December 10, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility): Overview

You can apply for a Service Supplier visa if you have a contract to provide services for a UK company, either as:

  • an employee for an overseas company
  • a self-employed professional based overseas

If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Otherwise you need a visa to work in the UK.

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.


To be eligible for a Service Supplier visa, you must:

  • be an employee of an overseas business, or a self-employed service provider based overseas
  • be providing a service to a UK business under a contract that is covered by a valid international trade agreement
  • be doing an eligible job – if your job is not eligible you may still qualify if you have relevant qualifications and experience
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your UK sponsor with information about the work you’ll be doing in the UK
  • have worked for your employer for at least 12 months outside the UK, or have at least 12 months’ professional experience if you’re a self-employed service provider

The specific eligibility depends on your job.

How long you can stay

How long you can stay in the UK depends on the type of trade agreement you’re providing services under.

You can stay for whichever is the shorter of:

  • 6 months or 12 months – this depends on the trade agreement you’re providing services under
  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days

The maximum you can stay on a Service Supplier visa is 6 or 12 months depending on the type of trade agreement you’re providing services under.

If you’ve spent time in the UK on a Service Supplier visa or another visa before

You can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you’ve spent time on any of these visas:

  • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
  • Intra-company Transfer visa
  • Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

How to apply

You must apply online.

How you apply depends on whether you’re:

If you want to change your job or employer, you must apply to update your visa.

You can include your partner and children in your application to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

How much it costs

You, your partner or children will each need to:

  • pay the application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay
  • prove you have enough personal savings

Check how much money you’ll need.

How long it takes

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs unless you update your visa
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)
  • do a second job

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Service Supplier visa.