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How to Apply for a UK Visa - Business Visitor

UK Visa - Business Visitor
Information for people who want to do business in the UK for a short time. This includes academic visitors, visiting professors, overseas news media representatives and film crews on location. 

You can travel to the UK as a business visitor if you are one of the following:

(1) Film Crew - You must be an actor, producer, director or technician who is on a location shoot only, and employed or paid by an overseas company or programme.

(2) Representative of overseas news media -You must be employed or paid by an overseas company and be gathering information for an overseas publication.

(3) Academic visitor - You must be:
  • on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution, and wanting to use your leave to carry out research in the UK (for example, to do research for a book); or
  • an academic (including a doctor) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts; or
  • an eminent senior doctor or dentist coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.
(If you are on sabbatical leave from a private research company, you cannot be an academic visitor.
Additionally, you must not:
  • receive funding for your work from any UK source (except payments of expenses or reasonable honoraria, and payments on an exchange basis); or
  • engage in any work other than the academic activity for which you are being admitted; or
  • fill a normal post or a genuine vacancy in the UK.
(4) Visiting professor accompanying students on a study abroad programme - You must be a professor or teacher from an overseas academic institution.

While in the UK, you may undertake a small amount of teaching, limited to the institution hosting the students you are supervising. However, you must be employed and paid by the overseas academic institution, and must not intend to base yourself or seek employment in the UK.

(5) Religious worker - You can travel to the UK for a business visit (for example, to attend a conference) and undertake some preaching or pastoral work during your visit. You must be based abroad, and you must not intend to take up an office, post or appointment in the UK.

(6) Adviser, consultant, trainer, internal auditor or trouble shooter - You must be employed abroad by the company to which the client firm in the UK belongs, but this must not amount to employment for the UK firm. You must not do paid or unpaid work for the UK firm's clients.

(7) Person undertaking specific, one-off training - The training must be:
  • provided by your employer (or one of its UK branches); and
  • delivered in techniques and work practices used in the UK, provided this is not on-the job training; or
  • corporate training provided for the purpose of your employment overseas. It must be delivered by a UK company a) which is not part of your employer's corporate group and b) whose main activity is not the provision of training.
(8) Secondee from an overseas company - The UK company providing the secondment must have a contract to provide goods or services (but no corporate relationship) with your overseas employer, which must continue to employ and pay you.

(9) Doctor undertaking a clinical attachment, or dentist undertaking a clinical observer post - You must be a graduate from a genuine medical or dental school, and provide documentary evidence of a clinical attachment or dental observer post which will:
  • involve observation only and not treatment of patients; and
  • be unpaid.
(10) Doctor taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test - You must:
  • be a graduate from a genuine medical school;
  • intend to take the PLAB test in the UK; and
  • provide documentary evidence of a confirmed test date or of your eligibility to take the PLAB test.
(11) Others - You can also apply to travel to the UK as a business visitor if you intend to carry out any of the following:
  • attending meetings (including interviews that have been arranged before you travel to the UK) or conferences;
  • arranging deals, or negotiating or signing trade agreements or contracts;
  • undertaking fact-finding missions;
  • conducting site visits;
  • delivering goods and passengers from abroad (as a lorry driver or coach driver, for example, provided you are genuinely working an international route);
  • accompanying a tour group as a tour group courier, provided you are contracted to a firm outside the UK, and you intend to leave with that tour group;
  • speaking at a 'one-off' conference where this is not run as a commercial concern;
  • representing a foreign manufacturer by traveling to service or repair its products within their initial period of guarantee;
  • representing a foreign machine manufacturer by coming to erect and install machinery too heavy to be delivered in one piece, as part of the contract of purchase and supply;
  • interpreting or translating for visiting business persons, provided you are employed by the overseas company and you are traveling solely to provide this service for the visiting company member;
  • acting as a monteur (a worker such as a fitter or serviceperson) for up to 6 months to erect, dismantle, install, service, repair or advise on the development of foreign-made machinery;
  • attending board meetings in the UK as a board-level director, provided you are not employed by a UK company (although you may be paid a fee for attending the meeting); and
  • representing a computer software company by traveling to install, debug or enhance their products.


