Secure your Service Supplier Visa with our essential guide. Tailored for contractors and service providers needing to work abroad.

Service Supplier Visa

The world of business doesn’t have a limit, and today’s economy has become full of globalization. Therefore, it’s very common to see professionals utilizing their skills and exploring these opportunities beyond their home countries. The Service Supplier Visa which is designated for foreign workers who are seeking to render services to companies with businesses based in the country is opening the way for their career development. The focus of this exhaustive guide is indeed on the intricate details of this visa, which incorporates eligibility criteria, the application process, and more.

Overview of the Service Supplier Visa 

The Service Supplier Visa belongs to the Global Business Mobility category, one of the most recent UK government work visas category. The scheme is tailored for foreign workers who are contractually obligated to offer services to the company that has its base in the UK. This can encompass two scenarios: either may appear as a regular staff member for a service provider operating abroad or as a self-employed specialist established overseas.

What Is the Prerequisite for Being a Provider Through the Visa?

To qualify for the Service Supplier Visa, you must meet specific eligibility criteria:

Employee or Self-Employed:

 You could be an employee or a freelancer self-employed and conducting business from abroad.

Valid International Trade Agreement: 

What is offered by your business is subject to the existence of a genuine trade agreement between your country and the UK.

Eligible Job:

You cannot obtain the mentioned visa unless your job is among the occupations eligible for this visa. However, in such a situation, you may also qualify for the post even if your job is not on the required list, as long as you have the necessary qualifications and experience.

Certificate of Sponsorship:

 After obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), you should present your UK sponsor, a document specifying your work in the UK.

Minimum Work Experience: 

The qualifying period required should be a minimum of 12 months of experience either in the current job role/sector outside the UK or in the same service sector if self-employed.

What You Can Do With a Service Supplier Visa

Holding a Service Supplier Visa allows you to:

  • Work: Perform the role outlined by your UK sponsor in your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Study: Take up educational opportunities in the UK.
  • Bring Dependents: Bring your partner and children (if eligible) to the UK.
  • Volunteer: Participate in voluntary work to contribute to the community.
  • Travel: Travel outside the UK and return during the validity of your visa.

Eligible Jobs for the Service Supplier Visa 

First, find the 4-digit occupation code related to your job. Your employer should provide this code or can be found on your Certificate of Sponsorship. With this code, refer to the official UK Government’s list of eligible occupations and codes to confirm if your job is included.

If Your Job Isn’t Listed:

If your job’s occupation code isn’t listed as eligible, you might still qualify under the following conditions:

  • Educational Requirements: You should possess at least a bachelor’s degree or a technical qualification equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

Experience Requirements:

  • For Overseas Employees: At least three years of professional experience relevant to the service you provide.
  • For Self-Employed Individuals: At least six years of professional experience.

Jobs with Specific Requirements

Certain roles have unique requirements for eligibility:

  • Advertising or Translation: Must have relevant qualifications.
  • Chef de Cuisine: Needs an advanced technical qualification and 6 years of experience.
  • Fashion and Modeling: No specific qualifications are required, but industry experience may be expected.
  • Management Consulting Services: Requires a bachelor’s degree.
  • Technical Testing and Analysis: A bachelor’s degree or relevant technical qualification is necessary.

By understanding these specific criteria and ensuring your job and qualifications align with the requirements, you can determine if the Service Supplier Visa is the right fit for your professional plans in the UK.

How Long Can You Stay in the UK?

The duration of your stay in the UK under a Service Supplier Visa depends on the type of trade agreement governing the services you provide. You can stay for the shorter of:

  • Six months or twelve months (depending on the specific trade agreement).
  • The time specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship, plus an additional 14 days.
  • The maximum duration for a Service Supplier Visa is six or twelve months, depending on your trade agreement. It’s important to note that if you’ve spent time in the UK on certain other visas, such as an Intra-company Transfer Visa, Graduate Trainee Visa, Secondment Worker Visa, Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, or UK Expansion Worker Visa, you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years within any 6 years.

