- Overview of the Service Supplier Visa
- What Is the Eligibility Criteria for the Service Supplier Visa?
- What Can I Do With a Service Supplier Visa?
- Which Jobs Are Eligible for the Service Supplier Visa?
- How Long Can I Stay in the UK For?
- How Do I Apply?
- What Supporting Documents Will I Need to Provide?
- How Much Does a Service Supplier Visa Cost?
- What Are the Processing Times?
- How Can I Extend My Visa?
- How Can I Switch to This Visa?
- How Can I Update My Visa If My Job Changes?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the Service Supplier Visa
The UK Service Supplier visa is aimed at foreign workers who have a contract to provide services to a UK-based company.
This can be either as:
- An employee for an overseas service provider, or
- A self-employed professional based overseas
You must fulfil certain eligibility criteria regarding your job and also have a Service Supplier visa certificate of sponsorship to be eligible for this visa.
This visa is a part of the UK government’s Global Business Mobility category of work visas. It is the replacement for the old International Agreement route.
What Is the Eligibility Criteria for the Service Supplier Visa?
In order to be eligible for the Service Supplier visa, you must:
- Be an employee of an overseas business, or a self-employed service provider based overseas
- Be providing a service to a UK business under a contract that is covered by a valid international trade agreement
- Be doing an eligible job – if your job is not eligible, you may still qualify if you have relevant qualifications and experience
- Have a certificate of sponsorship from your UK sponsor with information about the work you’ll be doing in the UK
You must also have worked for at least 12 months either:
- For your current employer outside the UK, or
- Immediately before you apply and in the same sector as the service you will provide, if you’re self-employed
What Can I Do With a Service Supplier Visa?
You will be able to do the following in the UK with a Service Supplier visa:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they’re eligible
- Do voluntary work
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
Note that you will not be able to:
- Access most public funds or the State Pension
- Change jobs unless you update your visa
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK through indefinite leave to remain
- Do a second job
Only certain jobs are eligible for the Service Supplier visa.
To find out if your job is eligible, you will first have to find out its 4-digit occupation code. This can be obtained from your employer or your certificate of sponsorship.
You should then refer to the list of eligible occupations and codes on the UK Government’s website.
What If My Job Isn’t Listed as Eligible?
If your occupation code isn’t listed as eligible, you may still be able to apply for a Service Supplier visa if you have relevant qualifications and experience.
You will normally need one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher in any subject
- A technical qualification that’s equivalent to a bachelor’s degree
In addition to this, you will also need either:
- 3 years’ professional experience relevant to the service you provide if you’re an overseas employee, or
- 6 years’ professional experience if you’re self-employed
Jobs With Specific Requirements
Note that if you wish to do certain jobs in the UK with a Service Supplier visa, you will have to meet certain specific experience and qualification requirements for that specific job.
These jobs and their respective requirements are as follows:
|Services||Qualifications and experience|
|Advertising or translation||Relevant qualifications|
|Chef de cuisine||Advanced technical qualification and 6 years experience|
|Entertainment services (excluding audio-visual services under the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement)||No qualifications required|
|Fashion and modelling||No qualifications required|
|Management consulting services||Bachelor’s degree|
|Technical testing and analysis||Bachelor’s degree or relevant technical qualification|
How Long Can I Stay in the UK For?
How long Service Supplier visa holders will be able to stay in the UK depends on the type of trade agreement that the services are being provided under.
You will be able to stay for whichever is the shorter of:
- 6 months or 12 months (this depends on the trade agreement you’re providing services under)
- The time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
The maximum amount of time you will be able to stay on a Service Supplier visa will be 6 or 12 months, depending on the type of trade agreement you’re providing services under.
Note that if you’ve spent time in the UK on this or another visa, you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period. Other visas that contribute to this time limit include the following:
How Do I Apply?
Service Supplier visa applicants must apply online through the Gov.uk website.
When applying for this visa for the first time, you’ll have to fill in the application form and upload the necessary supporting documents needed.
You’ll also have to prove your identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.
If you need to attend a visa application centre, you’ll give your fingerprints and have a photograph taken of you for your biometric residence permit. In addition, the visa application centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
You’ll be notified of how you’ll have to prove your identity when you apply.
There are also separate application processes if you wish to extend your Service Supplier visa, switch to it from another visa in the UK, or update it if your job changes.
Applying for a Service Supplier visa is made easier through IAS’ bespoke Application Package. One of our expert legal advisers will take on your case and fully ensure that your application is completed to the highest standards against Home Office Guidelines. For more information, call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online today.
You will need to provide the following when applying for a Service Supplier visa:
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number (you will be given this by your employer)
- A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
- Your job title and your job’s occupation code
- The name of your sponsor and their sponsor licence number (this will be on your certificate of sponsorship)
- Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, such as bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows that your sponsor can support you)
- Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
- Your tuberculosis test results (only if you’re from a listed country)
Additional Documents You May Need
You may also be asked to provide some additional documents with your visa application. These may include the following:
- Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK (see right)
- A valid ATAS certificate if your employer tells you that you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
- Proof of your degree or qualifications
Evidence That You’ve Worked for Your Employer
After you apply for your visa, you may be asked to show that you’ve either:
- Worked for your overseas employer outside the UK for 12 months
- Been doing relevant work for the 12 months immediately before you apply if you’re self-employed
If you’re an overseas employee, you’ll need to show you’ve been paid by your employer for at least 12 months. This can be through any of the following:
- Printed payslips
- Online payslips supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
- Bank or building society statements
- A building society pass book
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to show evidence of work you’ve done over the past 12 months. This can be through any of the following:
- Invoices for work you’ve completed
- Copies of your business accounts
- An accountant’s letter confirming the activity of the business and its profits
- Leases on business premises
- Adverts or marketing material for the business
- Business or personal bank statements to prove the income of the business
How Much Does a Service Supplier Visa Cost?
