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I am an Indian citizen working in the US for more than a decade. I have a work trip to the UK coming up (internal company meetings etc). I would like to use this opportunity to also have my family travel with me (wife is Indian citizen and not employed, kids are US citizens). What is the best course of action for me?

  1. Apply for a standard visitor visa with work as the primary purpose, provide details on which part the company is paying for and which part I am paying out of pocket for, and that my wife and kids will join me the last few days. Then refer this GFW number and application number when applying for my wife's visitor visa. Her visa application will mention that I will be paying for the trip (as she does not have an income, but she has some savings and we own our house together).

  2. Apply for the standard visitor visa with tourism as the primary purpose, refer each other's GWF number in each other's applications. Once this is approved, I show up at the UK border with my work visit related documents (invitation letter etc) first. Then as planned my family travels a few days later and we all travel back after a week.

My primary concern is my wife's visa getting approved (in addition to mine), and I am not sure which presents a better case - 1 or 2.

I will be applying for the visa from the USA.

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  • The usual advice is to always tell the truth. Your real intention / plans stack up, why risk complicating matters? Living and working in the US your chances of a UK visa denial are probably vanishingly small. If you choose option2, how would you reply if the Border Officer asks why you gave tourism as your visit purpose but are now stating it’s business?
    – Traveller
    Mar 25 at 23:17

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For UK, there is no separate business visa. Just one class - visitor visa. So, you and your wife will get the same kind of visa.

You should tell the truth, which is the option 1. Say that your primary purpose is to attend the company meetings and all. You are planning to travel on the remaining time. Include this details in a cover letter, which can be attached to your visa application when you go for your appointment in VFS.

This is a common scenario and perfectly reasonable (I have done the same). Do not complicate things by lying or hiding your intentions. If caught, you will be banned for a significant amount of time from UK.

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    Thank you. I ultimately followed this and both me and my wife received our visas.
    – Nivas
    Apr 14 at 2:22

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