Business Visitor Visa UK Requirements and Guidance 2021

Visitors are allowed to do certain business related permitted activities in the UK such as attending conferences or meetings, intra-corporate activities, visiting company’s offices or client sites, work-related training, PLAB Test or OSCE etc. If a person applies for standard visitor visa to do permitted business or work related activities in the UK, then it is commonly known as business visitor visa UK. Therefore, to get business visitor visa applicants need to prove that they have ample funds for the trip and will leave UK at the end of the visit. However, invitation letter or documents relating to permitted business activity is crucial to justify the purpose of visiting the UK. Accordingly, applicants need to provide the supporting documents required for business visitor visa application.

Please note visitors can receive certain types of payments in the UK. Although, visitors can attend trade fairs and promote work but cannot directly sell goods and services. Nevertheless, visitors can attend interviews and gather information for overseas employment.

Get in TouchStudy Abroad

UK Business Visitor Visa Application Requirements

To get business visitor visa, applicants need to have invitation letter from the UK sponsor and the ability to meet the trip cost without recourse to public funds. However, coming to UK for permitted business activity should be incidental to applicant’s employment, work, or business in the home country and should not be their main work. Therefore, for successful business visitor visa application, applicants need to clarify that they are not coming to the UK for undertaking work. Moreover, the leave of absence from the applicant’s work or business in home country should be credible and congruent to the activities in the UK.

Invitation Letter for Business Visitor Visa UK

To apply for business visitor visa, applicant need to have Invitation Letter from the UK business (or sponsor). However, applicants need to establish the work or business relationship with the UK business or sponsor.

If applicants do not have Invitation Letter, then need documentary evidence for the permitted business activity in the UK. For instance, medical professionals coming to UK for PLAB Test need to have confirmation from GMC. However, online free registrations to attend trade fairs (or exhibitions) in the UK are not suitable alternatives of invitation letter, especially if there is no obvious link between the trade fair and applicant’s employment, work, or business in the home country.

Ability to Meet the Trip Cost

For meeting the UK business visitor visa requirements, an applicant also needs to provide evidence (such as income, business, employment, family) to prove that they have:

  1. ample funds (own and/or sponsor’s) for the trip without recourse to public funds in the UK
  2. family, commercial, and social ties to the home country so they intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit
  3. a return ticket or the funds to bear the costs of return (or onward) journey

Applicant can meet the trip cost from their own resources. However, usually applicant’s business, employer (in the home country), or UK sponsor provides the return ticket for their journey, and the accommodation (hotel), and maintenance in the UK. If both the employer and sponsor are sharing the cost of the trip, then letter from employer and Invitation Letter must clearly mention it. For instance, if the sponsor is providing accommodation in the UK, then this need to be stated in the invitation letter for business visitor visa UK.

Arrangements in the Home Country

Visitors can stay connected with their office, employer, or business in the home country. Therefore, it is expedient to have adequate pre-arrangements for business or work in the home country.

YouTube video
UK Business Visitor Visa Requirements

Enquiry Form

    DOCUMENT Optional (Max Size 2MB)

    *What happens next?

    Multilingual qualified London based immigration specialists will get back to you, usually within 2-3 working days. If you have not attached any documents, then the UK based Law firm may ask for the relevant Case-Specific Document(s) such as Refusal Letters, Deportation Orders, Application Forms etc. Moreover, after reviewing the papers and information, the legal advisor may advise a course of action and quote the fees for processing the application.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Long Term Business Visitor Visa UK Requirements

    Applicants can apply for long term 2, 5 and 10 years applications for frequent and regular business visits to the UK. However, to get long term business visa, applicants need to demonstrate that they have credible ongoing reason of visiting the UK such as:

    • attending professional conferences or events regularly at fixed intervals
    • frequent and regular intra-corporate activities in the UK
    • visiting company’s offices or client sites on regular basis

    If one has a valid long term visitor visa (for meeting family or sightseeing) then they can travel to the UK for permitted business activity.

    Multiple or Single Entry Business Visitor Visa UK

    The business visitor visa is usually C-Type multiple entry unless it is endorsed as single or dual entry visa. The holder of C-Type multiple entry business visitor visa can enter the UK on more than one occasion during the validity period (6 months, 2, 5, or 10 years) and can stay up to 180 days per visit. Frequent and long stays in the UK may lead to business visitor visa cancellation (at the airport).

    Single Entry Business Visit Visa UK

    If the visa vignette is issued for Single Entry, then the visitor can only visit one time during the validity of the business visa UK. The single entry visa is mostly issued for 180 days or less (i.e. 15, 30, 60 or 90 days).

    UK Business Visitor Visa Fees and Processing Time 2022

    From April 6, 2022, the business visitor visa UK fees for 6 months, 2, 5, and 10 years are £100, £376, £670, and £837, respectively. The maximum duration of stay in the UK on business visitor visa is 180 days per visit.

    UKVI’s service standards for UK business visitor visa processing time after biometrics is 3-weeks. Since March 2022 UKVI is prioritizing Ukraine Scheme. Therefore, at present the processing time for business visit visa UK is 6-weeks. UKVI is trying to get back to the 3-weeks service standard.

    Cost of Priority Business Visitor Visa UK

    The cost of 5-working days priority service is £250. Therefore, 6 months, 2, 5 and 10 years priority business visitor visa UK application fees are £350, £626, £920, and £1,087, respectively.

    Premium or Super Priority Business Visitor Visa UK Price

    The cost of next working super priority service is £956. Therefore, 6 months, 2, 5 and 10 years priority business visitor visa UK application fees are £1,056, £1,332, £1,626, and £1,793, respectively.

    Permitted Activities on Business Visitor Visa UK

    Business visitors can do several permitted activities in the UK such as attending conferences or events, intra-corporate activities, visiting company’s offices or client sites etc. However, business activity in the UK should be incidental to applicant’s employment, work, or business in the home country. Therefore, applicants need to clarify that they are not coming to the UK for undertaking work. Moreover, their leave of absence from work or business in home country should be credible and congruent to the activities in the UK.

    General Business Permitted Activities for Visitors in the UK

    Applicants can apply visitor visa for doing the following permitted general business activities in the UK:

    • attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and
    • 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
    • negotiate and sign deals and contracts; and
    • attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the Visitor is not directly selling; and
    • carry out site visits and inspections; and
    • gather information for their employment overseas; and
    • be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.

    Applying Business Visitor Visa to Attend Conference in the UK

    Applicants can apply for business visitor visa for attending seminars or conferences in the UK. Seminars and conferences are focus events led by formal speaker(s) and may last for 2-5 working days. There are no restrictions on the duration of conference. If a conference is longer than a couple of weeks, then applicants need to satisfy that the activity does not amount to a course of study.

    Conferences and seminars may include familiarisation programmes for learning best practices in law, finance, medicine, science, technology, trade, etc. If familiarisation programme includes work experience or long-term study, then these are not permitted business activity for visitors.

    Visiting Company’s Offices or Client Sites

    These activities relate to engagements in company’s offices in the UK and not at a customer’s site. However, a visiting employee can conduct meetings at a client’s site.

    Intra-Corporate Activities on Business Visitor Visa UK

    To apply for business visitor visa for intra-corporate activities in the UK is quite frequent and usual.

    The intra-corporate activities are usually for a brief period and linked to an identifiable project. However, such activities must not involve directly working for a British company’s clients or a commercial project.

    If applicants are coming to UK for intra-corporate activities, then must satisfy that they will not take paid work. For instance, intra-company transferee needs to apply for Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Worker, or Graduate Trainee) visa instead of business visitor visa UK. If the entry clearance officer (ECO) doubts the nature of intra-corporate activity, then will refuse the application.

    Internal Audits and Inspections on Business Visitor Visa UK

    In fact, there are no restrictions on the regulatory audits or inspections. However, these need to be internal to a group of companies, inclusive of a company’s branches and its subsidiaries. The ECO can easily verify such information from the website or annual report that businesses belong to one group.