How to Apply

Applying for a Service Supplier Visa is a well-structured process:

  • Visit the official Gov. uk website.
  • Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, including having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Complete the online application form and upload the required supporting documents.
  • Verify your identity either at a visa application center or through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check app.
  • Make sure not to apply earlier than 3 months before your intended UK work start date, as indicated on your Certificate of Sponsorship. Additional processing time may be necessary for visa application center appointments.

Required Supporting Documents 

To support your Service Supplier Visa application, you’ll need to prepare and submit the following documents:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship Reference Number: This is critical and is provided by your employer.
  • Valid Passport or Identity Document: To prove your identity and nationality.
  • Job Title and Occupation Code: These details are typically found on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Sponsor’s Name and Sponsor License Number: Also noted on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Evidence of Sufficient Personal Savings: You need to show you have at least £1,270 in your bank account, maintained for 28 consecutive days ending no more than 31 days before applying.
  • Proof of Your Relationship with Dependents: This is necessary if you are bringing family members with you.
  • Tuberculosis Test Results: Required if you’re from a country where this test is mandatory.

Note: If your Certificate of Sponsorship was issued between 11 February 2022 and 11 April 2022, you can use your existing certificate from an Intra-company Transfer Visa for your Service Supplier Visa application, which means you do not need a new certificate.

Visa Costs:

  • Visa Application Fee: £259.
  • Immigration Healthcare Surcharge: £624 per year for each year of your intended stay in the UK.
  • Financial Requirements: Apart from the visa fees, you must demonstrate that you have personal savings of at least £1,270. Your employer may cover this amount, as indicated on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

It’s important to ensure that your dependents also demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves during their stay in the UK.

Processing Times

After submitting your application, supporting documents, and identity verification, anticipate a decision within approximately:

  • 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK.
  • 8 weeks if applying from inside the UK.

Remember to apply no more than 3 months before your intended UK work start date, as specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship. For expedited processing, consider priority services, which can reduce processing times to 5 days or even the next working day, though availability may vary by country.

Extending Your Visa 

To extend your Service Supplier Visa, ensure the following conditions are met:

  • You are still employed by the same sponsor who provided your current Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • You haven’t reached the maximum stay limit for your trade agreement type.
  • Your job, qualifications, and experience align with the visa’s eligibility criteria.

Apply for an extension online, within the UK. The application process typically takes up to 8 weeks. Keep in mind that if you leave the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man during the processing of your application, it will be withdrawn.

Switching to a Service Supplier Visa 

If you are already in the UK on another type of visa and meet the eligibility requirements, you may switch to a Service Supplier Visa. However, certain visa categories, such as visit visas or short-term student visas, are not eligible for switching. If you fall into one of these categories, you must leave the UK and apply for the Service Supplier Visa from abroad.

Additional Requirements for Switching

If switching from a Student visa, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Completed the course sponsored by your Student visa.
  • Your job’s start date is after the completion date of your course.
  • You’ve been pursuing a PhD for a minimum of 24 months.
  • Expect a decision on your application within 8 weeks.

Updating Your Visa Due to Job Changes 

If your job changes occupation code, you must apply to update your Service Supplier Visa. Ensure the following:

  • You are still employed by the same sponsor.
  • Your new job aligns with the eligibility criteria.
  • You obtain a new Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • You may continue working in your current role while your application is processed, but do not start your new job until receiving confirmation of your updated permission. Processing typically takes up to 8 weeks.

In conclusion, the Service Supplier Visa offers exciting prospects for foreign professionals looking to contribute their skills and services to UK businesses. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and related details, you can navigate this path to career growth with confidence. Remember that success often lies in thorough preparation and adherence to immigration guidelines.

For personalized guidance and expert assistance with your Service Supplier Visa application, consider the services of immigration professionals who can provide tailored support throughout the process. Secure your opportunity and embark on a rewarding journey in the UK job market.

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