To travel to the UK as a business visitor, you must be able to show that:
  • you are 18 or over;
  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months (or 12 months if you are an academic visitor), unless you are a doctor taking the PLAB test (in which case you can apply to extend your stay and undertake a clinical attachment if you pass the PLAB test);
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you are based abroad and do not intend to transfer your base to the UK, even temporarily;
  • you receive your salary from abroad (although it is acceptable for you to receive reasonable travel and subsistence expenses while you are in the UK);
  • not be replacing someone in the UK, including for temporary leave periods;
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
You must also be able to show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:
  • live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits;
  • take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
  • do a course of study; except where this study is not the main reason for your visit (see 'permitted study' below);
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
  • receive private medical treatment.

Documents Needed:
You should provide as many relevant documents as you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK. You must decide which documents will best support your application. Its advisable you consider providing documents that contain:
  • information about you
  • information about your finances and employment
  • your accommodation and travel details
  • information about your visit to the UK
For every document you provide, you must include the original document and a photocopy.

Documents includes a copy of your passport bio-data page (the page containing your photograph). If you do not provide a photocopy of each document, your original documents might not be returned to you.
  • A signed copy of your completed visa application form.
  • A current and valid travel document or passport (your passport must contain at least 1 page that is blank on both sides, so that we can insert your visa).
  • 1 passport sized colour photograph (45 millimetres high x 35vmillimetresvwide, taken against a plain cream or plain light-grey background).
  • Evidence of your permission to be in the country where you are applying, if you are not a national of that country.
  • Previous passports to show your previous travel history.
  • Evidence of your marital status. This could include a marriage certificate, a civil partnership certificate, a divorce certificate or a death certificate.
  • Evidence of your current employment or studies.
  • Bank statements or bank books - Showing what has been paid in and out of an account for up to the previous six months, and naming the account holder. If you have made deposits in your account that are not in keeping with the account history then you may wish to explain the origins and timing of these deposits. 
  • Bank letter or balance certificate - Showing the account balance, the account holder’s name and the date when the account was opened. If you provide this document you should consider providing additional documents to show the origins of the money in your account. 
  • Payslips - Covering up to the previous 6 months if your salary is paid directly into your bank account. You should consider providing the statements showing these payments. 
  • Tax Returns (business or personal) - You could include recent documents from your government tax office, confirming your income and the amount of tax that you have paid.
  • Business bank account statements - If you include these you may wish to explain why you are allowed to spend the money from a business account if you are on a private visit.
  • Evidence of income from property or land - This could include property deeds, mortgage statements, tenancy agreements, accountant's letters, land registration documents. 
  • Accommodation details and return travel bookings - hotel booking, travel booking or accommodation details with a supporting letter from your UK host.
  • A planned itinerary, if you have one.
As a Business visitor, you may also want to provide:
  • Evidence of who invited you to the UK - A letter of invitation from the business on their official headed paper confirming who you will be visiting, staying with or supported by during your visit.
  • Evidence of any previous dealings with the UK company that you are visiting - evidence of business meetings, email conversations, company activities and invoices

How to Apply:
If you are applying from Nigeria, you will need to complete and submit a visa application form online at Visa4UK.

When you have completed your online application form, you will need to print and sign your completed form.

When you have completed your online application, you will receive an email message containing your application number (also known as a 'GWF reference'). Please make a note of this number.

Before you sign your application form, you must ensure that the information on the form is correct and your supporting documents are genuine and unaltered. If you do not have a document you should explain why you do not have it. You must not provide a false document.

Application Fee and payment:
Visa application fee will now be paid online, using the Visa4UK website from 16 December 2013.

Submission of documents at the application centre:
You must go to the UK visa application centre to submit your application and facial photograph and fingerprints (biometric information).

Every time you apply for a visa you must appear at the visa application centres.

Applicants under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult when enrolling their biometric information.

There is no extra fee for enrolling your biometric information.

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