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UK Business Visa: Types And Requirements

If you are looking to come to the UK to carry out business activities, you might need a Business Visa. There are different visas for various business purposes and lengths of stay.

To apply, you must meet the UK Business Visa requirements. If you have any questions or want to learn more about a specific type of Business Visa, call IAS at +44 (0)333 305 9375 and speak to one of our advisers.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS for Your Business Visa

    Our team of immigration lawyers are experts in providing support to those applying for a business visa. Our goal is to maximise your chances of a successful outcome and ease your business travel/immigration.

    IAS offers a comprehensive range of services, including Business Visa advice, document checking, business visa application, and concierge support.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach to maximise your chances of success. Enjoy the following benefits by opting for IAS:

    A personal immigration lawyer to provide answers to any concerns.

    Guidance through the business set-up to ensure it qualifies for the business visa.

    Reduce the risk of rejection through a high-quality application that we complete.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team of lawyers.

    Regardless of what your business immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Overview of Business Visa UK

    Business Visas permit eligible applicants to conduct business-related activity in the UK. Most visitors do not require a visa to come to the UK; however, those visitors that do, have a variety of options to choose from depending on their needs and eligibility.

    If you are a business person looking to visit the UK short-term to undertake business activity, you may be eligible to apply for a Business Visitor Visa (Standard Visitor Visa). For longer stays, you can apply for a long-term Business Visa.

    The type of Business Visa you will apply for will depend on your eligibility, the business activities you plan to carry out and the length of your stay. Before you determine the Business Visa you need, you should check if you are required to have a visa to enter the UK to carry out business-related activities.

    Nationals of Countries and Territories Who Need a Business Visa to Enter UK for Business Purposes

    You will need a Business Visa to come to the UK to conduct business activities if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

    BelarusIranSao Tome and Principe
    BeninIraqSaudi Arabia
    BhutanIvory CoastSenegal
    Bosnia and HerzegovinaJordanSierra Leone
    Burkina FasoKazakhstanSomalia
    BurundiKenyaSouth Africa
    CambodiaNorth KoreaSouth Sudan
    CameroonKosovoSri Lanka
    Cabo VerdeKuwaitSudan
    Central African RepublicKyrgyzstanSuriname
    Republic of the CongoLibyaThailand
    Democratic Republic of the CongoMadagascarDominican Republic
    El SalvadorMontenegroUkraine
    Equatorial GuineaMoroccoUnited Arab Emirates
    GambiaNorth MacedoniaZimbabwe

    If you are unsure if you need a UK Business Visa or need to know which visa is needed then call IAS at +44 (0)333 305 9375 for immediate advice.

    For your UK Business Visa needs, we offer top-tier advisory services. Get in touch with us today for expert guidance and support.

    UK Business Visa Types


    As there are different Business Visas it is important to decide whether you will come to the UK for a short or an extended visit. The purpose of your visit and whether you meet the eligibility requirements will determine which visa to apply for.

    Standard Visitor Visa (Business Visitor Visa)

    Standard Visitor Visa allows for business-related stays in the UK, hence why it is often referred to as a Short-Term UK Business Visa. A Business Visitor Visa costs £115 for a stay of up to 6 months. Holders can carry out the following business activities:

    • Attend meetings, interviews and conferences
    • Promote business in the UK at trade fairs
    • Meet clients
    • Negotiate contracts
    • Conduct site visits and inspections
    • Give talks
    • Receive or provide business training or share knowledge on specific internal projects with UK employees of your company
    • Enrol for a recreational course for up to 30 days
    • Oversee delivery of goods and services
    • Install, repair, dismantle, service or advise on business equipment, computer software or hardware if your company in your home country has a contract with a UK-based company or organisation

    What You Cannot Do With the Short-Term Business Visa?

    With the Business Visitor Visa, you cannot be paid by a UK employer for any activities conducted during your visit.  If you are offered to be paid, you may be eligible to apply for a different UK Business Visa or you will need a Work Visa.

