UK business visit visa for a Chinese employee

14 Nov 2023, 17 mins ago

An increasing number of British organisations in China are sending their Chinese employees to the UK for business visits, following the end of China’s Covid restrictions and the re-introduction of normal business travel conditions between China and the UK. In order to travel to the UK, Chinese nationals are required to apply for a visa.

In this blog we will provide an overview of the process for applying for a UK business visa, focusing on some important factors such as timing, and paperwork.

What kind of visa is required for a business trip to the UK?

The UK does not have a designated “business visa”, however, there are a number of visa routes available for those who wish to work in the UK long term. Alternatively, those who want to travel to the UK for certain types of short-term business activities may apply for a Standard Visitor visa, which also allows entry for tourism. A traveller with this kind of a visa can stay in the UK for up to 180 days, or six months, and  is permitted to undertake a very limited scope of business activities that are strictly defined by the relevant regulations.

Depending on their position, employees may be allowed to engage in specific business related activities. For instance, a translator or interpreter working for a company with international headquarters in the UK may be allowed to translate and/or interpret in the UK.

What is the duration of a Standard Visitor visa?

The Standard Visitor visa is valid for two years for Chinese nationals. This allows multiple visits to the UK; however, each visit may not last longer than six months.

What documents are needed to apply for a Standard Visitor visa?

Visitors to the UK are required to provide proof that they are a legitimate visitor arriving to conduct an allowed activity, that they intend to depart at the conclusion of their visit, and that they have sufficient funds to pay for all reasonable expenses associated with their visit.

In addition to a valid passport, applicants should also provide, among others documents, an invitation letter from the UK company addressed to them or a letter from the Chinese company on headed paper outlining their role, salary, duration of their employment, and an explanation of the nature of the activity they will be performing in the UK.

How long does it take to apply for a Standard Visitor visa?

The stated timeline for processing Standard Visitor visa applications submitted in China is currently three weeks (15 working days).

If you require a faster turnaround, you may opt for a “super priority service” or “priority service” at the time of submission of your application. The former will cost you an additional £1,000, and you should receive a decision on your application by the end of the following working day; and the latter is offered for an additional £500 and allows for a decision to be delivered within five working days.

You may apply for a UK visitor visa no earlier than three months prior to your trip.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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