I traveled twice to the United Kingdom on a UK business visitor visa from India, and went through all the paperwork to get this UK visa for business. It was super easy to get and both the times, my immigration experience was pretty smooth as well.
UK business visitor visa is the same as a UK tourist visa or UK visitor visa. It’s also known as a UK business visa. The only difference here is the purpose of travel. If you are going sightseeing or meet up with friends and family, you mention that in the purpose and your interview. In my case, I got a business visitor visa for UK since the purpose of my travel was to give training in London.
Even though I applied the UK visa from India, the process for applying a business visa for UK is same for all the nationalities that need a visa to visit the UK on business.
Well, I also got to see a lot of London and surrounding areas during my visit- so it worked out fine. I took my time to visit many places in England. England is full of beautiful castles, historical landmarks, wonderful zoos and a lot more.
And although the reason for my visit to UK was training, there are a lot other situations where you can apply for UK business visa.
Here are they.
When to Get a UK Business Visitor Visa?
There are many business-related activities for which you can apply for UK visa for business.
You can apply UK visa for business if you’re coming to the UK for any of the following:
- For a training, business meeting or conference ( this was mine)
- For taking a clinical attachment or observer post as a doctor or dentist
- As an academic accompanying students on a study abroad program or coming to do research
- To perform as an artist or musician
- Carry out site visits and inspections.
- Gather information for employment overseas
- To take part in a sports event as a sportsman
- Seeking funding to start, join or buy a business in the UK
Different Types of UK Business Visa
A UK visa for business can either be short-term or long-term.
Short-term Business Visa
A short-term business visa for UK is valid for 6 months only.
Long-term Business Visa
The long term Business Visitor visa can be issuedfor 2,5 or 10 years,and it allows holders to stay in the UK for 6 months at a time.
UK Business Visa Requirements
The requirements for business visa in UK can vary a bit depending on your employment status and purpose of travel, but otherwise it will be same.
Here is the list of all the documents for UK business visa.
Your valid passport with at least one blank page, with a validity of three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the UK after your trip.
2. Proof of Accommodations in the UK
You will need to provide a the proof of hotel or hostel reservations for the duration of your stay. There is no need to pay for it, and you can make a refundable reservation.
If you would be staying with a relative or friend, then you can provide the ID information and passport number of any relatives living in the UK.
3. Proof of Financial Means for UK Visa
You must be able to prove that you have sufficient funds available to cover your living costs in the UK. You can provide
- bank statements from bank account
- salary slips or proof of earnings letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
- credit card statements
If your visit is sponsored by a friend or relative, then
- documents showing their financial stability and your relationship with them
4. Employment Proof
For the UK business visitor visa, you need to show proof of employment. As I was employed, I showed the offer letter from my employer and salary slips for the last 6 months.
If you are employed in your home country,
- a letter from your employer on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary and length of employment
If you are a student,
- a letter from your school or university on the official letterhead, confirming your enrolment and leave of absence
- a copy of the ID card
If you are self-employed,
- business registration documents confirming the business owner’s name.
In case, you are apply for UK visa from India, you can show a CIN Certificate/ LLP certificate/ GST certificate/ Udhyog Aadhar Memorandum/ Import Export Certificate etc.
5. UK Visa Photo Requirements
You need two recent passport size color photos in white background.
Here are the entire guidelines for photo requirements for UK visa.
6. Proof of Previous Travel History
If you hold an old passport and have travelled outside of your home country or not, you need to provide copies of old passport, visas, entry/exit stamp. This has to cover the period of the last 10 years.
7. Travel Itinerary for UK Visa
Your travel itinerary for UK visa is the document that would contain a detailed travel plan with information on where you will be in the UK, what activities you will be part of, and your plans.
It must contain the travel dates, places you will visit, agenda for conferences or training, tours booked etc.
8. Confirmation of Legal Residence
If you are not a national of the country in which you are applying the Uk visa or your right to reside there is not reflected in your passport, then you need to provide a confirmation of legal residence.
Since I applied the UK business visa from India and I am an Indian citizen, I didn’t have to provide this.
9. UK Visitor Visa Application Form
You need to fill in the standard visitor visa application form for a UK visa.
UK Visa Application Process
The UK business visa application process is a five-step one.
- Get ready with all the documents for the UK business visa.
- Fill in the UK visa application form.
- Schedule a UK visa appointment with the UK embassy in the country where you are applying.
- Attend the UK visa interview.
- Receive the visa.
How to Apply for UK Business Visa from India?
If you are applying for UK business visa from India, you can’t directly apply for it through the UK embassy or consulate. You can only apply through a third party service provide : VFS Global.
But even then, you must fill in the application on UK government’s website.
Step 1 : Fill in UK Visa Online Application From on Gov.uk
The first thing you need to do is to apply online on UK government’s website. The process is the same irrespective of the country you are applying from. Please note that while you can read the questions in any language, your answers must be in English.