    Prospective Entrepreneurs

    A prospective entrepreneur can participate in the meetings and discussions to obtain funding for establishing a business. And after securing the funding, the visitor can switch to innovator visa route.

    Manufacturing and Supply of Goods

    These visitors are usually not expected to stay for more than one month in the UK, for carrying out manufacturing and supply of goods related activities, as are employment overseas. However, if applicant intends to stay longer one month, then they need to satisfy the UK business visitor visa requirements relating to the nature of activities. And that they not filling a role in the company. Although, activities longer than one month do not lead to an automatic ground for refusal; however, the ECO may raise questions about the intentions.

    Clients of UK Export Companies

    If an applicant is applying for business visitor visa as a client of UK export company, then the supporting documents should include a contract of service between the two companies. Under such contracts, the UK company has a duty to provide goods or services to an overseas company. However, the two companies should be separate legal entities and not part of a same corporate group. For instance, a UK company contracted to provide defence services to an Indian company. And both these companies are not part of the same group. Accordingly, the employees of the foreign business can oversee work and ensure the delivery under the mutual contract.

    If the contract of service is for more than six (6) months, then repeat and frequent visits are a possibility. However, this requires a definite end date for the work. And an applicant must satisfy the UK business visa requirement that they will continue to remain employed in their home country.

    Science, Research and Academia

    Researchers, Scientists, and members of Academia are required to satisfy that they would remain paid and employed overseas during their visit to the UK. And are visiting only for carrying out activities that are incidental to their job/work abroad. For instance, providing advice on a project, or sharing knowledge on a research topic. In case an applicant intends to do research then may consider applying for a Tier 2 or 5 visa. Eminent senior doctors or dentists should be working for many years in their chosen profession. And can participate in research, clinical practice, or teaching. However, such activities should be only incidental to their employment/professional. Therefore, an applicant must satisfy the UK business visa requirement that they will continue to remain employed in their home country.

    Academics applying for a Business Visitor Visa UK

    An academic can undertake research for their own purposes such as for a book or for employment overseas. However, the research work should not be for commercial gain. Therefore, academics applying for 12 months visa, or an extension, should be highly qualified within their field of expertise. And in their area of specialisation before entering the UK. Scholars applying for twelve months visit visa are highly skilled. Applicants may include individuals holding a PhD in their field of expertise. This may include several years of experience with a prominent university or educational institute. Those academics who intend to visit the UK for less than six months are not required to meet the additional requirements of Paragraph V 4.22 of the Immigration Rules.

    an academic seeking a 12 month visit visa, they must also meet the additional requirements at V 4.22

    Appendix V

    Legal Activities

    If an applicant is summoned for attending a court hearing in the UK, then needs to provide evidence to confirm the reason necessitating their attendance at a hearing.

    Religious Activities

    Religious workers are allowed to undertake pastoral duties that may include one-off engagements such as conducting funeral or wedding ceremonies. However, for these one-off engagements, they are not allowed to receive payments. However, a visitor cannot take an appointment, office, or post in the UK. Therefore, an applicant must satisfy the UK business visa requirement that they will continue to remain employed in their home country.

    Creative Activities

    A visiting amateur or professional artist can undertake activities relating to literature, visual arts, performing arts, culinary arts, etc. Therefore, creative professions such as writers, poets, film crew, photographers, artists, musicians, designers can visit to undertake a creative activity. Moreover, entertainers can visit for performing arts as dancers, comedians, members of circus acts or members of the film crew.

    In fact, personal or technical staff attending the same event can accompany the artist, musician, or entertainer. However, personal/technical staff should remain employed overseas. Examples of personal/technical staff may include choreographers, conductors, press officers, stage managers, make-up artists, personal bodyguards etc.

    Sports Activities

    In case an applicant is employed as a professional sportsperson by a UK based team then the application is likely to be refused. Such applicants might consider applying for Tier-2 or 5 work visas. Nevertheless, sportspersons can participate in tournaments or events in the UK. However, participation in a professional domestic championship or league is classified as employment- whether paid or not. And if one or more than one fixtures, or rounds takes place outside the UK.