    Requirements for the Standard Visitor Visa

    You must meet the following eligibility requirements to be able to apply for the UK Standard Visitor Visa

    • Demonstrate that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit
    • Prove that you have enough money for yourself (and your dependants, if applicable) and you won’t use public funds to support yourself during your visit
    • Show that you have enough money to pay for your return or onward journey or that your travel is being paid for by someone else

    Permitted Paid Engagement Visa

    The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Visa is for business visits lasting up to 1 month. With this visa, you can undertake paid work without the need for sponsorship.

    To apply for the PPE Visa, you must have an invitation from a UK-based organisation or client as an expert in your profession. The application cost is £115 for up to 1 month. You can apply if you are:

    • A professional artist, entertainer, musician, or a sportsperson
    • A lawyer representing a client
    • A lecturer giving a lecture or series of lectures
    • An academic working as a student examiner or assessor
    • An air pilot examiner

    Permitted Paid Engagement Visa: Eligibility Requirements

    To apply for the PPE Visa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

    • Have a formal invitation from a UK-based organisation or client to come to the UK and attend a pre-arranged event or paid work related to your qualification, expertise, or overseas profession.
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Your visit must last a maximum 1 month
    • Demonstrate you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, or someone else will support you
    • Have enough money to pay for your return or onward journey, or you can prove that someone else can pay for you
    • Do not intend to live on this visa for extended periods or visit frequently

    The Innovator Founder Visa (Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa)

    The Innovator Founder Visa is a long-term Business Visa, valid for up to 3 years. It has replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. This visa is for applicants who want to start an innovative business in the UK.

    The business or business idea must be endorsed by an approved body, either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

    You will need to prove to your endorsement body that you have investment funds and where they’re from unless your business has already been endorsed. The Innovator Visa costs £1,191 to apply from outside the UK.

    What You Can and Can’t Do With the Innovator Founder Visa?

    With the Innovator Visa (Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa), you can:

    • Set up a business
    • Work for your business as a director or self-employed member of a business partnership
    • Do skilled work outside your business, as long as it is on the list of eligible occupations or at level 3 qualifications
    • Bring your dependants to join you in the UK, if they are eligible
    • Travel abroad and re-enter the UK
    • Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if you have lived in the UK for 3 years and you are eligible

    Successful Innovator Visa applicants cannot work as professional sportspeople or apply for benefits or a state pension.

    Requirements for the Innovator Founder Visa

    The Innovator Visa is for foreign nationals who meet the following eligibility criteria and have the correct documentation.

    • You must show that you have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea – an endorsing body must assess your UK business plan and confirm that it meets the requirements. You must provide an endorsement letter as a supporting document for your application
    • Have knowledge of English – English at B1 level or above on the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) scale, or hold a degree that was taught or researched in English.
    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK – a minimum of £1,270 in your bank account for 28 days before your application

    UK Expansion Worker Visa (Global Business Mobility Visa)

    Another long-term UK Business Visa is the Expansion Worker Visa, which is part of the Global Business Mobility Scheme introduced in 2022.

    This visa replaced the Start-Up Visa and enables you to set up your company’s first branch or subsidiary in the UK. However, you must already work for an overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet.

    The UK Expansion Worker Visa application costs £298 and you do not need to have investment funds to apply. This visa allows applicants to stay in the UK for up to 1 year and can be extended for another year.

    What Can You Do With the UK Expansion Worker Visa?

    If you hold the UK Expansion Worker Visa, you can:

    • Do the job described in your Certificate of Sponsorship
    • Study
    • Bring your dependants to join you in the UK if they’re eligible
    • Volunteer
    • Travel abroad and re-enter the UK

    Requirements for the UK Expansion Worker Visa

    To be eligible for the UK Expansion Worker Visa, you must demonstrate the following:

    • You must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
    • Show that you have worked for your employer outside the UK
    • Demonstrate the proof of funds – at least £1,270 in your personal savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK (can be proved with bank statements).
    • The job that you are going to do in the UK must be on the list of eligible occupations
    • You must be paid the minimum eligible salary required for the type of job you are doing

    The Senior Specialist Worker Visa (Intra-Company Transfer)

    The Senior Specialist Worker Visa (Global Mobility Visa) replaced the Intra-Company Transfer Visa after recent changes to the business immigration rules and is for applicants who are senior managers and employees who wish to come to the UK to do an eligible job at their employer’s UK branch.