While you are filling in the form, you can edit any part of it any time by clicking on show and edit answers. And in case the application is not complete, you can always go back and make changes as long as you haven’t paid the fees for UK visa.
The application is saved in the gov.uk portal for 10 weeks, after which it will be deleted and you would need to start over.
You will be asked to fill in details including
- nationality, country of residence etc.
- your name & surname.
- personal phone number, address, marital status.
- passport number.
- details of the employer, job description and salary if you are employed.
- details of whether you have any savings and any other source of income.
- the reason for your visit and its details. Note that some paid assignments are allowed for the UK business visa. So you need to clarify whether you will be paid or not.
- name and date of birth, and nationality of your parents.
- your address in the UK: you can provide the address of the hotel or any other place you will be staying at.
- travel history of 10 years: you need to mention whether you have traveled to the UK or Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Switzerland, and the European Economic zone in the last 10 years. If you have, then you need to provide the details of your travel.
You will also be asked to provide the details of money you usually spend during a month and the amount of money you will be spending in the Uk during your visit.
If your employer or someone is paying for your visit, you need to provide information about that as well. Since, my employer was sponsoring my trip, I filled in the details of my employer while applying for the UK visa from India.
In case your parents or spouse or a friend is sponsoring your visit, you need to mention it here.
If a company has invited you, you need to provide the details of that company as well. In case, there are multiple companies you will be visiting, you have to provide the details on that. Note that you would need to upload an invitation letter for this.
Once you are done with the application, you will be asked to make the payment for the UK visa. You can pay using a Visa/ Master Card/ Amex/ Discover/ Diners Club International card. If you personally don’t have a card, you can ask someone to make the payment on your behalf.
Step 2: Getting a UK Visa Appointment at VFS India
Since VFS India is the commercial partner for UK visa for Indian citizens, you need to book an appointment with them. You can choose the center that’s closest to you and fill in the details.
Note that VFS India charges extra service fees for processing your UK visa application. They also have a plethora of services like premium lounge and whatever, that you can use if you are too busy.
You can pay for it directly when you go for your appointment or while booking it.
Step 3 : Attend UK Visa Appointment at VFS India and Biometrics
Take a printout of your VFS appointment letter and original passport with you for your UK visa appointment at VFS India.
Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early at the VFS center. If you have not already uploaded your supporting documents yourself bring the originals, or high quality photocopies with you. I would say take the originals in case you need to make a copy there.
After you submit the documents, you will need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph) at the VFS center.
Step 4: Attend UK Visa Interview
Depending on your purpose of travel, employment/marital status, and visa type, you might need to attend a UK visa interview at a UK embassy. If all your documents are in order and they have no questions, they wouldn’t even call you for an interview.
I wasn’t called for an interview.
Step 5 : Receive the Visa
Once a decision on your UK visa has been made, you will receive an email from VFS India and then you can collect your passport from them. In case of UK visa refusal, you can appeal for it as well.
What are the Fees for UK Business Visa?
The UK business visa cost will vary depending on the duration of the visa, but it’s same for every nationality.
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How Long Does it Take to Get a UK Visa?
In my case, it took only two weeks to get the visa approved.
UK visitor visa processing time is usually three weeks from the time you submit your application. However, you might need to wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is required before a decision is made.
However, UK government also has priority and super-priority services using which you can get a decision on the visa within 24 hours to 5 days.
How Many Days Can You Stay in UK on Business Visa?
On a business visa, you can stay for up to 6 months at a time, whether you are on short-term ot long-term visa.
How to Extend UK Business Visitor Visa?
You can apply to for UK business visa extension only when you are inside the UK and only before your current visa expires. And to be eligible to extend it, your visa must have been issued for less than 6 months.
And you may be able to extend your business visa up to the 6-month maximum. So for example, if you’ve applied for a 4-month business visa, then you can apply to extend UK visa for business for another 2 months.
Can I Travel to Europe on a UK Visa?
No you can not travel to Europe on a UK visa. UK is not a part of European union or the Schengen zone. You need to apply for a Schengen visa in UK or a Schengen visa from your home country if you want to travel to Europe.
Is UK Business Visitor Visa same as UK Entrepreneur Visa?
No, the UK business visa is totally different from UK entrepreneur or innovator visa. The business visa is a standard visitor visa after all, that allows the holder to do some business-related stuff. It has a lot of limitations and unlike the UK innovator visa, it doesn’t allow you to make money.
Can You Work in UK on UK Business Visa?
No, you can’t work in the UK on UK business visitor visa. To work in the UK legally, you need to get the UK work visa.
- Take part in business-related activities like events, meetings or training
- Study for up to 30 days
- Transit through the UK
- Sight-see, meet family and friends
- Convert a civil partnership to marriage
- Paid or unpaid work, although there are exceptions to this
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
- Get public funds
- Live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits