Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa 

by | Dec 20, 2023 | UK Immigration, Visitor Visa

The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visit visa allows specified professionals to visit the UK for up to 1 month in order to undertake a paid engagement. You must be invited as an expert in your profession by a UK-based organisation or client. In this post, we discuss the visa requirements and types of permitted engagements. 

The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa route does not lead to settlement in the UK and all visitors must apply separately, even when travelling as part of a group.

Permitted Paid Engagement Visa Requirements

To be eligible for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa, you must be able to demonstrate that:

  • You are 18 or over
  • You have a formal invitation from a UK-based organization or client. This invitation should directly relate to your area of expertise and occupation overseas, substantiating the purpose of your visit
  • the event or engagement relates directly to your expertise, qualifications and main job in your home country
  • you’re visiting the UK for no more than 1 month
  • you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • You will not undertake any prohibited activities
  • you’re able to support yourself during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
  • You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs related to the visit, including travel, accommodation, and maintenance expenses, without relying on public funds
  • you’ll not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home
  • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal
  • You have obtained an Electronic Travel Authorisation if required.

Your expertise and employment

The event or engagement must relate directly to your full-time profession. You must be able to show you’re an established sportsperson in your home country, for example:

  • proof of recent performances, awards and media coverage
  • media coverage
  • awards you’ve received

You need a formal written invitation from a UK-based organisation. The invitation letter could be from:

  • an organisation in the creative arts or entertainment industries
  • a sports organisation, agent or broadcaster
  • a higher education institution
  • a research organisation
  • an aviation training organisation regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority
  • a client, if you’re a lawyer.

You must show the event or engagement relates to your expertise, qualifications and main job in your home country. For example, you could show a letter from your employer.

Qualifying Permitted Paid Engagements

The following professionals and experts are eligible to apply for a Paid Engagement Visit Visa:

  • Professional artists, entertainers and musicians
  • Professional sportspeople
  • Qualified lawyers
  • Lecturers
  • Academic examiners or assessors
  • Air pilot examiners.

Professional artists, entertainers or musicians

You can travel to the UK to undertake paid activities directly connected to your profession, such as performing, presenting your work to professionals or the public, giving lectures, participating in judging or debate panels, and attending professional conferences. A ‘professional artist’ encompasses those in performing or creative arts, like poets, make-up artists, stylists, photographers, fashion models, and set designers.

To participate, you’ll need an invitation from a UK-based creative organization, agent, broadcaster, or agency. This invitation should be for an event directly related to your full-time profession. You must also demonstrate your status as an established artist, entertainer, or musician in your home country. This proof can include published work, recent performances, screenings, concerts, talks, readings, exhibitions, media coverage, reviews, or awards you’ve received.

Professional sportspeople

Professional sportspersons may engage in sports-related paid activities that directly connect to their professional sporting career, such as participating in sporting events.

To partake, you’ll require an invitation from a UK-based sports organization involved in organizing or hosting sporting events, an agent or agency, or a broadcaster. This invitation should specifically pertain to an event or engagement closely associated with your full-time sporting profession.

Additionally, you need to demonstrate your status as an established sportsperson in your home country. This proof might include evidence of recent performances, awards received, media coverage of your achievements, and any accolades or recognition you’ve attained in your sporting career.

Qualified lawyers

Qualified lawyers can receive payment to represent a client in the UK at legal proceedings like court hearings, tribunals, or arbitration. You can also get paid for a visit to the UK to prepare for these legal engagements. You must provide confirmation of your right of audience or ‘temporary call’

As a qualified lawyer, you may need to demonstrate your credentials, such as a practising certificate or a certificate of good standing. Qualified lawyers may apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa in order to provide advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of dispute resolution for legal proceedings within the UK, where they have been invited by a client.

While engaged under this visa, you can also participate in other permissible activities allowed within other Visitor routes but are restricted from studying or transiting through the UK.


Lecturers have the opportunity to receive payment for delivering lectures within their area of expertise, although taking on a full-time or part-time teaching role with the host organization is not permitted. To engage in this, applicants will need an invitation from a UK-based higher education institution, research organization, or arts venue like a museum, theatre, or art gallery.

For your expertise and employment to align, your overseas work should directly relate to the subject of the lectures you plan to deliver. It’s essential to demonstrate your high qualifications in this field, which can be supported by documentation such as employer confirmation, published work, and evidence of previous lectures given. If your intended lecture topic deviates from your current role, providing proof of prior employment, publications, or recognized qualifications in that subject may be necessary.

If you’re semi-retired and earning from regular lectures, you may be eligible to visit for a permitted paid event or engagement. However, this option isn’t available if you’re fully retired.

Academic examiners or assessors

You may undertake to examine or assess students and participate in selection panels. To be eligible for these tasks, you’ll need an invitation from a UK higher education institution, a UK-based research organization, or an arts entity. Your expertise and past work abroad should directly align with the role you’ve been asked to undertake, demonstrating a clear connection between your overseas experience and the task in the UK. Proof of your high qualifications in your field can include a confirmation letter from your employer detailing your expertise and workplace, examples of published work, and evidence of previous lectures or assessments you’ve conducted.

For a permitted paid event or engagement, you can visit if you’re semi-retired and earning from regular examination work. However, this option isn’t available if you’re fully retired. It’s important to maintain the relevance of your expertise to the role for which you’ve been invited and to demonstrate your qualifications through documentation showcasing your experience and accomplishments in the field.

Designated air pilot examiners

You can receive payment for examining UK-based air pilots to ensure they comply with your country’s national aviation regulations. To be eligible for this role, you’ll need an invitation from a UK-based training organization approved and regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

For your expertise and employment qualifications to align with this role, you must demonstrate full-time employment overseas with your country’s national aviation authority. Showing your active employment status with your nation’s aviation authority is essential to qualify for this examination role in the UK.

Bringing family members

If you plan to bring family members along, each person needs to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa separately. Remember, dependents cannot accompany you on your Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor visa. However, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa on behalf of your partner and child if they are unable to apply on their own. They’ll need to attend their appointment at a visa application centre for the application process.

Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa Application Fees

A Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor visa costs £115 for up to 1 month. Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

How we can help 

To discuss your immigration application with an experienced professional, contact our friendly team on +44 208 757 5751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions 

What is a visa national?

The Home Office has a list of visa nationalities requiring a visit visa before travel. However, non-visa nationals can usually visit the UK without applying for a visitor visa. Non-visa nationals must still meet visitor entry requirements, like explaining their visit purpose and arrangements for stay and return. 

Who qualifies for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa and what engagements are permissible?

 Qualified professionals in various fields, such as artists, sportspeople, lawyers, lecturers, examiners, and designated air pilot examiners, may apply for this visa. Permitted engagements include delivering lectures, conducting examinations, participating in sporting events, and representing clients in legal proceedings, among other professional activities.

Can family members accompany a visa holder on a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa?

Family members need to apply for separate Standard Visitor visas; they cannot travel under the Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. However, if they cannot apply themselves, the visa holder may apply for them. Each family member must attend a visa application center for their appointment.

What are the limitations or prohibitions under the Permitted Paid Engagement Visa?

Visa holders are restricted from engaging in unrelated paid work, studying, residing in the UK for extended periods, accessing public funds, or using the UK as a transit point. Additionally, marrying or registering a civil partnership requires a separate Marriage Visitor visa. The visa is strictly for short-term engagements aligned with the visitor’s primary overseas employment.


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