Turkish Business Person Visas

There is a lot of interest being expressed in the Turkish business visa. The provisions of the Ankara agreement provide a special visa route into the UK for eligible Turkish nationals. In this blog we look at the basics of applying for a Turkish business person’s visa and answer your questions.

Turkish business visa solicitors

For advice on applying for a Turkish business persons visa call the specialist immigration solicitors at London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or telephone appointments.

The Turkish business person visa

You will find that most immigration solicitors normally talk about immigration distinguishing between non-EEA nationals and EU citizens but there are visa routes into the UK that are based on a specific nationality. This is the case with the Turkish Ankara agreement visa that applies to Turkish nationals over the age of eighteen who want to start a new business in the UK or come to the UK to help run an established business.

What is the Turkish business visa called?

When you try and find out about the Turkish business persons visa it can get very confusing as people give it different names. That can make potential visa applicants think that there are a whole array of potential visas for Turkish citizens. That is not the case but you will find that the Turkish business person visa can also be referred to as:

  • The Turkish visa

  • The Turkish business visa

  • The Turkish Ankara visa

  • The Ankara agreement visa

  • The EC Association Agreement Visa.

There are all these different names for the Turkish business person visa because the visa stems from the Turkish EC Association Agreement. This is also referred to as the Ankara Agreement. In this blog the names are used interchangeably.

Do I qualify for a Turkish Business person visa?

To qualify for a Turkish Business person visa under the Turkish EC Association Agreement or Ankara Agreement you need to:

  • Be a Turkish national

  • Be over the age of eighteen

  • Have a genuine intention to set up a viable business or join an existing business in the UK

  • Meet the general eligibility criteria requirements for a UK visa, such as not being in breach of UK immigration Rules.

What business can I set up under a Turkish business person visa?

The immigration Rules say that to meet the eligibility criteria for a Turkish business person visa you can set up a business as:

  • A sole trader

  • A partner in a business partnership

  • A director of a limited company. 

You cannot be the employee of a company to qualify for UK entry under the Turkish business person visa category but if you are the director of a limited company you can work for the company.

What business can I join under a Turkish business person visa?

Turkish business person visa applicants using the EC Association Agreement visa scheme can join an existing partnership or limited company provided that:

  • They will be actively involved in running the business and

  • There is a need for their services and investment. 

Is the Turkish business person visa better than a start-up visa?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for a Turkish business person visa then this visa route may be best for you because under the Turkish business person visa you are not:

  • Restricted to setting up a new business – the immigration Rules explicitly say that you can join an established business

  • Required to get endorsement. Your business idea does not require endorsement by an Endorsing Body

  • Required to meet strict business tests. Your business does not have to meet the innovative, scalability and viability tests applicable to a business where the visa applicant is applying for a start-up visa

  • Prevented from setting up or joining a property related business.

The start-up visa lasts for two years and does not directly lead to UK settlement. It is an indirect path to UK settlement if you then switch to an Innovator visa.

If you are planning to set up a business in the UK it is best to look at all your various visa options to work out what type of business visa best meets your circumstances, business goals and any UK settlement plans.

What are the business eligibility rules for a Turkish business visa?

If you are planning to set up your own business in the UK under a Turkish business persons visa then you will need:

  • To be able to provide sufficient funds or assets of your own to establish your business

  • To be able to pay your share of the costs of running the business;

  • To be in a genuine business rather than an employee of the business or in what is referred to as disguised employment

  • Your share of the business profits to be sufficient to support you and your family without needing another job or using on public funds.

How much money do I need to invest to get a Turkish business visa? 

To secure an EC Association Agreement visa there is no minimum investment figure needed. If you are an experienced Entrepreneur this is an advantage of the Turkish business persons visa in comparison to the Innovator visa, where the minimum investment figure is £50,000.

Although the immigration Rules do not say that you have to invest a minimum amount in your UK business venture to obtain your Ankara agreement visa they do say that you must be able to prove that you can bring sufficient funds to establish your business.  This means that you will need advice on your business plan and projected overheads and forecasted returns.

What documents do I need for an Ankara agreement visa?

To obtain a Turkish business visa you must provide:

  • Your current passport or other valid travel identification

  • Proof that you can financially support and accommodate yourself and any dependants that will accompany you on a dependant visa. For example, you may need to provide bank statements 

  • Evidence of your accommodation or living costs such as your tenancy agreement.

In addition to the individual paperwork you will also need to supply evidence of your business plans and proof that you are intending to set up or join an existing business in the UK. These business documents can include:

  • Your business plan with projections and forecasts

  • The paperwork relating to any proposed business premises

  • The documents relating to any company or partnership formation plans

  • Any other relevant insurance or business documents

  • Information and paperwork relating to your business expertise and experience, this could include your experience of working in an overseas family business

  • Evidence of how you plan to finance and fund the business. There is no requirement to invest a minimum amount into the business but you do need to be able to prove that you have the funds to finance your business venture and support yourself and any dependants whilst waiting for the business to turn a profit. You may need to provide bank statements or evidence that you qualify for a business loan or that family or friends are finally supporting the business venture by lending you money.

