If you are attending a business conference or meeting in the UK or meeting potential investors with plans of starting a business in the UK, you should apply for a business visitor visa.
You should apply for the visa months before your scheduled travel. The UK government permits business visa applications for three months in advance. It will take several weeks for the Home Office to process the visa application.
The requirements for a business visitor visa vary, depending on the particular purpose of your visit and your nationality. You might even have to follow a different process. To be sure, it is vital to check with the UK embassy or consulate in your country, so you will know what documents you need.
What a UK business visitor visa covers
A UK business visitor visa allows you to travel to the country for business and other work-related reasons for a maximum of six months in a continuous period. It is strongly advised that you seek the help of professional business immigration experts because the UK immigration rules are complicated. You should do this step before you make your travel plans.
There are several things you should understand about the business visitor visa. Depending on where you live, you may or may not need to secure a business visitor visa. You should know that there are restrictions on what work you can do and business activities you can engage in when you’re holding a business visitor visa.
Your immigration solicitor will study your situation so that you can apply for the right visa based on the business purpose. The solicitor will also explain the processes and restrictions that affect your application regarding the work and business activities you are allowed to do under a specific visa.
The difference between a business visitor visa and Tier 2 visa
A business visitor visa is more straightforward legal permission to travel to the UK for business-related purposes. It is different from a Tier 2 visa. You apply for a Tier 2 visa when you have a formal sponsorship from a business sponsor based in the UK.
Qualifying for a business visitor visa
To qualify for a UK business visitor visa, you have to satisfy the following requirements:
- You genuinely intend to leave the UK once you have carried out the activities you are allowed to do
- You do not have any intention to make the UK your residence through regular visits
- You have the right financial capability to support yourself while in the UK
- You will not receive any payment for extra activities you do while in the UK unless it is part of a ‘permitted paid engagement’
- You will not engage in prohibited activities like setting up a business or charging the locals for goods or services received
- You will only do the work that you are allowed to do under the visa
Applying for a UK business visitor visa has a corresponding application fee. You will be advised when you can submit your supporting documents at the visa office. You should be ready to provide biometric information such as digital photographs and fingerprints.
If all documents are in order and your application is filled out correctly, it will take between three to twelve weeks before your business visitor visa is approved.