    Technical or Support Staff

    Technical or support staff for sportspersons should attend the same event. And must satisfy the UK business visa requirement that they will continue to remain employed in the home country. Technical and support staff may include physiotherapists, coaches, bodyguards, dieticians, press officers etc. Moreover, polo grooms are only allowed when they are accompanying a polo player. And are not intending to base themselves in the United Kingdom for a sporting season or to take up employment in the stables

    Sports Officials

    Sports officials are not required to be employed by sports persons to work for them overseas. Sports officials include umpires, referees, lines people. They must be attending the same event as that of the sportsperson and support their activities during the event.

    Overseas Roles Requiring Specific Activities in the UK

    It is possible for certain types of visitors to carry out work in the UK, if they satisfy the UK business visa requirement that they will continue to remain employed in their home country. For instance, a driver on an international route or an interpreter accompanying another visitor. However, such a visitor should continue to remain employed and paid overseas. Moreover, personal assistants and bodyguards who assist an overseas businessperson should not to any domestic work or provide personal care to the visitor. If they intend to do so, then needs to apply for Overseas Domestic Worker visa.

    Work-related Training

    A visitor can participate in training relating to work techniques and practices that are not available in the home country. Typically, the training should be classroom-based and may involve observation or familiarisation. Moreover, a visitor can also participate in practical training. However, visitor cannot participate in on job training (OJT) or a training meant to fill a job role. Nevertheless, a training may include learning the use of equipment. Accordingly, an applicant needs to clarify the duration of the practical training. And the possibility/probability of the visitor to start working for the company. Moreover, if the training is available in the home country, then an applicant must explain the need for training.

    Usually, a visitor can participate in a training for less than a month. However, if a visitor intends to stay longer than that they need to clarify the work arrangements in the home country. And the training does not amount to taking employment in the UK.

    PLAB and OSCE

    In case an applicant intends to do the PLAB test that this does not include study in the UK. And must not count towards the permitted duration of the study. The applicant needs to provide confirmation of the PLAB Test or OSCE from GMC or NMC. In fact, after successfully passing the PLAB test an applicant can only do an unpaid clinical attachment.

    UK Business Visitor Visa Supporting Documents Requirements

    It is mandatory to provide the travel document such as a valid passport. And translation of documents, which are not in English/Welsh. Moreover, to meet the UK business visitor visa requirements an applicant needs to provide documents relating to family, assets, income, bank balance, social ties etc.

    UK Business Visitor Visa Supporting Documents Checklist

    A tentative checklist of UK business visitor visa supporting documents may include:

    1. Valid passport or travel document with at-least 1 blank page on both sides for affixing the visa vignette
    2. Previous passports, if available
    3. Translation of documents, which are not in English/Welsh
    4. If applicable, proof of immigration status in the country of residence. For instance, if an Indian Citizen applying from Dubai, then needs to provide permanent residence card or vignette
    5. Invitation Letter or any other evidence for specifying the purpose of the visit
    6. If the sponsor is contributing towards the trip cost, then may include accommodation and maintenance details
    7. Evidence of Employment or Self Employment
    8. Personal Bank Statements usually for the preceding six months
    9. Proof of financial savings
    10. Evidence of Family Members Remaining in Home Country such as Marriage Certificate, Family Registration form etc.
    11. Proof of Ties to the Home Country such as ownership of immovable property

    Salaried Employment Evidence

    A full time employed applicant needs to provide an employment letter. Moreover, the letter from employer indicates approval of the leave for the specified period. And the employment letter may preferably include details of employment such as duration, position, salary etc. The letter may also indicate when the person resumes work. And the work arrangements during the period of leave. It is a good practice to supplement an employment letter with Pay Slips, Tax Returns, bank statements.

    Self-Employment Evidence

    Self-employed applicants need to include the evidence of

    • business activities
    • business bank statements
    • tax returns
    • registration with business chambers and trade bodies
    • registration with commercial and industrial departments of the local and national governments etc.

    For further details please refer to UK visa supporting documents.