Moving abroad / Moving to the UK

Can I Work Remotely in the UK? What You Need to Know

Updated December 30, 2023

UPDATED January 2024

Can I Work Remotely in the UK?

The UK does NOT offer a Digital Nomad visa. But can you work remotely in the UK on a visit visa?

The answer is yes if you pass the “genuineness test” and will only take part in permitted activities.

You’re allowed to stay in the UK for up to 6 months at a time without a visa.

But if your plan is to work remotely or look for work or obtain a visitor visa during these 6 months or beyond, then you should be able to answer yes to these questions.

A. Are You a Genuine Visitor to the UK?

• A genuine visitor will leave the UK at the end of their visit.
• A genuine visitor will NOT live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home
• A genuine visitor is honestly seeking entry to the UK for a purpose that is permitted under the visitor route.

Ask yourself. Does your remote working in the UK meet the above criteria?

B. Will You Only Do Permitted Activities?

Will you only take part in these permitted activities below?

• Tourism, leisure and volunteering
• Educational exchange visits (restrictions apply)
• Recreational study (restrictions apply)
• Volunteering (restrictions apply)
• General Business Activities (restrictions apply)
• Intra-Corporate Activities (restrictions apply)
• Manufacture and supply of goods to the UK (restrictions apply)
• Clients of UK Export companies
• Overseas role requiring specific activity in the UK. (Translators, bodyguards, tour operators, cameramen, market researchers, drivers. Restrictions apply).
• Work-related training
• Science and Academia
• Legal (expert witness, overseas lawyers)
• Religion (for preaching or pastoral work)
• Creative (An artist, entertainer, or musician, restrictions apply)
• Sports people (restrictions apply)
• Medical treatment, organ donation
• Study as a visitor (6 months or less, restrictions apply)
• Transiting through the UK

If you pass the Genuine visitor and Permitted activities test, then what else do you need to be prepared for? Here is additional information to be aware of if you plan on returning to the UK regularly or over a period of time.

Be Prepared if You Work Remotely in the UK

If you make successive visits to the UK to look for work or to work remotely, your visits will be a matter of record.

Border Force will be able to check your travel history, the length of your visits in the UK and how frequently you’re returning. They will assess if you are, in effect, living in the UK through frequent or successive visits or making the UK your main home.

Details Noted by UK Border Force

  • The purpose of the visit and intended length of stay stated
  • The number of visits made over the past 12 months, including each length of stay
  • The time elapsed since the last visit, and if this amounts to you spending more time in the UK than in a home country
  • The purpose of return trips to the applicant’s home country or trips out of the Common Travel Area and if these are used only to seek re-entry to the UK
  • The links you have with your home country or ordinary country of residence – consider where the applicant is registered for tax purposes
  • Evidence the UK is your main place of residence, for example: if you have registered with a general practitioner (GP) or if you send your children to UK schools
  • History of previous applications

The Rule of 6 Months “There is no specified maximum period, which an individual can spend in the UK in any period such as ‘6 months in 12 months’ (as long as each visit does not exceed the maximum period for that visit, normally 6 months). However, if it is clear from an applicant’s travel history that they are seeking to remain in the UK for extended periods or making the UK their home you should refuse their application.”

Work Remotely in the UK

Work Remotely in the UK FAQ

Q. I am self-employed and run my own business in the States. Can I run my business on a visit visa in the UK?

A. It depends. Does your visit pass the genuineness test? Are you in the UK as a genuine visitor doing incidental work?
Or was your purpose in coming to the UK to work remotely? Self-employment as a visitor is prohibited.

Q. I am employed by an American employer in the States. Can I work remotely for my company while staying in London?

A. It depends. Does your visit pass the genuineness test? Are you in the UK as a genuine visitor doing incidental work?
Or was your purpose to come to the UK to work remotely?

Q. Can I look for a job while in the UK?

A. There seems to be no legal guidance that searching for a job while in the UK on a tourist visa is illegal.

While visitor visas aren’t meant to be used to find work in the UK, visitor visa holders are not expressly prohibited from searching for work while they’re in the UK, which may be more effective than trying to find a job from overseas.

You will be expected to prove your intention to return to your country when your visitor visa expires irrespective of the outcome of your search for work.

Q. What’s permitted when working remotely in the UK?

A. Visitors may undertake activities relating to their employment remotely whilst they are in the UK, such as responding to emails or answering phone calls.

The main purpose of coming to the UK should be to undertake a permitted activity, rather than to specifically work remotely from the UK. You should be genuinely employed overseas and not seeking to work in the UK. You shouldn’t plan to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits.

Additional Guidelines to Working in the UK

What if you get offered a permanent job while working remotely in the UK? Getting employment in the UK usually requires the right-to-work in the UK.
The right to work in the UK is granted to those who hold:
• A work permit
• Leave to Remain (LTR)
• Indefinite Leave to Remain
• British or Irish Citizenship
• EU Citizenship having arrived in the UK before Jan 1, 2021
• Other visa that explicitly permits work in the UK.

I hope this official legal guidance is helpful if you’re considering working remotely while in the UK. For more information on qualifying for a visa see my links below!

For more information on UK visas:

This information was obtained via a post by Angela (with consent) in the Facebook group, Americans in the United Kingdom. If you need further guidance join the group to ask questions!

About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.