This is my first post here so I apologize if I've done anything wrong. I've already reviewed GOV.UK and a similar thread from 2016, What are the visa rules for US speakers, at UK conferences, who may be getting paid?, but still have a few questions.

I am a U.S. citizen to the United Kingdom for an upcoming technology conference where I will be speaking. The conference is a for-profit commercial event charging for admission, and while I will not be paid for my speaking engagement, I am receiving my ticket to the conference at no cost for my engagement.

The topic of the conference and my speaking engagement do directly relate to what I do professionally. With that said, I do not intend to do any kind of work for my profession while in the United Kingdom aside from this speaking engagement.

For the most part, I believe I can enter the UK as a Standard Visitor, given the non-commercial unpaid nature of my engagement. However what concerns me is the fact that I will be speaking as an expert in my profession, and the possibility that receiving a ticket to the conference in exchange for speaking may be seen as a form of payment, given that there is a price for admission. In this case it has me questioning if entering the UK for a Permitted Paid Engagement is the more appropriate route. I am aware that being of a non-visa nationality for the UK that I ordinarily do not require a visa to enter for either Standard Visitor or Permitted Paid Engagement, but I would like to be more aware of what this scenario counts as so I can take appropriate action at the time of travel.


  • 5
    Immigration Rules Visitor Permitted Activities PA.4 A Visitor may: (a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and (b) give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser (emphasis added). The description of the event you give (‘a for-profit commercial event charging for admission’) does not fall within this Rule.
    – Traveller
    Sep 26 at 23:12
  • 1
    I am not sure about UK law in specific, but in most legislations, what you describe will likely be considered paid work. You are providing services for a commercial event and are receiving compensation with a monetary value (free entrance and perhaps food and beverages) for doing so. 'Being paid' does not necessarily mean that there must be a flow of cash. Sep 27 at 6:55
  • Are the organisers paying other expenses such as accommodation, meals and flights? Sep 27 at 17:09
  • Thanks for the info! This is all helpful so far in making sense of everything. To answer @WeatherVane's question, no the organizers are not paying any other expenses. Sep 27 at 20:10
  • So the supposed "payment in kind" of a free ticket isn't really a payment, because you are going there to speak by invitation, not to attend a conference. Sep 27 at 20:21


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