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I sell software, and I'm planning to have meetings with existing or potential clients in the UK. I also want to do a bit of sightseeing. I won't be receiving any sort of payment from a UK source during my stay.

I think I need a standard visitor visa. If so, is this something I get at the UK border or do I need to apply in advance. Any ideas?

Note: I have a Canadian passport but I'm currently located in the USA on a work visa.

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Canadian citizens do not need a visa for the UK, either for tourism or business, or a combination of them. As long as it's just meetings, and you are staying less than six months, you will be fine. Your country of residence is irrelevant.

According to government websites you should bring a passport-sized photograph with you. You should probably get a letter saying what you will be doing in the UK from your company, to be on the safe side, to show that you won't actually be working for money over there. However it's rarely needed. A company of any size with experience of overseas work will know what to write.

  • @pnuts: Why would you need that? – Nate Eldredge Aug 14 '16 at 15:29
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    @pnuts: It looks to me like that document describes requirements for a visa application, and we've just concluded that OP doesn't need a visa. – Nate Eldredge Aug 14 '16 at 15:34
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    @pnuts Huh. Does anyone ever actually do that? – Nate Eldredge Aug 14 '16 at 15:36
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While in the US it seems to matter, the fact that

I won't be receiving any sort of payment from a UK source during my stay.

does not effect the UK governments attitude or not. They consider paid work paid work, regardless of who is paying. You can find various questions on this site from people (mostly from the US) that have come afoul of that. Even volunteering is fairly heavily restricted.

You can find out information in general about the UK visa regime, including a summary of what you can do on a visitor visa, where you can get one (only outside the UK and in advance) and who needs one (not Canadian citizens) on the offical government site.

The full rules for visitors have this to say on business activities:

Business – general activities

5 A visitor may:

  • (a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
  • (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;
  • (c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
  • (d) attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;
  • (e) carry out site visits and inspections;
  • (f) gather information for their employment overseas;
  • (g) be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.

Which sounds like it should cover most of your plans. Note that there are more permitted actitivies, these are just the ones that seem relevant to your current trip. Your tourist stuff is fine too.

So in summary, based on what you described here, you don't need a visa for this visit to the UK. You will undergo a landing interview when you attempt to enter the UK, where they may ask about your plans. If you want to reduce the scrutiny of this interview and the chances of being turned away, you do have the option of applying for a visa anyway.

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No need for Standard Visa.

See: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/canada/work/six_months_or_less

If you come for other business or academic activities, you can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, but you can only do certain academic or business-related activities.

The list of activities are the same as the Standard Visa, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules

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