If you are visiting the UK for business purposes, such as attending a meeting or a conference, or you want to start a business in the UK, you may need a business visa to do so.EEA (European Economic Area) nationals do not need a visa to start a business in the UK. If you are from outside the EEA, you will need a visa to start a business in the UK, and you must ensure you fit the criteria and supply the relevant documents. There are various visas available and the one you opt for will depend on your circumstances and your reasons for looking to obtain a visa.
When to Apply
It is important to ensure you get your visa organized before you travel. You can apply for your visa in advance, up to 3 months prior to your visit and it may take a few weeks to be processed, so the earlier the better. The documents you require will depend on the purpose of your visit to the UK, your individual circumstances and the duration of your business visa. Your local embassy or consulate will be able to provide more detailed information on the most relevant business visa to suit your circumstances.
Types of Business Visas
The UK visa type for business travel is the Standard Visitor Visa, which was previously known as the Business Visitor Visa. The options available for these business visas are the Standard Visitor Visa, which lasts 6 months, and the long-term Standard Visitor Visa which lasts up to 10 years. Your choice will depend on your individual circumstances. With the long-term Standard Visitor visa, you are only able to stay for 6 months at a time, but you can choose the number of years this will apply, up to 10 years. You can apply to extend your visa, if you decide to stay for a longer term, although you would be required to do this while you are in the UK.
There are also other options for those who want to start up a business in the UK. The start-up visa is for those who wish to set up a business in the UK and reside outside the EEA and Switzerland. There are other eligibility criteria for the start-up visa, including endorsement from an authorised body and evidence to show that your business is viable. You should speak to the relevant authorities to ensure you are fulfilling the requirements before you apply.
The innovator visa is another option for those who are experienced and looking to establish the business. In order to be able to meet the criteria for this visa, you must have endorsement by a sponsor and £50,000 investment. It is essential that you fit the criteria and can provide evidence to support this.
Tier 1 Investor Visa
Another option for a business visa is the Tier 1 investor visa, which allows for the investment of £2,000,0000 in UK government bonds or share capital/loan capital in UK registered companies. With the Tier 1 investor visa, you canwork, study or be involved in business activities. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must want to invest at least £2,000,000 in the UK, you must be outside EEA and Switzerland and be at least 16 years old. You will need various pieces of documentation to show you meet these requirements.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
Exceptionally talented individuals from outside the EEA are able to gain entry to the UK on a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. This only applies to individuals in science, tech and digital, arts, engineering and humanities. You must be self-employed or work for an employer in these sectors. There are various requirements to this visa, and you must be able to provide evidence to show that you meet these, including a proven track record.
Tier 2 Visa
If you are looking to enter the UK and work to fill a temporary gap in the market, you may be eligible for a Tier 2 visa. This visa can be quite complex, as you must have a Certificate of Sponsorship to be eligible for this and score 70 points in the points-based system.
Any of these visas will require you to be able to submit specific documents. You will need a passport, and you may require other documents, including bank statements, proof of earnings, proof of employment, evidence to support your case for a business visa – for example, confirmation of business meetings, funding etc.
Applying for Visa
You can apply for your visa online and then you will be required to attend a visa application centre within your local area, where you will provide your documentation. It is important to check your eligibility before you get started and prepare the necessary paperwork. You will need to fill out dates on the paperwork, including travel dates, dates at address and previous addresses (if applicable), as well as any financial and employment information. There will be a fee attached to applying for a visa, and you may also need to have a specific value of funds in your account. It is important to check what is required before you apply, as the rules differ, depending on the duration of the visa. A long-termStandard Visitor Visa is £798, but you may need extra funds in your account if you are looking to set up a business in the UK. It is worth ensuring you apply well in advance of your trip, as the required information can vary from one person to another, and it may take a few weeks before it is completed. In some cases, additional information may be required which could potentially hold up the process.
Setting up a new business in another country can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. If you ensure you have the right visa well in advance of travelling to the UK, it will make the whole process a lot easier.