Sole Overseas Representative

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is for senior employees of a business looking to establish a commercial presence for their company in the UK. This visa category is a popular and beneficial immigration route for settling in the UK. The applicant can also enter the UK with their dependents.

Applicants are required to obtain entry clearance from outside of the UK before travelling. However, an applicant can switch to this immigration category if already residing in the UK.

Criteria for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

The UKIV needs to be satisfied with the following clauses for you to qualify for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa: 

  • You have an active and trading overseas business;
  • Your businesses headquarters and principal place of business is outside the United Kingdom;
  • Your business has no other active branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK;
  • Your business intends to establish a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary with the same business activity as the overseas business in the UK; 
  • The overseas business or appointment of the sole representative cannot be established for facilitating the entry or stay of the sole representative; 
  • You intend to maintain the centre of its operations overseas.

What to look for in a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa candidate?

  • You are an authentic and genuine Representative of an Overseas Business;
  • Are an existing senior employee of the said overseas business;
  • You have been recruited and work as an employee of the Overseas Business outside of the UK;
  • You have the necessary skills, expertise and knowledge of the business to undertake the role of sole representative for the overseas business in the UK;
  • You are given full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business;
  • You intend to work full-time as a representative of the overseas business only;
  • You do not intend to engage in the business of your own or work for any other business; 
  • You are not a stakeholder or own or control a majority of the overseas business. (ownership or control is through a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement);
  • You have a CEFR Level A1 in the English language (speaking and listening);
  • You can show you can adequately maintain and accommodate yourself and your dependents in the UK without resorting to public funds.

The exact requirements that you will need to satisfy are dependent on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer at Royce Legal Solicitors for expert advice. 

Business eligibility to establish a UK branch or subsidiary

For qualification of an employee for a UK Overseas Business Representative visa, the company should meet the following criteria:

  • The parent company must be active and trading as an overseas business.  
  • The overseas parent company must have and intend to continue having its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK.  
  • If the parent company already has a branch, subsidiary or other representatives in the UK, then the business will be excluded.  Your representative is not permitted to move the centre of your business operations to the UK. 
  • The Home Office will also need to be satisfied that the branch or wholly-owned subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as the overseas business in the UK and is not a means to facilitate the entry and stay of the sole representative.

Length of Stay (Indefinite Leave to Remain)

The Sole Overseas Business Visa is valid for three years. The applicant can then apply for an extension for another two years.

After spending five years on this visa, the applicant is qualified to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), given that the applicant still adheres to certain requirements.

Spouses and Dependants

Your spouse/ partner and children under 18 years can apply to accompany you to the UK. They will be unable to accompany you if they own or are a stakeholder of the overseas business you are representing.

Right to Work

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa holder can work full-time for the employer but cannot indulge in business or work of their own. 

Immigration Health Surcharge

The applicant has to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their application. The same surcharge applies to dependents accompanying the main visa holder.