There are already a couple of questions here about whether a US citizen can go to the UK for say 3 months (within the visa-free limit) for tourism but also while there work remotely for his US employer. (E.g., here is one I asked 3 years ago.)

But looking again, in 2023, I see now the official UK site says:

While in the UK as a tourist, you cannot:

  • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person

(That was for the US visa-free entry, there's also here for standard visa.)

But that seems different wording IIRC my previous visits there. Now it is expressly qualified with "UK company". (And I'm assuming that "or as a self-employed person" also refers to working for UK clients as a self-employed person. But that isn't relevant to this question anyway as I am employed by a US company.)

So have the rules changed? Can I now travel in/live in/commit tourism in the UK while doing remote work for the US company where I'm a full-time employee?

  • 1
    The rules have always been the same. Many people want to interpret it as very strict but its never been. What the law means is that you cannot work for a UK company. And that's it. You can work abroad on vacation for a US based employer, no problem.
    – AussieJoe
    May 15, 2023 at 17:21
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    @AussieJoe This isn't correct. In "Remote Work" within the official UK Guidance this text appears: "Visitors are permitted to undertake activities relating to their employment overseas remotely whilst they are in the UK, such as responding to emails or answering phone calls. However, you should check that the applicant’s main purpose for coming to the UK is to undertake a permitted activity, rather than specifically to work remotely from the UK." May 15, 2023 at 20:32
  • 2
    Don't really understand why this question was closed as a dup since it is clear from the question that the main entry page for UK visas has changed w.r.t. how it describes permitted work and apparently that doesn't match the still existent rules.
    – davidbak
    May 15, 2023 at 20:37
  • 2
    Your assumption regarding self-employed is wrong. You cannot work in the UK as a visitor while self employed for any clients is how that phrase should be interpreted - there's no link with the "UK company" in the first part of the phrase. I think in practicse if you were say, a contractor to a US company here for a few weeks it would be fine, but they're seeking to not say, have software developers living here for 6 months while remaining untaxed etc.
    – CMaster
    May 16, 2023 at 12:28
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    @AussieJoe do you imagine that a US citizen who tells an immigration officer "I'm planning to spend every weekday afternoon and evening from 2 to 10 and evening writing code for my employer in the US; otherwise I'll be visiting historic sites in London" will be admitted? Everything I've seen indicates the opposite.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2023 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


It seems like the page was updated after Nov. 2020 with the new structure (https://web.archive.org/web/20201112034638/https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/tourism)

Looking through the changes to the rules in that period (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/updates) it seems to have been an effect of the new point-based system implemented for Brexit.

  • 2
    The UK’s points-based immigration system is not relevant to visitor visas
    – Traveller
    May 15, 2023 at 21:41
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    @Traveller but a broader reassessment of immigration policy could well have been undertaken at the same time.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2023 at 22:00

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