What is the change? U.K. Visas and Immigration has confirmed details of a new Business Select program for companies in the United Arab Emirates who invest in the U.K. and frequently send staff on business visits to the U.K.

What does the change mean? Companies approved as Business Select members will receive faster and simpler processing of business visas with fewer document requirements, as well as dedicated customer service and other special benefits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies in the UAE that meet certain criteria regarding size, operations and frequency of business travel to the U.K., among other criteria.
  • Impact on processing times: Companies approved for the program will benefit from streamlined service.
  • Business impact: Approved companies can reduce the paperwork required for visa applications, contact U.K. Visa and Immigration directly with queries, and nominate a representative to collect passports and visas for the applicants.
  • Next steps: Please contact your BAL team for eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Background: Eligible companies may fill out an application form and will be notified within two weeks if they are accepted into the program. There is no cost to apply or become a member. To be eligible, a company must:

  • Be a registered company operating in the UAE for at least 18 months.
  • Have more than 40 full-time employees in the UAE.
  • Have sent at least 10 business visitors to the U.K. in the past 12 months.
  • Not have sponsored a visa applicant in the past who failed to comply with visa terms.
  • Agree to all terms of membership in the Business Select program.

Additionally, the company must be one of the following:

  • A multinational company with offices outside the UAE.
  • A member of the British Business Group (and obtain a UK Trade and Investment endorsement).
  • Directly recommended to the Business Select program by U.K. Trade and Investment.

Companies that are members of the Business Select program will be able to apply for visas by filing only a visa application form and an employment or invitation letter. A U.K. Embassy staff member will be assigned and will provide updates on the application process and be available by phone or email.

BAL Analysis: The program will provide faster processing and more personalized service for larger companies that send employees to the U.K. on a regular basis. It is expected to be offered in other countries in the future.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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