    If you obtain the Senior Specialist Worker Visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 5 years. The application fee is either £719 for up to 3 years or £1,420 for more than 3 years.

    Eligibility Requirements for the Senior Specialist Worker Visa

    To be eligible for the Senior Specialist Worker Visa, you must prove the following:

    • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
    • Have a job on the list of eligible occupations
    • Show that you have worked for your employer in your home country
    • Be paid the minimum eligible salary for your occupation – at least £42,000 per year

    Graduate Trainee Visa (Intra-Company Transfer Graduate)

    The Graduate Trainee Visa (Global Mobility Visa) replaced the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Visa. It is for applicants who want to come to the UK to work for a branch or subsidiary of their overseas employer. You can stay up to 12 months on a Graduate Trainee Visa, and the application fee is £298.

    The Graduate Trainee Visa Requirements

    To apply for the Graduate Trainee Visa, you must:

    • Already work for an organisation that the Home Office also approves as a sponsor
    • Provide a Certificate of Sponsorship, which states details about the work you will do in the UK
    • Do a job that is on the eligible occupations list
    • Be paid for the job no less than £45,800 annually

    UK Secondment Worker Visa

    The UK Secondment Worker Visa is another long-term visa introduced as part of the Global Business Mobility Scheme. This visa is for foreign nationals transferred by their overseas employer to the UK to be employed on a high-value contract with a UK organisation. The application fee for this visa is £298 for a visa validity of up to 12 months.

    Requirements for the UK Secondment Worker Visa

    To show your eligibility for this visa, you must demonstrate that:

    • You have worked for an overseas employer on a high-value contract with the UK licenced sponsor for at least 1 year
    • Your job is on the list of eligible occupations
    • You have a Certificate of Sponsorship

    The Service Supplier Visa

    The Service Supplier Visa (Global Mobility Visa) is for applicants with a contract to provide services to a UK company. With this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 12 months; your stay will depend on the type of international trade agreement under which you will provide the services. The application fee is £298.

    Requirements for the Service Supplier Visa

    To be eligible, you must:

    • Be an employee for an overseas business or an overseas self-employed business provider for at least 12 months
    • Provide services to a UK company under a contract that is covered by a trade agreement – the UK company must be a sponsor
    • Do an eligible job or have relevant qualifications and professional experience

    Let us provide the clarity you need to choose the right UK Business Visa type. Seek our assistance today.

    Documents Required for the UK Business Visa Application

    In addition to supporting documents required for your specific Business Visa type, you must provide the following documents:

    • Passport or a valid travel document
    • Recent passport photograph
    • Travel documents – hotel bookings, accommodation agreements or travel itinerary
    • Completed visa application form
    • Invitation letter from the company in the UK
    • Bank statements
    • Proof of Income Tax returns
    • If you own a business, you must prove it with a document such as a business/company registration certificate

    How to Apply for a UK Business Visa?

    To apply for a UK Business Visa, you must contact your nearest UK Embassy or Consulate. After you gather the required documents to demonstrate your eligibility for the type of visa you wish to apply for, you must complete the visa application form and submit it with the supporting documents online.

    You will pay your visa fee online. In addition to the visa fee, you will be required to pay for immigration healthcare surcharge. This costs £1,035 per year and allows you to access healthcare while in the UK.

    Once your visa application form is submitted, you can schedule and attend a visa appointment at the UK Embassy or a Visa Application Centre. During the appointment, you will provide your biometric information and confirm the information you provided in your application.

    How IAS Can Help?

    The UK Business Visa application process can be complicated and a hassle for anyone wishing to come to the UK to carry out business activities.

    Our team can assess whether you meet the UK Business Visa requirements, help gather the necessary documentation and support you throughout the visa application process to improve your chances of visa approval.

    Contact IAS to discuss your case and find out how our immigration advisers can help you. Call 44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact one of our advisers online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    The Processing time for a UK Business Visa is about 3 weeks.

    The majority of Business Visas in the UK can be extended, as long as you fulfil the UK Business Visa requirements.

    If you are not a British citizen and are from a country that requires a visa to enter the UK, you will need to obtain a visa to come to the UK after buying a business.

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