Business Visitor visa
If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.
You can apply for a Business Visitor visa if:
- you want to come to the UK for a short time because of your job
- you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
Types of Business Visitor visas
There are 3 types of Business Visitor visa.
- Business Visitor visa - This visa is for people working outside the UK who are coming to the UK to carry out activities relating to their job, eg conferences, meetings and training.
- Academic visitor - This visa is for academic visitors - eg academics on sabbatical, doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme.
- Doctors and dentists - This visa is for doctors and dentists undertaking clinical attachments or clinical observer posts, or taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test.
This visa lasts for up to 6 months, or up to 1 year if you’re an academic visitor.
You can also apply for a long-term visit visa if you can prove you need to make repeat visits over a longer period. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit and your visa can last for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.
Family members of academic visitors
Family members of academic visitors can also apply to stay for 12 months. They’ll need to apply for a general visitor or child visitor visa.
You must be:
- from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
- 8 or over
- receiving your salary from abroad and able to support yourself for the duration of your trip
- not in transit to another country (except for Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands)
You must also be one of the following to be eligible for a Business Visitor visa:
- an employee on secondment to a company office in the UK that isn’t part of the same group of companies as your employer
- a business advisor or trainer
- an academic on sabbatical, doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
- a doctor or dentist undertaking clinical attachments or clinical observer posts, or taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test
- a member of an overseas film crew coming in for a location shoot
- a representative of a news media organisation not based in the UK
- a religious worker
- a guide accompanying a tour group, but only if the company is based outside the UK
- a driver delivering goods or carrying passengers
- a visiting professor
- an adviser, consultant, trainer, internal auditor or trouble shooter coming to a UK branch or a member of the same group of companies as your overseas employer
You can also apply if you’re:
- attending a pre-arranged meeting or interview, a conference or a trade fair (but not selling products or services)
- negotiating a business deal or trade agreement
- carrying out a fact-finding mission to explore potential markets or suppliers
- making a site visit
- providing certain services on behalf of a foreign manufacturer (see part 2 of the Immigration Rules if you’re unsure whether you qualify)
- speaking at a single conference that is not for profit
- getting training for techniques and practices used in the UK
If you’re applying for a long-term visit visa
You must also prove that:
- you have a frequent and ongoing need to come to the UK to do business
- the reason for your need to come to the UK is unlikely to change significantly while the visa is valid
- you plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit
Documents you must provide in support of your application
When you apply you’ll need to provide:
- evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
- details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – we advise you not to pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
In addition you will also need to provide the following documents:
- a current passport or other valid travel identification
- a passport size colour photograph
- you’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.
Extend your visa if you are already in the UK
You can apply to extend your visa as long as the total time you spend in the UK is less than 6 months - eg if you have a 3 month visa, you can apply to extend it for 3 more months. You should apply before your current visa expires. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months.
What you can and can’t do
- carry out the permitted activities related to your job as described in your visa application as long as you’re employed and paid by an overseas company
- study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit
- take other paid or unpaid work - you can only do the permitted activities described in your visa application
- live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
- get private medical treatment
- get public funds
Please note that you can’t be an academic visitor if you’re on sabbatical leave from a private research company. You should apply for a visa under Tier 2 or Tier 5.