New rules for business and special visitors

UKBA have published the Immigration Rules for Business and Special Visitors 06 November 2008. The UK Border Agency announced the guidance for business and special visitors. From 27 November the foreigners who wish to come to the United Kingdom for a short time to conduct business or to take part in sporting or creative events will need to come as a business, sports or entertainer visitor.

Those who are seeking entry as a child visitor, student visitor, parent of a child at school, marriage visitor, prospective student, visitor in transit or a visitor for private medical treatment, will still need to apply in the special visitors category.

The main elements of the government’s new points-based system (PBS) will be introduced on November 27. The PBS only covers migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There are some restrictions on nationals of countries that have recently joined the EEA.

From 27 November 2008, for the foreigners who are coming as a business or special visitors, the period of time that they will usually be allowed to stay, is up to six months. There are some exceptions regarding the academic visitors, doctors taking the professional and linguistic assessment board test, parents of a child at school and visitors in transit.

Business visitors include:

  • Academic visitors (may enter or stay for twelve months maximum, subject to entry clearance if over 12 months).
  • Doctors taking the professional and linguistic assessment board (PLAB)
  • Doctors coming for clinical attachment or dentists coming for observation
  • Visiting professors accompanying students undertaking study abroad programmes.
  • Film crews on location shoots only, provided they are employed or paid by an overseas company.
  • Representatives of overseas news media provided they are employed or paid by an overseas company and are gathering information for an overseas publication or programme.
  • Secondees from overseas companies who have a contract with a UK company, provided they are being paid by an overseas company.
  • Religious workers undertaking some preaching or pastoral work during a business visit (eg to attend a conference), provided their base is abroad and they are not taking up an office, post or appointment.
  • Interpreters and translators employed by an overseas company who are coming to the UK solely to accompany and provide a service to business visitors from the company.
  • Advisers, consultants, trainers or trouble shooters employed abroad by the same company to which the client firm in the UK belongs, provided this does not amount to employment paid or unpaid for the UK branch;
  • Persons undertaking specific, one-off training in techniques and work practices used in the UK, provided this is not on-the-job training.

Any business visitor must be able to show that:

  • only want to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months;
  • plan to leave the United Kingdom at the end of your visit;
  • have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working, help from public funds or you will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • do not intend to charge members of the public for services provided or goods received; do not intend to study;
  • can meet the cost of the return or onward journey;
  • are based abroad and have no intention of transferring your base to the United Kingdom even temporarily;
  • receive your salary from abroad.


Special visitors will be allowed to stay for up to six months, unless they are parents of a child at school in which case they can stay for up to twelve months, or visitors in transit in which case they can stay for 48 hours .

Special visitors include those who come:

  • as a child visitor
  • for private medical treatment
  • for marriage
  • as a parent of a child at school
  • as a student visitor
  • as a prospective student
  • as a visitor in transit


Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: "Now we are introducing an Australian-style points system for selective migration, it makes sense to tighten visit visas at the same time.

"These changes will help create a fairer Britain with fair treatment for those who play by the rules, but tough action against those who break the law.

"We want the UK to stay open and attractive to both business and visitors. At the same time we are determined to deliver a system of border security which is among the most secure in the world.

The Home Office has also set out further detail on two new visitor routes for sportspeople and entertainers, recognising the important contribution these individuals make to British cultural life.

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