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UK Business Visa (for Spaniards)

The UK offers many opportunities to Spanish nationals or residents wishing to visit the UK for business. However, the process of applying for a UK visa can often be complicated.

Contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to learn more about how we can help you with the application process.

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    UK Business Visa: Overview

    If you are a Spanish citizen or resident looking to visit the UK for business purposes, it is possible that you will require a visa.

    The main UK Business visas are the Standard Visitor visa, the Innovator Founder visa, and the Global Business Mobility visas, which includes the following specific visa types: the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, the Graduate Trainee visa, the UK Expansion Worker visa, the Secondment Worker Visa, and the Service Supplier visa.

    Note that, if you are a Spanish citizen, you will generally not require a visa in order to visit the UK for up to 6 months. As such, you will generally not need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa. However, if you live in Spain but do not have Spanish citizenship then you may still require a UK visa for short stays. This will depend on your specific nationality.

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    Types of UK Business Visas

    Standard Visitor Visa

    The Standard Visitor visa allows the holder to visit the UK for up to 6 months, for a variety of purposes. On this visa type, you can visit as a tourist, visit friends and family, and conduct certain business activities. These business activities include the following:

    • Attend meetings and interviews
    • Attend conferences, seminars, and trade fairs
    • Receive work training, so long as this training is not available in your home country
    • Give a one-off or limited series of talks, so long as they are not for profit
    • Conduct site visits and site inspections
    • Oversee the delivery of goods and services
    • Deliver training or internal knowledge to UK employees, based on your own work with an overseas company
    • Provide your services regarding equipment or computer hardware/software, such as installation, repair, servicing, or offering your advice

    This visa allows stays of up to 6 months. It cannot generally be extended, except in exceptional circumstances.

    Note that, if you are a Spanish citizen, you will not require a visa in order to visit the UK for stays of up to 6 months.

    Innovator Founder Visa

    This visa is intended for people planning to start a business in the UK. It replaces the discontinued Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and the Start-up visa.

    This visa type has a number of eligibility criteria, including the following:

    • You must plan to start and develop an innovative business. There must not be a comparable business currently operating in the UK market
    • You must have at least £1,270 in savings. These savings must have been consistently available for at least 28 days
    • Your business idea must already have been endorsed by an approved endorsing body, such as UK Endorsing Services, Innovator International, Envestors Limited, or The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)
    • You must be starting a new business, not joining an existing business
    • You will need to demonstrate that your business idea is viable and has the potential for growth. You will also need to demonstrate that the business is scalable- that is, that you have planned for things like future job creation and national and international expansion

    A number of business activities are authorised under this visa type, including starting a business (or several), working for your own business (e.g. as CEO), and completing ‘skilled work’ outside of your business.

    This visa type is generally valid for 3 years and can be extended, provided that the eligibility criteria continue to be met. It also provides a route to permanent settlement in the UK.

    Global Business Mobility Visa

    The Global Business Mobility visa category is intended to allow overseas companies to operate more easily in the UK. It contains the following specific visas:

    • Senior or Specialist Worker visa- This visa type allows overseas employees to enter the UK in order to carry out work on behalf of their overseas employer, at the employer’s UK office
    • Graduate Trainee visa- This visa type allows employees who are training for a managerial or specialist role overseas to come to the UK in order to train with their company’s UK office
    • UK Expansion Worker visa- This visa type allows the holder to enter the UK in order to set up a UK branch of an overseas business
    • Secondment Worker Visa- This visa is intended for employees of overseas companies who are transferred to the UK in order to complete an (eligible) role for a separate organisation
    • Service Supplier visa- This visa allows the holder to complete contracts for providing services to a UK company, as either an employee from an overseas company or as a self-employed individual who is based overseas

    The eligibility criteria for these visas vary depending on the visa type in question. However, applicants will generally need the following:

    • a certificate of sponsorship
    • a salary which satisfies the minimum eligibility threshold for their particular occupation
    • The ability to support themselves for the duration of their stay
    • Sufficient proficiency in the English language

    UK Business Visa Application Process

    The exact application process for a UK Business visa will depend on the visa in question. However, the steps are generally as follows.

