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Permitted activities as a business visitor

Helping you to secure business visit visas for the UK

Those coming to the UK with ETA or a visit visa for business purposes should be particularly cautious of the distinction between the activities they are permitted and prohibited from carrying out to ensure they do undertake any work in the UK.

If found to be undertaking work outside the list of permitted activities, visitors may face long-term immigration implications which could lead to the refusal of future visa applications. It may also result in civil penalties for UK businesses engaged with these individuals.

Do I need a business visitor visa?

Whether you are a UK-based company looking to share skills and knowledge with your overseas counterpart, or an individual planning to enter the UK to negotiate a business contract, or an employee of an overseas business travelling to the UK to fit and maintain equipment manufactured overseas, you must consider the list of permitted activities.

Permitted activities

While a visitor is not permitted to work in the UK, they are permitted to undertake certain activities.

A visitor may:

  1. attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and
  2. give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser; and
  3. negotiate and sign deals and contracts; and
  4. attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling; and
  5. carry out site visits and inspections; and
  6. gather information for their employment overseas; and
  7. be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.
  8. work remotely whilst they are in the UK but remote working must not be the primary purpose of their visit

An employee of an overseas based company may:

  1. advise and consult
  2. trouble-shoot
  3. provide training
  4. share skills and knowledge
  5. work directly with clients provided the client facing activity is incidental to the visitor’s employment abroad and does not amount to the offshoring of a project or service to their overseas employer.

Scientists, researchers and academics may conduct research in the UK during a six month standard visit.

Permitted activities must not amount to the visitor undertaking employment, or work which amounts to them filling a role or providing short-term cover for a role within a UK based organisation. Where the visitor is already paid and employed outside of the UK they must remain so.

How can our immigration solicitors help?

We understand how important it is to secure the correct visa clearance quickly and seamlessly and how stressful the process can be for businesses and individuals who are unfamiliar with the immigration system.

Our immigration solicitors can provide specialist advice to ensure individuals and businesses remain immigration compliant and support clients to negotiate the complex immigration system.

If you require legal assistance or would just like to discuss securing your business visitor visa with one of our experts, please contact our immigration team.

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Contact our business immigration team:


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