Working as a non-UK national

Scotland is governed by the same visa rules and legislation as the rest of the United Kingdom. There are a number of special business visa categories to ensure Scotland remains a competitive destination for investment.

If you are from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you will need a visa to live and work in Scotland.

Visa and immigration requirements

There are different types of visa and immigration requirements to consider as a business or individual who wishes to relocate to or invest in Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK. 

Depending on the reason for coming to Scotland, there are a number of options open to people who require a UK visa. 

Some options are short term and allow for visits to Scotland to search for investment and business opportunities, whereas other options are more permanent and allow for longer term permanent relocation of key investors and staff.  

More information on the different UK visa classifications can be found here, along with information on how to apply, processing times and English language requirements.

EU Nationals working in the UK & Brexit

Since the result of the referendum, the UK government has made clear that its first priority in negotiations with the EU is to secure the status of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK nationals living in the EU. 

No EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will have to leave at the point that we leave the EU. For more information about how EU Nationals working and living across the UK will be affected by Brexit, The UK Government website will be updated with the latest information about the status of EU citizens, and their families, in the UK as the EU negotiations progress.

Starting a business as a non-UK National

When setting up a business in Scotland, you need to register as a private limited company or a UK branch of your foreign company.

Discover more about the different options when it comes to setting up and registering a business in Scotland as a non-UK national here. As an employer in Scotland you are legally required to prevent illegal working and must check a person’s eligibility to work in the UK before you employ them. More information on workforce eligibility and who has the legal right to work in the UK can be found here.


If you would like to discover more information about living and working in the Edinburgh city region as a non-UK national, get in touch today.




Get in touch

Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council


Latest tweets

follow us @InvestEdinburgh