If you are planning to do business in the UK, there are a number of immigration routes open to you. For longer-term plans to invest or run a business in the UK, please see our page on "Investors and Entrepreneurs".
We advise on all short-stay visas including visas for business, sports and entertainment events. In general, applicants need to provide evidence that they can support themselves for the duration of their visit, and that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their trip.
There may also be special requirements for each category of visa.
The Business Visitor visa allows the holder to come to the UK for a wide variety of business activities, but not to take up employment or set up in business.
Activities that can be undertaken include attending trade fairs or interviews: conducting a site visit; negotiating or signing contracts, or acting as a business adviser or trainer.
There are sub-categories of visa for Academic Visitors on sabbatical, and Doctors and Dentists on attachment or coming to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test.
The Prospective Entrepreneur visa is intended to allow you to put financing in place for your business so that you can then apply for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) to run a business in the UK.
It is one of the very few short-term visas that permit you to "switch" into a longer-term category.
Permitted paid engagement:
The Permitted Paid Engagement visa allows you to undertake one-off paid event in the UK without requiring sponsorship under the Points-Based System.
You must be able to show that you intend to stay for no longer than 1 month.
Sports of entertainer visitor:
Sports or Entertainer Visitor visas are suitable for sports people or entertainers coming to the UK to take part in a match or tournament, or an amateur performance or competition. They may also cover support and technical staff such as physiotherapists, managers or press officers.
It is important to understand what situations are covered by these visas: if you arrive in the UK with a Visitor visa and are then found to be intending to take part in paid employment then you can be turned away at the border.
Representative of an overseas business:
There is also a separate category to allow representative of an overseas business to come to the UK to set up a branch or subsidiary here.
This is a longer term visa, and allows paid employment, but there are strict requirements about the operation of the business and the applicant's job role and responsibilities in the UK.
For longer term investment in the UK economy Tier 1 of the Points-Based System provides a number of useful categories:
- Tier 1 Investor
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur
- Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
Please refer to our page on 'Investors and Entrepreneurs" for more information about these routes.
Whatever your business interest in coming to the UK, Dutton Gregory can advise and represent you in finding the right visa.