The Turkish Businessperson visa route is no longer open to new applications. However, it is still possible for existing visa-holders to apply to extend their permission to stay in the UK under this route.
This guide for Turkish Businessperson visa-holders looks at how to extend this visa, from the extension eligibility requirements and application process to whether or not you can apply for settlement and citizenship under this route.
Turkish Businessperson visa extension rules
The rules relating to Turkish Businessperson visa extensions are set out under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay of the UK’s Immigration Rules, where ECAA stands for European Communities Association Agreement. The ECAA was established under the Ankara Agreement back in the 1960s to help promote economic relations as between Turkey and the European Community and the subsequent accession of Turkey to the Community.
Prior to Brexit, the UK was a signatory to the ECAA as part of its membership of the EU and the transition period agreed under the EU Withdrawal Agreement. However, following the UK’s departure from the EU and the end of the Brexit-transition period on 31 December 2020, certain directly effective immigration rights under EU law were dis-applied by the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020, including provisions within the ECAA between the EU and Turkey. Nonetheless, Turkish nationals and their family members who already have leave under the ECAA can still apply to extend their stay under the transitional rules as set out within Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay.
Turkish Businessperson visa extension requirements
If you already have permission to live and work in the UK as a Turkish business person, you can apply to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to extend your Turkish Businessperson visa. With a Turkish Businessperson visa extension, you can continue to run your business in the UK, and start another one, or join an existing UK business that you will have an active part in running. You will also be able to do voluntary work or undertake a course of study.
However, as with any visa extension application, there are various strict criteria that must first be met to be able to successfully apply for a Turkish Businessperson visa extension. When it comes to the eligibility requirements, under Appendix ECAA, you must show that:
- you have a valid Turkish Businessperson visa, which you must apply for prior to its expiry
- you have not broken any immigration laws in the UK during your stay
- you have established, or intend to establish, take over or become a partner or director of at least one genuine business in the UK
that business or those businesses must be viable
- you genuinely intend to operate, or have genuinely operated, one or more businesses in the UK
- you have invested, or will invest, sufficient funds or assets of your own to the business(es) in proportion to your interest
- you are able to bear your share of the liabilities which the business(es) may incur
- you must show that your part in the business(es) does not amount to disguised employment, but rather that you are genuinely self-employed, and
- you can show that your share of the business profits are sufficient to support both you and your family without you needing another job or claiming public funds.
In assessing whether the relevant requirements have been met, the factors that UKVI will take into account include the following:
- the viability and the credibility of the source of money being used to set up or invest in the business(es) in question
- evidence of a credible timeframe, lasting no more than 11 months, of when money that has not yet been invested in the business(es) will be invested
- the credibility of the financial accounts of the business(es)
- the credibility of your proposed business activity in the UK
- if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration or insurance, whether this has already been obtained.
How to apply for a Turkish Businessperson visa extension
You must apply for your Turkish Businessperson visa extension online and from the UK.
As part of your extension application, you will need to both prove your identity and provide supporting documentation, although how you do this will depend on your passport type. You may be able to upload your extension documents online and use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, although you may instead need to schedule an appointment at a UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) service point. At this appointment, you will need to enroll your biometric information, including a scan of your fingerprints and a photo of your face, to enable you to get a new biometric residence permit. You will be given instructions from UKVI on what to do and if you need a UKVCAS appointment.
If you are currently cohabiting in the UK with your spouse or partner, and any dependant children, they will also need to apply online to extend their stay. This includes any child over 21 if they are in the UK as your dependant. If your spouse, partner or any dependant child has a valid dependant visa and meets the other relevant extension requirements, their extension will be granted in line with your own visa. This essentially means that if their extension application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
You can either include your dependants on your own Turkish Businessperson visa extension application or ask your dependants to apply separately. If the dependant is your spouse or partner, they must apply online as a partner. You will need to apply online for your child(ren). They will need your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Unique Application Number (UAN) or a Global Web Form (GWF). You can find this in emails and letters from UKVI about your extension application.
Importantly, if you have decided to stay in the UK in circumstances where your partner or any children have been living overseas, they can still apply to come to the UK if you have a Turkish Businessperson visa. They will need to apply online for a visa as your dependant.
Turkish Businessperson visa extension supporting documents
When you apply to extend your Turkish Businessperson visa, you will need to provide:
- a valid passport or other document to prove your identity and nationality
- proof that you can support and accommodate yourself and any dependants during your stay in the UK, for example, payslips or bank statements for the previous 6 months
- proof of your living costs, such as a mortgage agreement or tenancy agreement, as well as your utility bills, council tax statement, bank statements and any documents relating to transfer of money to relatives abroad
- proof of any state benefits that you have received in the UK
- a biometric residence permit showing your Turkish Businessperson visa.
