When Do Employees Need a Business Visa versus a Work Permit?

December 16, 2019

Please note that the contents of this article should serve as general guidelines and should not be taken as legal advice. Various factors play a role in making the final determination of the proper immigration procedure to each country. Please contact your WR Immigration attorney for case specific advice.

What is the basic difference between a business visa and work permit?

  • A business visa is granted to foreign nationals who seek to attend business meetings, conferences, or engage in other activities that do not involve productive, gainful employment. It is usually appropriate for short term visits to the host country.
  • A work permit is granted to foreign nationals who intend to engage in productive employment, such as taking a part-time or full-time job in the host country.

What factors are usually considered to make the determination between a business visa and work permit?

Several factors play a role including but not limited to:

  • Activities to be performed in the host country
  • Length of stay in the host country
  • Where compensation is received

To gain a better understanding of the difference, ask yourself the following questions:

What is the purpose of the trip?Business activities that are not considered “work” or gainful employment in a foreign country Hands-on, productive labor in a foreign country
What are the activities the employee will perform?• Attending business meetings
• Settling estates
• Short-term training
• Attending a conference, seminar or trade fair
• Investigating business opportunities and new ventures
• Conducting pre-sales activities (meeting with potential customers, negotiating and/or signing contracts or agreements)
• Providing after-sales or lease services of commercial or industrial equipment
• Installing, dismantling, servicing or repairing the company's products
• Full-time or part-time employment
• Managing a local staff in the destination country
• Provide technical assistance, software development, management consulting or project management
• Working as a contractor
Will the employee be directly compensated by a foreign company, entity, or person?Generally, no. He or she will be paid by home-country employer.Yes, a company, entity, or person from the host country will paying the employee directly.

What do I need to know about business visas and work permits in a global context?

No two countries are identical in the way they manage immigration. The definition of “gainful employment’ and “work” can vary from country to country. Some countries issue business visas for an expansive range of activities, while others are more restrictive.

Can you help me with determining if I need a Business visa or a Work Permit?

Yes! We have a complimentary, no charge WR Global Immigration Business Visa Assessment Tool that can help!  https://wolfsdorf.com/business-visa-assessment/ These assessments are individually reviewed by WR’s global immigration team in conjunction with local counsel in the host country to ensure that we are advising our clients accurately. We take into consideration the most up-to-date immigration regulations, host country factors, and the client’s unique goals and needs to secure the best outcomes for our clients.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal immigration attorney or email the WR Global Immigration team at Global@Wolfsdorf.com for case specific advice.

2019-12-25T02:21:53-08:00 December 16th, 2019|

WR is a world leader in global mobility using WRapid, the firm’s immigration management system Powered by Salesforce, to facilitate the movement of talent worldwide.

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