What is a Permitted
Paid Engagement

The Permitted Paid Engagement visa is a short-term visitor visa which allows the holder to come to the UK for a limited period of time to undertake specific paid work without the need to obtain sponsorship under the points-based immigration system.

This visa category enables individuals to visit the UK for up to one month if they have been formally invited by a UK-based organisation as an expert in their profession.

Who can apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa?

In order to meet the eligibility requirements for this visa category, you must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be visiting the UK for no more than one month
  • Have been formally invited and paid by a UK-based organisation to attend an event or other permitted engagement
  • Show that you are able to support yourself financially during your trip, or have funding from someone else to support you
  • Show that you are able to pay for your return or onward journey, or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey
  • Provide proof of any business or other activities you intend to carry out whilst in the UK

What activities are permitted?

Under the Permitted Paid Engagement category, you can be invited by a UK-based organisation or client to undertake the following activities:

  • Be a student examiner or assessor
  • Take part in selection panels as a highly qualified academic
  • Give lectures at a higher education institution
  • Examine UK-based pilots to ensure they meet the standards of your home country
  • Provide advocacy in a particular area of law
  • Take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities, including broadcasting
  • Take part in fashion modelling assignments.

In addition to the above engagements, whilst in the UK on this visa type you are allowed to undertake minor activities relating to your business as permissible under the Visitor rules, such as attending meetings or conferences and signing contracts. For example, a professional sportsperson could enter the UK on a Permitted Paid Engagement visa and carry out a paid interview, but also attend meetings to discuss a contract.

However, there are certain activities that are forbidden under this route. For example, you may not:

  • Undertake paid work that is unrelated to your main job or area of expertise
  • Extend this visa or switch to another visa type
  • Live in the UK for extended periods of time
  • Access public funds in the UK
  • Study in the UK
  • Marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
  • Bring family members with you. Any accompanying dependants must apply for a visa separately.

What supporting evidence is required?

Like most other visa applications, you will be required to submit some supporting documents alongside your application.

You will need to provide:

  • Your current passport or other valid travel document with a blank page for your visa
  • A formal invitation from the UK-based organisation or client who will be paying you
  • Evidence of your expertise or professional status in your home country, depending on the engagement

Your invitation letter will need to explain why you have been invited and how long the engagement will last for. Professionals in the arts, entertainment or sporting industries may be required to submit further evidence such as publicity materials, media coverage or proof of recent performances.

The application process

Applications for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa are submitted online, however you will need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to submit your supporting documentation and prove your identity.

The earliest you can apply is three months before you travel to the UK, and you will usually receive a decision from the Home Office within three weeks of submitting your application. If you need to obtain your Permitted Paid Engagement visa quickly, some VACs may offer a Priority or Super Priority service which will provide a faster processing time of five working days or 24 hours respectively.

The cost to apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa is currently £95. Priority services will be subject to an additional fee.

Which immigration route should you take?

If you or your employees intend to travel to the UK to work, you should carefully consider which visa type is best suited to your needs.

Smith Stone Walters can provide up to date, impartial advice on your immigration options and can offer practical support with the application process.

To discuss your requirements with a member of the team, please contact us today.

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