I am a US citizen and I have the opportunity to work for a company that is based out of the UK, but performs most of its business globally and on-site. Most of my contract work for them will be performed in the US, but may also occur in other countries. I will not be moving to the UK and the likelihood of me actually performing work for them in the UK would be extremely rare.

Do I need a special work permit or visa in order to perform work for this company as a freelancer?

  • 1
    Hi BigMacAttack, welcome to Freelancing! I edited out the part about working for them as an employee, as that would cause this question to be closed as off topic. Hopefully, this edit helps get some answers
    – Canadian Luke
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 5:33
  • If you are working for a UK company, regardless of whether a visa is required, it is sound practice to determine if you have reporting requirements to HMRC. They are completely different from visas and immigration. There's no point in letting a liability build up, so make sure you understand the HMRC implications.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 17:52
  • This would be more appropriate under expatriates.stackexchange.com Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


A company can contract another company to provide services from anywhere in the world so I can't see why you'd need a work permit to perform freelancing services remotely.

If you physically travel to the UK to perform your duties then you probably will need a work permit.

Official government guidelines here: https://www.gov.uk/visas-immigration

(usual disclaimers apply - IANAL, the internet is no substitute for professional advice, etc, etc...)

  • You will of course need to take care to conform to any sanctions and export restrictions imposed by the USA on countries that you travel to, or that your work is exported to. And, probably, those imposed by the EU since your client is legally bound by them. Your contract will state which country's laws are applicable to it. Ideally you'd want that to be the USA.
    – Phil Haigh
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 10:06

If you're working outside the UK, you do not need a UK work visa.

Visas are for those physically entering the UK — should you to travel to the UK you can find a definitive answer on the UK government's website: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa

For example for visits of less than 6 months you may not need one: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/work/six_months_or_less

Typically in this situation you will invoice the company you're working for and they will pay you as a contractor (they may ask about VAT, which as a non-EU business you do not charge), you will then be liable for the relevant state and federal taxes in the US in the same way you would for any other revenue.

I am not a lawyer or tax professional and you should certainly consult one with experience in your jurisdiction to ensure you're correctly setup to pay US taxes.

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