What is the UK Service Supplier visa?

The Service supplier visa is one of the Global Business Mobility visa routes.

It is meant for contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas service provider or a self-employed independent professional based overseas. 

The service supplier route allows these workers to stay in the UK for 6 months, 12 months, or the time given on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days. The amount of time that they can stay in the UK depends on the type of trade agreement they have as service suppliers.

UK Service Supplier visa requirements

  • Applicants for the service supplier visa must be a contractual service supplier working for a foreign business or a self-employed service supplier based overseas. 
  • Applicants must do an eligible job or have enough qualifications and experience to apply for a job that is not listed as eligible.
  • Applicants must have a UK sponsor and this sponsor must issue a certificate of sponsorship explaining the job they will be doing in the UK.
  • Applicants must have at least 12 months of professional experience working as a  contractual service supplier or self-employed service supplier.

The job skill level and the certificate of sponsorship provide service supplier visa applicants 40 points in the points system of the Global Business Mobility visa routes. 

The points requirement for the service supplier route is 40, but there are also non-point requirements that apply to many cases, such as tuberculosis testing (if the applicant comes from certain countries), financial requirements (at least £1,270 in a bank account to prove that they can support themselves in the UK), and the maximum length of assignments under Global Business Mobility routes (not exceeding the maximum total stay of 5 years in a 6-year period). 

Service Supplier visa contract requirement

For self-employed service suppliers or contractual service suppliers to work in the UK, they must have a contract with a UK business covered by a valid international trade agreement. Otherwise, they won’t be able to undertake an assignment in the UK. 

Conditions of grant of the Service Supplier visa

UK service supplier visa holders can only do the job they’ve been sponsored to do in the UK. At most, they can do voluntary work, but they can’t change jobs or have a second job. Access to public funds is also not permitted for UK service supplier visa holders.

Service Supplier visa fees

Service supplier visa fees include:

  • An application fee of £259.
  • Healthcare surcharge of £624 per year (may vary).
  • Personal savings of at least £1,270 to meet the financial requirement.

If the applicant wants their family to join him or her in the UK, service supplier visa fees rise to:

  • £285 for the applicant’s partner.
  • £315 for one child.
  • £200 for each additional child.

Service Supplier visa application

Application for the service supplier route must be done online. Depending on their circumstances, UK service supplier visa applicants may have to:

  • Provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, at a visa application center. The visa application center may keep their documents while they process the UK service supplier visa application.
  • Create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account and scan their identity document with the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

Application for the service supplier route up to 3 months before the date the applicant is due to start work in the UK (if successful). This information should be in the certificate of sponsorship. 

Required documents for Service Supplier visa

  • Certificate of sponsorship reference number provided by the applicant’s overseas employer or UK sponsor.
  • Documents that prove the applicant’s identity and nationality, such as a passport.
  • The applicant’s sponsor’s data and their sponsor license number.
  • Job’s occupation code and job title.
  • Evidence that the financial requirement is fulfilled (for example, through a bank statement that shows that the applicant has had at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 days in a row).
  • Proof of relationship if the applicant wants to bring their family in.
  • Tuberculosis test results if the applicant comes from: 

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Translation of documents for Service Supplier visa

If the required documents are not in English or Welsh, the applicant must provide a certified translation by a professional translator or a translation company that the Home Office can verify on its own. Otherwise, the document will not be considered.

Dependants of UK Service Supplier visa holders

Dependants of successful applicants for the service supplier route can be:

  • Partner: husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner (provided that the couple has been living together for at least 2 years).
  • Children: if they are over 16 years old, they must live with the applicant (unless they’re in full-time education elsewhere) and depend financially on him/her.

Dependants must have their own money to support themselves while they’re in the UK. They must apply separately and pay their own visa application fees. The difference is that they will use the main applicant’s application number, called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

This number will be obtained once the applicant starts the service supplier visa application. 

How to extend Service Supplier visa

The UK service supplier visa can be extended if, at the time of expiration, the holder still fulfills the service supplier visa contract requirement.

The service supplier visa holder should also be doing the same job, or a job that still meets all the eligibility requirements. And, of course, the service supplier visa holder must not have reached the maximum total stay in the UK (6 or 12 months under the service supplier visa; 5 years in a 6-year period if combined with other Global Business Mobility visa routes).

How to switch to Service Supplier visa

Applicants can’t switch to the service supplier route or other Global Business Mobility visa routes if they’ve already spent time in the UK under one of the following visas:

  • Visit visa.
  • Short-term student visa.
  • Parent of a child student visa.
  • Seasonal worker visa.
  • Domestic worker on a private household visa.
  • A permission to stay in the UK outside immigration rules (such as on compassionate grounds).

Individuals can’t either apply to switch to the service supplier route if they are on immigration bail. However, they can always apply to the service supplier visa from abroad.

Receiving decision on UK Service Supplier visa

Decision can take up to 3 weeks if the applicant is outside the UK and 8 weeks if the applicant is inside the UK (for example, if they’re extending their visa or switching to it). 

Applicants can check visa decision waiting times to be informed about delays.

Frequently asked questions about Service Supplier visa

  1. If I’m still contracted by my UK sponsor but my job changes, will my  service supplier visa still be valid?
  • No. You will need to update it if your job changes to a different occupation code. You can start the process up to 3 months before your new job starts. You can’t start the new job until you get a decision. 
  1. Can I study while I’m in the UK with my service supplier visa?
  1. Can I travel abroad and return to the UK under a service supplier visa?
  • Yes, unless you are waiting to receive a decision regarding the update, extension, or switch to this visa. You can’t travel abroad during this transitional period. 
  1. Can I apply to settle permanently in the UK with a service supplier visa?
  • No, you can’t.
  1. Does the certificate of sponsorship expire?
  • The certificate of sponsorship must be assigned to you no more than 3 months before the date of application to the service supplier visa. Otherwise, it won’t be considered in your application.
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