UK Business Visas: Everything You Need to Know

As one of the major economic powerhouses in the world, the United Kingdom boasts millions of visitors each year, for pleasure and business alike. Its business scene is especially vital, attracting trade from all over. 

Therefore, the British visa regulations can be quite stringent. If you’re visiting the UK on a business trip, you will need a UK business visa or a Standard Visitor visa. 

To help make the process less daunting, our experts at Skills for English will help guide you through the UK business visa process below. 

What is the UK Business Visa?

The UK business visa is a short-term stay, valid only up to six months. It’s also a one-time visa and costs £95. 

If you intend to perform the following activities, then you may be eligible for the UK business visa: 

  • Attend physical events, such as conferences, tradeshow, meetings, seminars, and interviews, within the UK (and assuming non-direct selling is involved) 
  • Provide a non-commercial and non-profitable one-off or short talk series, included public speeches 
  • Negotiate with any businessperson and prepare signing of contracts
  • Perform physical inspections and office visits 
  • Collect insights for their employer from their home country 
  • Discuss matters with a UK-based client (assuming work for the client has been previously done abroad)

Summary of Various UK Business Visa Types

Due to a high volume of businesspeople regularly visiting the UK vibrant business hub, there exists a variety of UK business visa types, including:

  • Standard visitor visa for businessmen/businesswomen: Previously the Business Visitor visa, this business visa is the most popular type. It is intended for professionals visiting the UK for under six months.
  • Innovator visa: For investors seeking to set up business, or operate an existing business, in the UK.
  • UK Start-Up visa: For non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals who want to set up a business in the UK. 
  • UK Exceptional Talent visa (Tier 1): For those working in a qualifying field as an emerging industry leader or endorsed as one. 
  • UK Graduate Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1): For graduates who have been officially recognized as the owner of a genuine and credible entrepreneur idea. 
  • UK Investor visa (Tier 1): For non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals seeking to invest in at least 2 million pounds in the UK.
  • Representative of an Overseas Business UK visa: For non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals who are either the only representative of a company abroad and for which they plan to set up a branch in the UK or is required to carry a long-term project in the UK for an overseas agency/media. 
  • UK Turkish Businessperson visa: For Turkish nationals who want to become a new entrepreneur in the UK or to run an existing firm in the UK.

How to Apply for the UK Business Visa 

Before applying for the UK Standard Visitor visa, your application must be completed outside of the UK. Also, you can apply for the visia no more than 30 days before your departure to the UK. 

To apply for the UK business visa, there are a few general steps:

  1. Check whether you are eligible for the UK business visa. 
  2. Fill out the online visa application. 
  3. Gather the required documents.
  4. Book an appointment for an interview.
  5. Attend the interview. 

The details of each step can be found here

Checklist of Important Visa Requirements 

There are several required documents to prepare for the application of your UK Business visa. Below is a checklist to ask yourself if you have completed the following:

  • Online completion of your UK tourist visa application (form VAF1A)
  • 2 photographs that adhere to the UK guidelines 
  • Your passport (valid for three more months past the planned date to leave the UK after your business trip) 
  • Personal financial statements proving your ability to cover living costs during your stay in the UK (e.g., bank statements from the last six months) 
  • Proof of accommodation in the UK 
  • Proof of your departure/return flight ticket from the UK 
  • Proof of business-related functions you intend to carry out while in the UK 
  • A detailed travel plan, including past business-related trips to the UK
  • Proof of additional information regarding any other business-related activities you wish to do in the UK

How Skills for English Can Help You? 

As a UKVI-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) for visa and immigration applications, Skills for English (UKVI) professionals thoroughly understand the rigorous UK visa application process. Therefore, our experiences can help guide you through every step of your visa application journey. Our main services include:

  • Double-checking your visa document requirement checklist
  • Verifying your visa application 
  • Filing your visa documentations and forms
  • Providing professional, timely, and consistent communications or updates 

Have further questions?

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FAQs Regarding UK Business Visas

Find here several frequently asked questions regarding the UK Business Visas.

What’s the difference between the UK Business visa and the UK Standard Visitor visa?

There’s no difference. To date, the Standard Visitor visa has replaced several types of visas, including the Business Visitor Visa. 

So, the “UK Business Visa” is also referred to as the “Standard Visitor visa” or “the UK visitor visa.” It’s for people desiring to visit the UK for a short-term business-related stay. 

What are the different UK business visa types?

Besides the general Standard Visitor visa that a businessperson must apply for before entering the UK, other UK business visa types exist, including the Innovator visa, Start-up visa, Exceptional Talent visa (Tier 1), Graduate Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1), Investor visa (Tier 1), Representative of an Overseas Business visa, and Turkish Businessperson visa. 

How long does it take to process the UK Standard Visitor visa application? 

If you apply for the UK Standard Visitor visa by post, the decision can take up to eight weeks. If you use the premium service, the decision is finalized on the day you apply. It can also take longer to form a decision if additional documents are required. 

How long can I stay in the UK on a business visa?

You can stay up to 6 months in the UK while on a business visa (Standard Visitor visa). An extension may be possible for your visa if it had been approved for less than six months, making it reach the full-six-month stay. Otherwise, you cannot stay longer than six months on the UK business visa. 

Can I do unpaid or paid work outside the scope of my UK business visa?

No. You are not allowed to perform paid or unpaid services beyond the requirements of your UK business visa. Each visit on the business visa is a one-time visit and cannot be longer than six months.