a contract with a U.K. company or organisation

You cannot work for a U.K. company as a business visitor, or as a self-employed person unless you’re coming to the U.K. for a permitted paid engagement. You’ll need to apply for a work visa if you want to do any other paid or unpaid work that’s not included in the business activities outline here.

Other permitted activities as part of an overseas job role You can carry out certain additional activities in the U.K. as a Standard Visitor, if you’re employed overseas as:

  • an archaeologist
  • an artist, entertainer or musician
  • a bodyguard
  • a camera operator
  • a driver
  • an internal auditor
  • a journalist or correspondent
  • a lawyer or expert witness
  • a market researcher or analyst
  • a personal assistant
  • a pilot or cabin crew member coming to work in the U.K. under a ‘Wet Lease Agreement’ approved by the Civil Aviation Authority
  • a professor from an overseas academic institution
  • a religious worker
  • a scientist or researcher
  • a seafarer (someone whose normal place of work is on board a ship)
  • a sports person or sports official
  • a tour group courier
  • a translator or interpreter
  • a member of a film crew, including actors, producers, directors or technicians
  • a member of the production team supporting an artist, entertainer or musician
  • a member of technical staff supporting an artist, entertainer, musician or sports person

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for a visa as a Standard Visitor you must be able to show that:

  • you’ll leave the U.K. at the end of your visit
  • you’re able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
  • you’ll not live in the U.K. for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the U.K. your main home

You may need to meet extra eligibility requirements if you’re visiting the U.K. for permitted paid engagement. You can come to the U.K. for up to 6 months, but you must begin your engagement in the first month. Among the activities permitted are being invited:

  • as a qualified lawyer - to represent a client
  • to give a lecture or series of lectures
  • to speak at a conference
  • as an air pilot examiner

If you are a qualified lawyer, for instance, you can be paid by a client to represent them in the U.K. at a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of legal dispute resolution. You can also be paid to visit the U.K. to prepare for the hearing.

You must have an invitation from your client, showing you’ve been asked to represent them in the U.K. You must provide confirmation of your right of audience or ‘temporary call’. You may also need to show that you’re a qualified lawyer, such as a practising certificate or certificate of good standing.

Visa, Non-Visa Countries

The Home Office has published a list of nationalities that are required to apply for a Visit Visa prior to travelling to the U.K. The list also includes exceptions, which allow people of certain nationalities to seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the U.K.

A non-visa national can normally seek entry as a visitor on arrival in the U.K. A non-visa national must still satisfy the requirements for entry as a visitor and on arrival, should be prepared to explain, for example, the purpose of their visit, how they will pay for their stay in the U.K., as well as their return travel arrangements.

EU citizens are non-visa nationals and can seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the U.K. without needing to apply for a Visit Visa.

Corporate Activities

Employees of overseas companies engaged in a specific internal project with U.K. employees of the same group may apply for a Business Visit Visa provided they do not carry out any work directly with clients. This may be to:

  • Advise and consult;
  • Trouble-shoot;
  • Provide training;
  • Share skills and knowledge;
  • Internal auditors may carry out regulatory or financial audits at a U.K. 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 U.K. and not at client sites unless it is for meetings.

Supplying Goods to the U.K.

An employee of an overseas company may install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on machinery, equipment, computer software or hardware, or train U.K. based workers to provide these services, where there is a contract of purchase, supply or lease with a U.K. 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 U.K. 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 U.K. for less than one month to carry out their activity because they will be employed overseas.

Clients of Companies Exporting from the U.K.

If you are a client of a company exporting from the U.K. you may be seconded to the U.K. company in order to oversee the requirements for goods and services that are being provided under contract by the U.K. 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 two companies for the U.K. company to provide goods or services to the overseas company.

Intention to Leave the U.K.

In addition to satisfying the Home Office that you are seeking to enter the U.K. for a permitted purpose, you will also need to satisfy them that you will leave the U.K. at the end of your visit as part of your Business Visit Visa application. The Home Office would like to be satisfied that you will not live in the U.K. for extended periods through frequent or successive visits or make the U.K. your main home.

The Home Office will consider factors including:

  • Your previous immigration history, including visits to the U.K. and other countries
  • Your financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background
  • Your personal and economic ties to your country of residence.

The Home Office may doubt that you are a genuine visitor if you have few or no family and economic ties to your country of residence, while you have several family members in the U.K. Your application may be declined if you have made previous attempts to deceive the Home Office in an immigration application and if there are discrepancies between your and your sponsor’s statements.

Business Visit Visa Validity Period

There is no English language requirement for Business Visit Visa applicants.

A Business Visit visa is valid for either 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years. You may enter and leave the U.K. multiple times during the validity period unless your visa is endorsed for a single or dual entry. Each visit to the U.K. must not exceed 6 months. The application fee for a six-month Standard Visitor visa is £115, £400 for a two-year visa, £771 for a five-year visa and £963 for a 10-year visa.

If you have a question or would like our team's assistance with any immigration matters please get in touch through our contact form or by phone. We will be happy to provide the latest information and expert advice relevant to your specific requirements.

The brand name Visa Kings Global is used under licence by Visa Success Limited. Visa Success Limited is not a firm of solicitors and is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Visa Success Limited does not give financial, legal or tax advice.

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