Can my family come to the UK on my Turkish Business person visa?

Your family can't apply to come to the UK on your business visa but they can apply to come to the UK as your dependants. Your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner or dependant children can apply for a dependant visa.  

How long does an ECAA Turkish Business visa last for? 

Usually the Home Office will grant an ECAA Turkish Business visa for twelve months. This is shorter than some other visas, such as the start-up visa or the Innovator visa. Clearly if you are wanting to set up in business in the UK twelve months is too short a period to come to the UK. You can therefore apply to extend your Turkish business persons visa.

How long can you extend an ECAA Turkish Business visa for? 

After you have been issued with a Turkish business person visa for twelve months you can apply to extend your ECAA visa. Usually the Ankara agreement visa extension is granted for an additional three years provided that you can show that:

  • Your business is ongoing and

  • Your business will continue to operate in the UK

  • Your profits are sufficient to support yourself and any dependant family members. 

If you cannot prove that the business is ongoing and that your profits are enough to support yourself then the Home Office may decide to refuse the visa extension application or give you a visa extension for another twelve months. At the end of that visa extension you can apply again for a further visa extension.

Can I settle in the UK on a Turkish Ankara visa?

A Turkish business person visa holder can apply to settle in the UK through making an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The rules on Indefinite Leave to Remain eligibility for Turkish Ankara visa holders are contained in appendix ECAA to the immigration Rules.  

The immigration Rules say that if you are an ECAA visa holder you will meet the eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain if: 

  • You are a Turkish ECAA business person visa holder and

  • You continue to run your business and intend to continue to do so

  • Your business is profitable enough to support you and any dependants without recourse to public funds

  • You have resided in the UK for a continuous period of five years and you were  last granted leave as a Turkish ECAA business person

  • You meet the knowledge of English language requirements

  • You meet the life in the UK requirements

  • You meet the general eligibility criteria for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

Can an Ankara agreement visa holder become a British citizen? 

A Turkish business persons visa holder can eventually become a British citizen. The timing of your application depends on whether or not you are married to a British citizen. If you are married to a British citizen you can apply for British citizenship as soon as you have got your Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you aren’t married to a British citizen then you have to wait twelve months after you obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain before being able to make your British naturalisation application.  

In essence, unless you are married to a British citizen, it will take a minimum of six years from the date of the grant of your first Turkish Ankara visa and arrival in the UK until you can obtain British citizenship. Other visa categories offer accelerated routes to British citizenship so it can be best to take legal advice if early UK settlement is your main priority.

How does Brexit affect EC Association agreement visas?

Turkish business persons visa applicants probably won't be surprised to learn that Brexit has brought a degree of uncertainty to the long term future of the EC Association agreement visa. That is because the Ankara agreement relates to the UK’s membership of the EU. Immigration solicitors are therefore recommending that if you meet the eligibility criteria for a Turkish business persons visa that you apply now before this flexible business route to settlement in the UK closes to new applicants.

What can I do if my Ankara agreement visa is refused?

If you are applying as a Turkish business person for an Ankara agreement visa and your application is refused by the Home Office then it is best to take legal advice on your options.

The majority of Ankara agreement visa application refusals relate to not providing sufficiently detailed business evidence. That is why it is best to take professional and legal advice before submitting your ECAA Turkish Ankara visa application. 

If your EC Association Agreement visa is refused by the Home Office then you have the option of:

  • Making a fresh application

  • Applying for an administrative review

  • Applying for a judicial review if the decision to refuse your Ankara agreement visa application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper.

It is best to take specialist immigration law advice on your best route to securing a Turkish business persons visa if you have had an initial refusal as specialist legal advice could save you time and money.

Turkish Ankara agreement visa solicitors   

For specialist EC Association Agreement visa advice on the strict eligibility criteria and documents needed to support your Ankara agreement Turkish business visa application call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or telephone appointments.

Our business immigration solicitors have substantial expertise in securing ECAA Turkish business person visas and can guide you through the complex immigration Rules and requirements and secure dependant visas for your family members.  

The business immigration law team at OTS Solicitors are experts in Ankara agreement visas and are friendly and efficient so you can secure your Turkish business visa and set up business in the UK as quickly as possible.

OTS Solicitors can also assist with UK settlement applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship after you meet the residence requirement having entered the UK on a Turkish business persons visa.

London based OTS Solicitors are recommended for business immigration law in the two leading UK law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. For expert advice you can trust call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or click here for a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment to discuss your Ankara Agreement business visa needs.

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