Business visitors: how to successfully apply for a UK visa

Categories, eligibilty criteria and supporting documents for general business visitors


A business visitor is someone who works abroad, but who intends to visit the UK for short periods of time in order to do business on their own or their employer’s behalf.

If you plan to travel to the UK for business reasons, the maximum permitted stay you can apply is up to 6 months.

If you want to stay longer, you must seek leave to enter for work under the point-based system.

Categories of General Business Visitors

The following categories of visitors qualify as General Business Visitors: board-level directors; advisers, consultants, trainers or trouble shooters; doctors undertaking clinical attachments, dentists undertaking clinical observer posts; visiting professors accompanying students undertaking study abroad programmes; film crews on location shoots; representatives of overseas media gathering information for their publication; secondees from overseas companies; religious workers undertaking preaching or pastoral work; interpreters and translators; lorry drivers and coach drivers ; tour group couriers; persons undertaking specific, one-off training in techniques and work practices used in the UK.

They will need to apply for leave to enter on Application Form VAF1C or select "Visit" as the purpose of application and "(Business) visitor" as the type of application while filling out your visa application online.

Other categories of visitors coming for business will need to apply under a separate application form: academic visitors, sports visitors , entertainer visitors. See details under each specific guide.

Eligibility criteria for a General Business Visitor visa

As well as the normal requirements for visit visas (‘How to successfully apply for a visit visa’), to come to the UK under this category, you must show that:

• you are based abroad and have no intention of transferring your base to the UK, even temporarily;
• you do not intend to sell goods or services;
• you receive your salary from abroad, although you are allowed to receive reasonable expenses to cover your cost of travel and subsistence.

You must also show that you plan to do one or more of the following activities, which include:

• attending single meetings, interviews, briefings, seminars or conferences;
• arranging deals or negotiating or signing trade agreements or contracts;
• undertaking fact finding missions or conducting site visits;
• shooting films on locations;
• delivering goods and passengers from abroad;
• interpreting or translating for visiting business persons;
• installing, dismantling, servicing, repairing or advising and in general implementing parts of a contract between an overseas and UK company.

These activities are permissible only provided:

• they were arranged before coming to the UK;
• they are one-off engagements or jobs and not established commercial events;
• they do not qualify as consultancy work for which entry under the points-based system would be required;
• the visitor is employed by an overseas company or institution and not employed by the UK company;
• The visitor’s base is overseas and they are not filling a normal post or a genuine vacancy in the UK.

Documents required to support a General Business Visitor visa

As supporting documents, you should provide:

• Evidence of who invited you to the UK
• Evidence of any previous dealings with the UK company that you are visiting
• Details of any hotel/flight bookings etc

Related guides:

How to apply for a General Visit Visa
Business visitors: how to successfully apply for a UK visa
Sports visitors: a guide to apply for a UK visa
Entertainment visitors: a guide to apply for a UK visa
Academic visitors: a guide to apply for a UK visa
Visiting family in the UK: How to apply for a family visitor visa


By Federica Gaida

Edited by Raheela Hussain,
Principal Solicitor
Greenfields Solicitors
March 2011


For questions regarding the subject covered in this guide, PLEASE REGISTER IN OUR FORUM and post your question under the appropriate category (‘ENTERING THE UK: VISA ISSUES').

Greenfield Solicitors will answer them regularly.


Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.
You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation with a Solicitor on 020 8884 1166.


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