You will also need to provide documentary evidence that either you are currently running an established business or partnership, that you intend to establish another business or partnership, or even that you are joining an existing business. If you are currently running an established business or partnership, you will need to provide the following:
- business accounts prepared by a chartered accountant or approved by an auditor
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) documentation, including evidence of payment
- insurance documents relating to the business(es)
- evidence of both your business finances and investment in the business(es), such as UK or overseas bank statements, overseas money transfers and bank loans
- evidence of any financial assistance from a third party, for example, a family member, such as bank statements or other documents as evidence of their finances, and a legal or other document confirming their involvement in and share of the business
- a document setting out the terms of your involvement in the business
- your qualifications for running the business, such as relevant formal qualifications or evidence of previous relevant experience.
If you are establishing another business or partnership, you may need to provide proof such as a business plan; funding evidence or evidence that you are investing money of your own into the new business; any certificate of registration with Companies House, if appropriate; any tax and/or national insurance (NI) registration and tax documents; any copy contracts and invoices; documents for your business premises; any licence required or obtained; staff and insurance details; proof of advertising; testimonials; and any partnership agreement.
If you are joining an existing business, you will need to provide a written statement of the terms and conditions on which you are joining that business, together with accounts for the existing business for the 12-month period prior to the date of your application. You must also provide evidence that there is a genuine need for your services and investment.
How much does a Turkish Businessperson visa extension application cost?
There is no fee to apply to extend your visa. However, it can be worth paying for specialist legal advice prior to applying for a Turkish Businessperson visa extension, in this way ensuring that your extension application is in order, with the correct documentation.
How long does a Turkish Businessperson visa extension application take?
Having submitted your extension application and proven your identity, you will then need to wait for an UKVI caseworker to make a decision on your application. You will usually get a decision on your Turkish Businessperson visa extension within a period of 6 months. If you are required to attend an appointment at an UKVCAS service point, this can lengthen the overall time it takes to get a decision on your extension application. You will also be contacted by UKVI if your application is likely to take any longer, for example, your supporting documents need to be verified or you need to attend an in-person interview.
You must not travel outside of the Common Travel Area (CTA) — where the CTA covers the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man — until you get a decision from UKVI on your extension application. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.
What if your Turkish Businessperson visa extension application is refused?
Once a decision on your Turkish Businessperson visa extension has been reached, you will get an email or letter from UKVI containing the decision on your application. If your application is refused, there is no right of appeal, but you can apply for what is known as an administrative review under Appendix AR of the Immigration Rules.
An administrative review will consider whether an eligible decision is wrong because of an UKVI case-working error and, if it is, correct that error. In the event of a refusal, you should immediately seek legal advice from an immigration specialist to assist with this process.
Does a Turkish Businessperson visa lead to UK settlement or British citizenship?
You can apply to extend your Turkish Businessperson visa for up to 3 years. You can also apply to extend this visa an unlimited number of times, provided you continue to meet the eligibility requirements each time you apply for a Turkish Businessperson visa extension.
After a period of 5 years of living lawfully in the UK under the Turkish Businessperson visa route, you may be able to apply to permanently settle in the UK, also referred to as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This will allow you to stay on in the UK indefinitely, without any restriction and without needing to renew your visa in the future.
Equally, having held ILR status under this route for at least 12 months’ minimum, you may be able to apply to UKVI to naturalise as a British citizen.
There are various strict criteria when it comes to both settlement and citizenship applications, including satisfying a knowledge of life in the UK requirement. Applying to both permanently live in the UK and to become a British citizen are important decisions involving significant commitment, where you will be agreeing to accept the responsibilities associated with permanent residency or citizenship and to respect the UK’s laws, values and traditions. As such, before applying for settlement or citizenship, you will be required to take a ‘Life in the UK’ test.
Turkish businessperson visa extension FAQs
Can I extend my UK business visa in Turkey?
If you already have leave to be in the UK as a Turkish business person, you can apply to extend your Turkish Businessperson visa. However, as with any extension application, there are various strict eligibility requirements that must be met.
Can I extend my business visa in UK?
It is usually possible to extend a UK business visa. The rules around business visa extensions for Turkish nationals are set out under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay of the Immigration Rules, where ECAA stands for European Communities Association Agreement.
Last updated: 7 June 2023