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Do Turkish Citizens Need a Visa to Come to the UK?

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Our immigration solicitors are being asked questions about ‘Turkish Visas’ by those who remember the ECAA visa for Turkish nationals or who are in the UK on the ECAA visa.

In this article, we look at whether Turkish citizens need a visa to come to the UK and the options.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The Turkish Businessperson Visa

The Turkish Businessperson Visa (ECAA visa) was a route to the UK used by many Turkish citizens and some still remember it and are asking if it can be used to help their family members in Turkey. However, immigration solicitors report that this visa route was closed to new applications in late 2020. The closure of the route was linked to Brexit and the end of free movement for EU nationals.

If you want to come from Turkey to live and work in the UK then you will need a visa in the same way as many other non-EEA countries. There are lots of visa options, such as the skilled worker visa or family visa. If you do not want to live or work in the UK, then the temporary visitor visa may suit your requirements.

If you are already in the UK on a Turkish Businessperson Visa

If you are already in the UK on a Turkish Businessperson Visa then you can apply to extend your visa even though new applications for a visa cannot be made.

To qualify for an extension application your existing Turkish Businessperson Visa must not have expired. If your visa has expired you are classed as an overstayer under UK immigration rules. If you need advice on overstaying and your immigration options contact us online or call 0203 959 9123.

To qualify for a Turkish Businessperson Visa extension as well as having a valid visa that hasn’t expired you must also satisfy these eligibility criteria:

  • You are in the UK
  • You must intend to continue to operate the business you established in the UK or start another business or continue to help run an existing UK-based business
  • The business must be trading and viable and you must be able to establish that your share of the business profits is sufficient to support you and your dependants without your needing secondary employment or recourse to state benefits. ‘Viable’ essentially means that the business accounts must show that the business is making money. The Home Office officials will also look at the business debt. The immigration rules say that the business cannot be ‘disguised employment’ or a scenario such as where you are named as a business owner for visa purposes but, in reality, you are employed in the business of a family member
  • You must not have breached UK immigration rules

Paperwork needed for a Turkish Businessperson Visa extension application

The Home Office has published guidance on the sort of documents you need to provide in support of your extension application. The exact documents  will depend on your circumstances but normally they will include:

  • Your passport – this must be valid
  • Your current biometric residence permit
  • Evidence that you are in business such as company accounts, correspondence from HMRC, sponsor licence from the Home Office, business lease, and insurance paperwork and evidence of how you are involved in the business. For example, a partnership agreement or shareholders agreement and other evidence of the role you play in the business. For example, you may be the CEO or managing partner or have another business role
  • Evidence of your income from the business to prove that you can financially support and provide a home for yourself and your dependents
  • Evidence of your living costs to show that your business income covers your expenses. This evidence may include a mortgage statement or tenancy agreement as well as details and evidence of utility bills such as gas and electricity and council tax. You will also need to provide bank statements to show your business income is meeting your living expenses

The length of the Turkish Businessperson Visa extension

If the Home Office agrees to extend your visa, then you can stay in the UK for up to another 3 years. There are no limits to the number of times you can apply to extend your visa but the extension application must be submitted to the Home Office before your existing visa expires.

Can dependants apply for a visa extension?

If you have dependants with you in the UK on dependant visas then they will need to apply to extend their dependant visas at the same time as your extension application. If they do not then they will be classed as overstayers leading to immigration problems. To qualify for a dependant visa any partner still needs to be in a genuine relationship with you (you cannot be separated) and your children must still be dependent on you and unmarried. If the dependant visa is granted it will last for as long as your extension application.

Settling in the UK after entry on a Turkish Businessperson Visa

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK once you have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for 5 years or more. The 5-year qualifying period is referred to by immigration solicitors as the ‘residence requirement’. Home Office immigration rules define what is meant by lawful and continuous residence. Extended absences out of the UK may mean you do not qualify for indefinite leave to remain as may not meet the residence requirement. If you are unsure if you meet the requirement then contact us online or call 0203 959 9123.

Once you have held indefinite leave-to-remain status for at least 12 months you can choose to apply for British citizenship. This is not a requirement as your ILR status means there is no time limit on your being able to say in the UK. With indefinite leave to remain you are free to take up paid employment in the UK rather than continue to own your own business.

Turkish Businessperson Visa Extension refusal

If the Home Office refuses your application (for example, because they say your business is no longer viable or because they say you are in disguised employment) then you can ask the Home Office for an administrative review of the decision or, if you have grounds, you can apply for a judicial review.

These routes can be time-consuming so it is best to put forward an excellent extension application with all the necessary explanatory information and supporting paperwork.

Your immigration solicitors may recommend that you do not submit an extension application (or an administrative review application if your application is refused) in situations where there may be a better visa option for you and your family. For example, you may now qualify for a spouse visa or, because of your skills and the UK skills shortage, you may easily be able to find sponsored employment with a company that holds a Home Office sponsor licence and is willing to sponsor your application for a skilled worker visa.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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