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Permitted Business Activities under a Visitor Visa

Over the last few years, UK’s immigration rules have provided greater flexibility to non-EEA nationals wanting to visit the UK as business visitors. Whilst there is no specific business visit visa, the Standard Visitor visa allows visa nationals to undertake a wide range of business activities including attending non pre-arranged meetings and working in the UK office of their overseas employer (providing they do not deal with clients directly).

A Standard visit visa (or entry if non-visa national) is granted for 6 months but there is an option of applying for 2, 5 or 10 year visas, if as the visitor you are planning on carrying out business activities over a longer period of time. You should, however, bear in mind that you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

On all these occasions, the burden is on the visitor to demonstrate that they are a genuine visitor coming to the UK to carry out permitted activities. The visitor must not intend to live in the UK for extended periods of time through frequent or successive visits.

Whilst in the UK as a business visitor, you can:

  • Attend meetings, conferences, seminars and interviews
  • Give one-off/short series of talks and speeches
  • Negotiate and sign deals and contracts
  • Gather information for employment overseas
  • Be briefed on requirements of a UK based customer, providing work for the customer is done outside the UK

Over the last few years, UK’s immigration rules have provided greater flexibility to non-EEA nationals wanting to visit the UK as business visitors.

Employees of overseas companies which also have a presence in the UK, can visit to carry out ‘intra corporate activities’. However, the employee (and UK business) must ensure that the activity is of short duration, linked to a specific project and the visitor will not be directly working with or for clients.

We recommend that businesses accommodating visitors, should have a business visitor policy in place so the visitor (and staff) are aware of what they can and cannot do. If visited by UKVI compliance officers, businesses must be able to demonstrate the visitor was carrying out a permitted activity on their premises.

Our business immigration lawyers are well versed in the immigration rules and often work with businesses to draft policies ensuring they remain compliant at all times.

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Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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