    First, you will need to submit your application online, using the UK government website. It is at this stage that you will need to submit your necessary documents (outlined in the following section).

    You will generally also need to book an appointment with a UK visa application centre. This is so your biometric information (your photograph and fingerprints) can be collected. In Spain, these centres can be found in Barcelona and Madrid.

    Once you have completed your application, it will then be processed. If you are successful, you will be granted a visa, which you can then use to legally enter the UK. The exact amount of time for which the visa is valid will depend on the Business visa in question.

    Which Documents Will I Require?

    Whilst the exact documents which you will require will depend on the visa type in question, you will generally require a combination of the following:

    • Valid passport
    • Any other relevant travel documents
    • Proof of your ability to support yourself (and any dependants) for the duration of your stay in the UK
    • Proof of sufficient proficiency in the English language
    • Proof of an offer of employment and a prospective salary which meets the minimum eligibility threshold for the occupation in question (if applicable)
    • Certificate of sponsorship (if applicable)
    • If you are applying for an Innovator Founder visa, you will need to provide evidence that your business is viable, innovative, and scalable

    For more information on the documents which are required for each visa type, contact Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

    We can help you obtain a UK business visa. Contact Us

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      UK Business Visa Application Fees

      The application fees for UK Business visas vary depending on the visa type in question.
      The cost of a Standard Visitor visa is £115.

      The cost of an Innovator Founder visa is £1,191 if you are applying from outside of the UK and £1,486 if you are applying to extend or switch your visa from within the UK.
      Global Business Mobility visas generally cost £298.

      Note that applicants will likely also need to pay the annual health surcharge, which is £1,035 at the time of writing in March 2024.

      Paying this fee allows applicants to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Many applicants will also be required to pay for their necessary documents to be translated into English or Welsh.

      In some cases, applicants also choose to pay for legal assistance with their application. Contact Total Law today on 0333 305 9375 to learn more about our own services.

      Processing Time

      At the time of writing in March 2024, the processing time for UK Business visas is generally 3 weeks for applications from outside of the UK. However, this can vary based on a number of factors, such as how many other applications are also being processed and whether or not your application is submitted correctly.

      In order to minimise delays, make sure that you submit all necessary documents at the time of application and that you promptly provide any additional information which is requested.

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      How Can Total Law Help?

      The UK has much to offer prospective Spanish business visitors, including a thriving economy, numerous business opportunities, and easy travel access to the EU. As such, many Spanish citizens and residents choose to pursue business opportunities in the UK.

      However, post-Brexit, there have been changes to the process of conducting business in the UK as an EU citizen. Spanish citizens will now often require a visa in order to conduct business in the UK.

      Whilst the process of applying for a UK visa can be confusing, here at Total Law we have many years of experience in advising on cases exactly like this. Contact us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to receive bespoke immigration advice from our legal experts.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Yes, Spanish citizens can travel to the UK without a visa. Spanish citizens do not require a visa in order to visit the UK for stays of up to 6 months. However, for stays which exceed 6 months, a visa will generally be necessary.

                No, it is no longer possible to apply for a UK Start-up visa. This visa has been replaced by the Innovator Founder visa. This visa allows you to start a business in the UK.

                The details of this visa type are given in this article.

                In some cases, yes, a Business visa can provide a route to permanent residence in the UK (known in the UK as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) or to eventual citizenship. You will generally need to have resided in the UK for at least 3 years in order to be eligible, depending on your specific circumstances.

                Note that Standard Visitor visas do not provide a route to UK permanent residence or citizenship.

                Brexit has indeed impacted the visa requirements for Spanish citizens looking to conduct UK- based business. Prior to Brexit, Spanish citizens did not require a visa in order to live and work in the UK, including opening a UK business. Post-Brexit, Spanish citizens will generally require a visa for stays of over 6 months.

                If Spanish citizens wish to start a business in the UK, they will now generally need to apply for an Innovator Founder visa.