A permitted paid engagement visa is a type of UK visa which allows certain professionals from certain countries to enter the UK for a specific reason. This might be to perform legal duties, carry out academic work or perform as an examiner in certain fields. It is important that you only apply for this visa if you meet all of the criteria set out by the Home Office, otherwise you risk having your application rejected and being denied entry into the UK.
Who needs a permitted paid engagement visa?
Again, only people from certain countries need to apply for a visa in order to come to the UK – these people are called ‘visa nationals. You are a visa national if you hold citizenship in a country where you are required to obtain a visa to visit or travel through the UK. People from most countries in the world are referred to as visa nationals and there are only 56 countries which can visit the UK “visa-free”.
There are five types of visa nationals who would need a permitted paid engagement visa in order to enter the UK. These are:
- Academics: You must be highly qualified in your field and intend to come to the UK to perform academic functions such as examining students or participating in a selection panel. In order to apply for a permitted paid engagement visa, you have to have been invited by a UK higher education institution or a UK-based research or arts organisation.
- Experts: Holding special expertise means that you may be entitled to give lectures in your specific subject area. Again, you have to be invited to do so by a higher education institution, or research or arts organisation. You cannot fill a teaching position with this visa.
- Overseas designated pilot examiner: If you have been called by an approved UK-based training organisation to assess UK-based pilots to make sure they are meeting national aviation regulatory requirements of other countries you should apply for a permitted paid engagement visa.
- Qualified lawyers: You must have been invited by a client within the UK to visit to provide advocacy, arbitration or some other form of dispute resolution.
- Professional artists, entertainers, musicians or sportspeople: If you want to come to the UK in order to carry out an activity directly relating to your profession and have been invited by a relevant organisation in the UK you can apply for a permitted paid engagement visa.
Requirements for this visa
In order for your application to succeed, you will need to satisfy the UK Home Office that you meet all their requirements. As stated above, you need to be invited to the UK to carry out work specifically related to your profession by a UK-based organisation or client. You also need to meet the below requirements:
- You will not have to be ‘sponsored’ by anyone in the UK
- You are from a visa national country, so not in the EEA or Switzerland
- You are 18 or over
- You will leave the UK after one month
- You have enough money to support and house yourself for the duration of your stay, without having to access public funds
- You can prove that you are able to pay for your return or onward journey
- You must not be in transit to a country outside the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
You also must make sure that you arrange your visa before you travel to the UK, declare it as part of your application for a visit visa or leave to enter, can prove you’ve had a formal invitation into the UK, and can prove that your work in the UK relates to your area of expertise and occupation overseas.
Documents you’ll need to provide
When you apply for this visa, you will need to provide a range of documents in order for it to be granted. These include:
- A current passport or another valid travel ID
- Bank statements and/or payslips from the past six months which prove that you can support yourself during your trip
- Full details of where you intend to ‘live’ during your stay in the UK
- Your formal invitation from the UK-based organisation or authority you will be paid by whilst you’re in the UK
Depending on what your profession is, you may have to provide other documents to support your application too. For example, as a lawyer you may provide your practicing certificate, or as a lecturer you may provide evidence of your publications.
What you can and cannot do whilst you’re in the UK on this visa
Whilst in the UK on a permitted paid engagement visa you can participate in the following, obviously depending on what your specialism or occupation is:
- Examine or assess students
- Participate in academic selection panels
- Give lectures at a university, but not in a part or full-time roll
- Examine UK-based pilots
- Provide advocacy in a particular area of law
- Participate in arts, entertainment or sporting activities including broadcasting
- Participate in fashion modelling assignments
However, you cannot:
- Access public funds
- Extend or switch your visa
- Bring family members with you – they have to apply separately
- Study for more than 30 days
- Marry or register a civil partnership
- Undertake specific paid work unrelated to your main job
- Live in the UK for an extended period
If you are found to be carrying out any work you shouldn’t be, or undertaking any activities not permitted with your visa, you could face being deported and banned from re-entering the UK. That’s why it’s important to apply for the correct visa in the first place, so that you are certain everything you do in the UK is legal.