UK Business Visa: Updated 2021 Guidelines and How-To Guide.
If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and wish to engage in business activities in the UK, a short-term UK business visa could be right for you. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months, and there are different types to suit various work and business needs. Below, we’ll dive into what activities are permitted under this visa category.
When Is the Right Time to Apply for a UK Business Visa?
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of who should consider applying for a short-term UK business visa, along with the activities that the visa allows.
Employees, Business Owners, and Entrepreneurs Who Want To:
- Attend meetings, seminars, or interviews
- Deliver speeches, as long as they aren’t for profit
- Negotiate and finalize deals
- Visit trade fairs without direct selling
- Conduct site visits
- Explore potential job opportunities
- Meet with UK clients for projects that will be completed outside the UK
- Engage in internal company activities like consultations, training, or problem-solving
- Conduct internal audits for a UK branch of their home country organization
- Explore business investment opportunities in the UK
- Install or repair equipment for a UK business linked to a foreign company
- Inspect quality of goods for an export company based in the UK
Researchers, Scientists, and Academics.
- Gather information on global projects in the UK
- Participate in exchange programs with UK peers
- Undertake research while on sabbatical leave from their home country employer.
Medical Pros, Educators, Witnesses, and Lawyers.
- Conduct research, teaching, or practice temporarily
- Provide evidence in a UK court
- Offer legal advice to UK clients
- Perform religious activities
- Teach or accompany students on a UK study program temporarily.
Artists, Media Staff, and Performers.
- Perform, audition, or participate in cultural events
- Work as part of a production or technical team
- Serve as a translator or interpreter
- Fulfill journalistic activities according to Gov.UK guidelines.
Unpaid Activities and Training.
- Take unpaid clinical or dental roles for learning purposes
- Sit for professional exams like PLAB or OSCE
- Get training from a UK-based company if unavailable in the home country
- Provide training to UK-based employees, if employed by a foreign company.
Step 1: Assess Your Eligibility
Based on your home country and purpose of the visit, check if you need a visa.
Step 2: Complete the Online Form
Begin the application online, filling it out in your chosen language. Make sure you can reach a biometric center in your country. Keep all required documents at hand.
Note: Changing the country of application is not possible after submission.
Step 3: Schedule and Attend a Biometric Appointment
Print your completed form and book an appointment for biometric data collection. Bring all supporting documents, both original and photocopies.
Step 4: Receive Your Visa
You’ll get a letter outlining the outcome of your application. Successful applicants will find a vignette or sticker in their passport.
Business Visa Validity and Processing Time.
A typical business visa is valid for up to 6 months. Longer visits might require a long-term visa for up to 2, 5, or 10 years. Academics have additional options. It generally takes about three weeks to process your application, so plan to apply at least three months before your trip. The standard cost of this visa is £95.
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