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A Guide to the UK Business Visit Visa

The Business Visit Visa is for individuals who wish to visit the UK to undertake business activities on a short term basis. The Business Visit visa is a form of Standard Visitor visa. Before coming to the UK to carry out business activities as a visitor, you may wish to check what activities are permitted and what activities are prohibited. This post explains the requirements for a UK Business Visa visa, the application process for a Business Visit Visa and the activities that are permitted when travelling to the UK as a Business Visitor.  

When Do Business Travellers Need a UK Business Visit Visa?

If you are a national from one of the countries listed here, you will need to apply for a Business Visit visa before travelling to the UK, although there are exceptions to this list. 

For non-visa nationals, the Government has introduced an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme as a form of digital permission. An ETA costs £10.00 and permits multiple journeys and is valid for two years or until the passport holder’s passport expires, whichever is sooner. It is noted that nationals of Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates need an ETA to travel to the UK now. 

What Are the Requirements for a Business Visitor Visa?

To be eligible for a UK Business Visit Visa, you must show that you intend to leave at the end of your visit and have no intention to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits. The Home Office may consider your previous immigration history, your family and economic ties. In our previous post, UK Visit Visa: How to Prove That You Are a ‘Genuine Visitor’, we explored the type of documents that might assist in proving that you are a genuine visitor.

You must satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that you will not undertake any prohibited activities. You must meet the suitability criteria as well as demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs, including accommodation costs, without accessing public funds.  

UK Business Visit Visa Application Process

To apply for a Business Visit Visa, an individual must use the correct application form and pay the relevant fee (the application fee has now been increased to £115 for a 6 month standard visitor visa). Long term Visit Visas are also available and more information is available here. The earliest you can apply is three months before you travel. 

You will need to submit your passport or travel document to prove your identity and nationality. The processing time is usually three weeks from the date of your biometric appointment. 

UK Business Visit Visa Permitted Activities

There are different permissible business activities and you may wish to seek legal advice to ensure that you have the correct supporting documents and that you will not be carrying out prohibited activities.

General Business Activities

In accordance with the Immigration Rules, the general business activities permitted include:

(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and

(b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser; and

(c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts; and

(d) attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the Visitor is not directly selling; and

(e) carry out site visits and inspections; and

(f) gather information for their employment overseas; and

(g) be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK; and

(h) undertake activities relating to their employment overseas remotely from within the UK, providing this is not the primary purpose of their visit.

Intra-corporate Activities

An employee from an overseas company may share knowledge or provide training when engaged on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group. The business visitors may work directly with clients but this must be incidental to their employment abroad and the activities are required for delivery of a project delivered by the UK branch.  

Manufacture and Supply of Goods to the UK

An employee of an overseas based company may come to the UK to install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on machinery, equipment, computer software or hardware (or train UK based workers to provide these services) where there is a contract of purchase, supply or ease with a UK company or organisation. The overseas company must either be the manufacturer or supplier or is part of a contractual agreement 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. 

Clients of UK Export Companies

Where there is a contract between a UK company and an overseas company (they are not part of the same group), a client of a UK export company may be seconded to the UK to oversee the requirements for goods and services that are being provided under contract by the UK company or its subsidiary company. 

Overseas Roles Requiring Specific Activities in the UK

There are some roles which allow the individuals to visit the UK to take part in activities which relate to employment overseas. Some of these activities include:

  • Translators or interpreters who are employed overseas;
  • Personal assistants and bodyguards supporting an overseas business person and they are attending the same event and are employed by them abroad;
  • a journalist, correspondent, producer or cameraman gathering information for an overseas publication, programme or film; 

Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa

If you are aged 18 or over and wish to come to the UK to undertake a paid engagement that is relevant to your expertise, qualifications and your main occupation is in your home country, you may wish to consider the Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa.

In addition to the above mentioned requirements, the additional requirements for the Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa are: 

  • You have a written invitation from a UK based organisation; 
  • The event or engagement has been pre-arranged;
  • Engagement is declared as part of your entry clearance application or permission to enter the UK;
  • The event or engagement is directly linked to your full-time profession overseas;
  • You have evidence of your expertise and employment, for example, any awards received and media coverage for an artist or musician;
  • You intend to complete the permitted paid engagement within 30 days of your entry to the UK;

You will be allowed to receive a payment for your engagement which is directly linked to your profession. 

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to a Business Visit Visa application, contact our  immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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