Moving to the UK as a Businessman: What Visa Do You Need?

Having a company in the UK comes with a lot of perks. The UK is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, and it’s also a great place to live.

However, if you’re not a UK citizen, you might be wondering what your options are for living in the UK as a foreign businessman. In this article, we’ll go over some of the available options for you.

What Are Your Visa Options?

There are different visas for business people depending on what type of business you plan to do in the UK.

1. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

This is for individuals who who graduated from UK universities or the UK government have endorsed as having entrepreneurial talent.

You are eligible to apply if:

  • You are endorsed by a UK university or the Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • You are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements

You can stay in the country for one year on this visa if your application is successful. You may extend it for another year to show that your business is making progress. Visit this page to find out about the graduate entrepreneur visa.

2. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is for people who want to set up or run a business in the UK. The following are the basic requirements:

  • Have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to invest in your business
  • Be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • Meet the other eligibility requirements

Its validity is until three years and four months, which you can extend for another two years.

4. Standard Visitor Visa for Business People

If you’re planning to go to the UK for business purposes such as attending meetings or conferences, you need to apply for a standard visitor visa. This visa is valid for six months and can be extended for another six months if necessary.

You need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay and that you have a return ticket booked. You may also need to provide evidence of your business activities in the UK.

5. Exceptional Talent Visa (Tier 1) or Global Talent Visa

In February 2020, the UK replaced the Exceptional Talent Visa with the Global Talent Visa.

The visa is for internationally recognized people as world leaders or potential world leaders in their field. They should have exceptional talent in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, digital technology, or the arts.

You must be endorsed by a designated competent body to qualify. You can stay in the country for five years on this visa and extend it for another five years if necessary.

6. Investor visa (Tier 1)

The business visa is for high net worth individuals who want to invest at least £2 million in the UK. The money must be invested in UK government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.

Its validity is three years and four months (if living outside the UK) or three years (if living inside the country), and can be extended for another two years. After five years, you may be qualified to remain in the UK as long as you want.

7. Innovator Visa (Tier 1)

The innovator visa is for experienced entrepreneurs with an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea. You need to be endorsed by a designated competent body before applying. In most cases, you need at least £50,000 to be qualified or have already invested such an amount of money.

It is valid for three years, and you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years.

8. Start-up Visa (Tier 1)

If you have a new and innovative business idea, you may be eligible for a start-up visa. You should have had at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.

You can stay up to two years in the country, which doesn’t have an extension. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for another type of visa.

9. Other Visas

The following are the other types of visas available for businessmen:

  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker
  • Creative and Sporting Visa
  • Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

You have to remember that like a skilled worker visa UK, these business visas also have validity and refusal. In other words, no visa is guaranteed. The best way to get a visa is to consult an immigration lawyer.

Final Thoughts

Starting a business in the UK requires sufficient money to support yourself and your business. The minimum amount of funds you need depends on the type of visa you’re applying for.

On top of these, it’s always best to hire legal experts with experience in this area to help you achieve favorable outcomes. This page might help you understand your visa options and things to do.


Edward Walker