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I'm an American and am going to be visiting the UK next year and hope to stay for the full six months on a tourist visa. However, I am also a writer and plan on working my book and handling the business end of my writing career at times while I'm visiting. I'm more than financially comfortable but derive what income I'm currently earning either through publisher royalties or through Amazon. I've long had my own corporation based in the US through which I run my finances and pay taxes.

I've gone over the Gov.uk site and read the different requirements and rules, but am still not clear on whether I will need a work visa or not. It seems highly illogical that the UK should care if I work on a novel while I'm visiting, but the rules are maddeningly vague. Any advice would be most appreciated.

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As US national you will be entering under Appendix V of Immigration Rules as a non-visa national. As your primary source of income is running your US based business, and you continue to operate that business while staying in the UK there are some rules that you should be aware of before traveling. Namely, rule V 4.2 (b) Appendix V, so let's bring it up and have a look.

V 4.2 (b):

will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home;

As you are going to stay the maximum time allowed and there seems to be little which would prevent you from living in the UK and still running your business abroad, the immigration control may be suspicious that this is what you may intend to do. And that is a big no-no as far as the immigration rules go, as anyone wishing to settle in the UK should go through the settlement route.

To understand why this is an issue for the immigration control, you have to realize that most tourists have ties to their local community - be it jobs, family or friends, which makes staying in another country for extended periods of time problematic. Being able to explain your circumstances clearly should go a long way in the interview, and you should be expecting to be interviewed thoroughly in that regard. I figure that having a history of long stays like that in other countries would go a long way to establishing that you are a genuine visitor.

Please keep that in mind and be prepared for a rather difficult landing interview, and I wish you best luck with it.

  • To make sure we don't have any problems, is it even possible to get a work visa a writer with my situation? As I stated above, I wouldn't be getting a job in the UK, simply working on my own books. I'd gladly apply for a work visa, but my reading of the rules is that someone in my situation would need a sponsor. Or am I mistaken? BTW, thanks to everyone who has responded! – Jenna Bobanick Apr 21 '17 at 18:34
  • @JennaBobanick work visa won't resolve the problems with paragraph 4.2 (b). Could you not change your traveling plans and stay a shorter amount of time in the UK, and then for example go and visit rest of Europe? Or in other words, why is your reason to want to remain in the UK for the full six months? The more we know, the more we can help. – Tymoteusz Paul Apr 22 '17 at 0:54
  • Just wanted to remain for the length that a tourist visa allowed. I could shorten my time there, but wanted to stay as long as I could. But I'd rather shorten than risk not being admitted at all. – Jenna Bobanick Apr 23 '17 at 17:05
  • @JennaBobanick shorter stay will sure take some pressure away, though how long to remove and how much it would help is beyond my knowledge. Maybe a good idea for a separate question, about an in-depth look at paragraph 4.2 (b)? – Tymoteusz Paul Apr 23 '17 at 17:48

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