The Service Supplier visa costs £259 to obtain.
You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge when applying. This will be £624 per year, for every year you’ll be in the UK.
You must also have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.
You’ll normally need to show proof of this when you apply, unless either:
- You’ve already been in the UK with a valid visa for 12 months or more
- Your sponsor can cover your costs during your first month in the UK (which can be up to £1,270)
If your sponsor can support you instead, this must be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship under the ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section.
Note that your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK.
What Are the Processing Times?
If you’re applying for a Service Supplier visa from outside of the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 3 weeks.
If you’re applying from inside the UK, you’ll normally receive a decision within 8 weeks.
Note that you will only be able to apply for this visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.
You should also allow for extra time if you’re required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.
Your application may also take longer if, for example, your supporting documents need to be reviewed, you’re asked to attend an interview, or because of your personal circumstances.
You may also be able to pay extra for a priority service or super priority service to get your application processed within 5 days or by the next working day, respectively.
Note that this service may not be available in all countries.
How Can I Extend My Visa?
You must apply to extend your Service Supplier visa online through the Gov.uk website.
You will only be able to extend your visa if all of the following apply:
- You’re still contracted to work for the sponsor who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship
- You have not reached the maximum total stay for your type of trade agreement
- Your job, qualifications and experience still meet the eligibility requirements
Note that you must be inside the UK to apply to extend your visa. If you travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man while your application is being processed, your application will be withdrawn.
Service Supplier visa extension applications normally take up to 8 weeks to process.
How Can I Switch to This Visa?
You may be able to switch to a Service Supplier visa if you’re already in the UK on another type of visa and you meet the eligibility requirements.
Note that you will not be able to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK:
- On a visit visa
- On a short-term student visa
- On a Parent of a Child Student visa
- On a seasonal worker visa
- On a domestic worker in a private household visa
- On immigration bail
- Because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds
If any of the above apply to you, you must first leave the UK and apply for the visa from abroad.
Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.
We can assist you with the process of switching to a Service Supplier visa or any other UK business or work visa. For more information about IAS’ legal advisory services, call us today on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.
How Can I Update My Visa If My Job Changes?
If your job changes to a different occupation code, you must apply to update your Service Supplier visa.
You must still be contracted to work for the sponsor who issued your current certificate of sponsorship.
Your new job must still meet the eligibility requirements for the Service Supplier visa. In addition, you’ll need a new certificate of sponsorship.
You’ll also need to provide additional supplementary documents if you’ve been in the UK for less than one year.
You will be able to apply to update your visa up to 3 months before your new job starts.
You may continue working in your current job while your new application is being considered, just as long as you apply before your current visa expires.
You should not start your new job until you’ve got confirmation of your new permission.
You should normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.
How Can IAS Help?
The Service Supplier visa is a valuable route to enable overseas contractual service suppliers to come to the UK and provide services to UK businesses.
If you’re an overseas service provider looking to come to the UK for this purpose, then IAS can help.
We are experts in international immigration and can help with your business immigration needs. Our team of experienced legal advisers have helped countless businesses and individuals obtain visas and come to the UK to expand or explore new business opportunities, and we could do the same for you also.
Whether you’re a contractual service supplier employed by a business looking for assistance with a Service Supplier visa application, a self-employed individual looking to expand your reach into other countries, or looking to apply through one of the other Global Business Mobility visa routes, we can help.
We can also assist if you’re looking to apply through the Temporary Work – International Agreement route for your business.
Last modified on July 31st, 2023 at 9:01 am
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As part of the Service Supplier route, you will be able to bring your partner and children with you as your dependents to the UK.
You will normally need to provide evidence of their relationship with you when you apply for your visa.
In addition, your dependents must also pay application fees and the immigration healthcare surcharge. They must also prove that they have enough money to support themselves in the UK. These requirements are as follows:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
Your dependents must apply separately for their own visa. They must also apply separately if you are extending, updating or switching your visa.
There are a number of different UK trade agreements that are eligible for the Service Supplier visa.
These include various trade agreements with specific countries or territories, and services that cover a wide range of industries and professions.
The full list of eligible trade agreements and sectors can be found on the Gov.uk website.
Global Business Mobility visas are a category of visas that launched in April 2022.
These visas are aimed at specific individuals or businesses who wish to carry out certain work functions in the UK.
The Global Business Mobility visas are as follows:
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa
- Graduate Trainee visa
- UK Expansion Worker visa
- Secondment Worker visa
- Service Supplier visa
For an overview of all of these visas, visit our page on Global Business Mobility visas.