Many employees travelling for business tend to opt for a UK business visitor visa since its process of application is less difficult than the other work visa routes. However, there are very restrictive rules on allowable activities under this kind of visa. Officials at the border are charged with the responsibility of questioning travellers under the business visitor visa and they have the discretion to refuse entry once they establish that the visa conditions will not be adhered to.
What is Business Visitor Visa?
In explanation, this type of visa is also known as a ‘Standard Visitor Visa’ and it is mainly for individuals who wish to visit the United Kingdom for business-related purposes, usually for a short period of time which can be up to six months.
People who have plans to visit Britain on business like attending interviews, signing contracts, participating in conferences, arranging deals, conducting site visits as well as delivering international goods or even passengers from overseas will be required to submit applications as a business visitor.
Apart from the aforementioned, there other categories of people who need to submit their applications as business visitors include;
- Academic visitors
- Medical practitioners who wish to take PLAB test
- Medical practitioners who are on clinical attachments
- Dentists who are on observation
- Visiting professors who come as companion for their students who are on study abroad programmes
- Movie crews who are on location shoots (provided they are employed and paid abroad)
- Overseas new media reps (provided they are employed and paid abroad)
- Overseas companies secondees.
- Religious workers (provided they are based abroad and have no plans to take up any position in the United Kingdom)
- Translators as well as interpreters who come as companion to business visitors (provided they are under the employment of an overseas company)
- Consultants, advisers, trouble shooter and trainers employed overseas by a company which has a branch in the UK.
- People embarking on some specific, one–off training in areas of technique as well as UK work practices.
It is always best to go for legal advice when you are unsure if your purpose for visiting the UK falls under the “business visitor” category.
What are the requirements?
- There should be a comprehensible demonstration that you only wish to stay in the UK for a short period which should not exceed six months.
- You should be able to prove that your visit to the UK is for a genuine business purpose or activity. A wide range of activities are permitted under this category and they are listed above.
- You should have the intention of leaving the UK at the expiration of your visa and you should be able to prove that you are capable of meeting expenses for your return or onward journey.
- There should be proof that you have enough funds to be able to accommodate and maintain yourself and any dependant without having to take up paid employment in the UK or receive any form of assistance from the British public funds. Alternatively, there should be a clear demonstration that your UK friends or relatives or even the company you work for will be financially supporting or even accommodate you throughout your stay.
What activities are not permissible on a business visitor visa?
- You shouldn’t have any intention of studying in Britain.
- You should have no intention of providing goods and services to the public for a fee.
- You must be based overseas and should be able to demonstrate that you have no plans of attempting to set up a base in the UK.
- Your salary or income must come from overseas.
- You must have no intention of embarking on marriage or registering a civil partnership in Britain.
- You must have no plans of receiving private medical treatment throughout your visit to Britain.
- You must not be on transit to another country or nation outside the Common Travel Area.
What are the required documents?
If your UK application falls under the Business visitor visa, there are some basic documentation that you need to arm yourself with, they include:
- Invitation letter from the British company, establishment or business
- Confirmation as well as the details on your purpose for coming to the UK
- If an employee: Letter from your employer, showing your leave approval for a specific period. The letter should also include details like your position in the company, duration of employment as well as salary etc; it should also state your resumption date at work.
- Self employed people should provide evidence of their business activities, financial credibility and accounts.
- You should also present evidence of ties or attachment to your home country – this can come in the form of ownership of property, employment ties or family ties and responsibilities
- Confirmation of your travel plans – which include hotel bookings, ticket bookings and itinerary.
- Three to six months bank statements
- Evidence of some extra savings
Possibility for Extension of leave
In the business visitor visa category, the maximum you can get is six months at a single time. However, if your visa is for a period below six months, you can submit application for an extension which will take you to the maximum period of six months. The only exception is when you are an Academic Visitor as they can be granted up to 12 months of leave.
You should understand that it is important to leave the UK upon the expiration of your visa. If you continue to stay after your visa has expired, you will be an illegal immigrant in the UK and thus be considered as an” overstayer”. This is likely to have an adverse effect on your immigration record and any future British immigration applications will be affected.
Right of Appeal
Applicants can be refused visa to visit the UK as a business visitor. In that case, you will receive a detailed letter which explains the reasons for the denial. Unfortunately, the right for appeal is only granted to individuals visiting their friends and close families. Others are not entitled to appeal when they are faced with a refusal decision. The only option open to you as a business visitor visa applicant is to submit fresh applications.
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