Sole Representative Visa

UK Immigration as the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

Apply for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

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If you live overseas and you’d like to work in the UK to expand business or open a new branch of your company, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa may be the ideal choice for you. Often referred to as a Sole Representative Visa, this specific solution allows you to live and work within the UK for three years to establish a presence within the country.

Our highly skilled team at GSN Immigration offers the best immigration advice in London for Sole Representative Visas. Get in touch with our online immigration advice service today to get started.

What is a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?

The Sole Representative Visa is a highly specialised visa explicitly designed to allow companies from abroad access to the UK to set up and manage the commercial branch of their business. The sole representative is a single senior individual that oversees and handles the foundations of a UK office, branch or expansion of a company run from anywhere else in the world.

What does it mean to be a Sole Representative?

If you are in the UK on a Sole Representative Visa, this indicates your specific status and purpose for living and working in the UK. It means you are running a branch of an existing business in the UK, making decisions about the business which can make the branch successful. As such, you’ll need to meet one or more of the following definitions:

  • The employee of a business run outside the UK with plans to create a branch or subsidiary within the UK
  • Senior management within a company with the authority, skills, and authorisation to make business decisions on behalf of their company
  • The employee of a broadcasting company, news agency or newspaper abroad

A sole representative can be the first individual to enter the country for their business or replace an existing sole representative who has left the UK permanently.

What are your responsibilities as a Sole Representative?

As a sole representative for your business, it is your responsibility to establish your company presence within the UK and make critical business decisions based on this foundation. Your employment contract, job description, and your company’s business plans will all be taken into consideration for the Home Office to decide whether you meet the requirements for this visa.

Preparing for your Sole Representative application

What are the eligibility requirements for Sole Representative Visas?

When you apply for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, you’ll be required to meet specific eligibility checks. These will apply both to your broader business and you as an individual, so proof must be provided in both cases.

Your company will need to provide proof of the following:

  • The company is active and trading in overseas locations
  • The HQ of the company continues to be established outside of the UK
  • Intention to open an office, branch or subsidiary within the UK

The sole representative will need to provide proof of the following:

  • Overseas recruitment for their company of employment
  • Plans to set up a UK presence on behalf of the company
  • Experience, skills, and knowledge of the company of employment and wider industry
  • Seniority of position within their company and ability to make independent business decisions
  • No control or major shareholder position within the company
  • Sufficient knowledge and skill in the English language
  • Funds required to support themselves and dependents during their stay in the UK

Provided you meet all eligibility standards required above, you’ll should be able to gather documents and choose to apply for the Sole Representative Visa on behalf of your company. If you’re unsure of some of the requirements, our specialised immigration advisers in London can help.

What documents will I need to submit for my Sole Representative Visa application?

As part of your application for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, both yourself and your company will need to provide a wide range of documents confirming eligibility to work and live in the UK.

Alongside documentation for proof, you’ll also need to provide the following:

  • Your passport and other relevant travel documentation
  • Evidence of funds to support yourself, such as bank statements
  • Information about your accommodation when you move to the UK
  • Proof of sufficient written and spoken English language skills
  • TB test results if relevant
  • A summary and overview of your company’s details, assets, liabilities, and accounts
  • A letter of confirmation of the intention to create a subsidiary or branch in the UK
  • Your salary, job description and proof of your seniority to make independent decisions
  • Proof of employment with your company
  • Proof of employment outside of the UK

As this process can be complex and long-winded, seeking the best immigration advice can help ensure all your paperwork is prepared, collated and ready for submission. Our immigration Lawyers are here to support you, so get in touch today to find out how we could help.

Can I bring dependents with me to the UK on a Sole Representative Visa?

The UK Sole Representative Visa allows you to bring your family members with you. Anyone who comes to the UK with you must have a Visa if the UK is not their home country. Dependents include spouses, partners, and children under the age of 18. If your dependents are directly involved in your company, such as if your spouse owns the majority, they may not be eligible to live in the UK. Please contact us to get case specific advice if you have any questions.

Applying for your Sole Representative Visa

What is the application process for the Sole Representative Visa?

Your application for your UK Sole Representative Visa is carried out online. You’ll need to ensure you are ready to provide biometrics information as part of your application. At this point, you’ll also need to provide all documentation and proof you’ve gathered. Everything should be translated into English for the Home Office to review if any of the documents are not in English language.

You’ll also need to provide proof of English proficiency at A1 level as part of your application. IELTS for UKVI is considered one of the secure English language tests you can complete ahead of time. Once completed, you’ll need to wait between four to six weeks for your application to be approved. The earliest you can apply is three months before you intend to travel. You may be exempt from meeting the English language requirement if you are either from a majority English language speaking country or have completed a qualification in English language.

What business plans do I need to submit when I apply for a Sole Representative Visa?

To be approved for a Sole Rep Visa, you will need to submit a detailed business plan. This includes the main objectives and reasons why you are choosing to expand into the UK. Your business plan must be clear and details plans to open your branch. You should also state that your HQ and centre of operations will remain outside the UK.

Poor business plans are a key reason many visa applications fail. If you’re struggling to produce a suitable business plan in English, working with a team that specialises in immigration advice in London is the ideal choice for you. Get in touch with our immigration lawyers in the UK today to discuss how we can help you in preparation for your Sole Representative Visa application.

How much will my application for the Sole Representative Visa cost?

The cost of your Sole Representative Visa will vary depending on whether you are applying inside or outside the UK. If you are in the UK, you will pay £610 for your application. Outside of the UK, you’ll pay £704.

After your successful Sole Representative application

How long can I stay on a Sole Representative Visa?

The initial application for the Sole Representative Visa allows you to live and work in the UK for three years. You can then request an extension for a further two years, at which point you may choose to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain to reside in the UK permanently. You can then apply for British nationality after six years if you would like to do so.

What conditions apply to my UK stay as a sole representative?

When you stay in the UK as a sole representative, certain conditions will apply. You will be unable to access public funds in any capacity. You will not be able to do your own business or business on behalf of a third party outside of your company of employment. You may also need to register with the UK police if required.

How can I extend my Sole Representative visa?

If you’d like to extend your visa as a sole representative beyond the initial three years, you can do so for a further two years. You’ll need to provide proof of eligibility, and a fee of £704 will be charged for the extension, plus the cost of biometric data. This visa extension will also apply to all dependents, and you will receive confirmation of approval within eight weeks of application unless you opt for super priority service which means you can receive your visa within 24 working hours.

You’ll need to be working for the same company, be living in the UK, and the company must have a registered address within the UK for your application to be successful. You’ll also need to prove that you are working to stabilise the company within the UK.

Why work with qualified immigration advisers in London for your application?

If you plan on applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, seeking expert help can ensure you complete the process right the first time. As highly qualified immigration lawyers based in the UK, we can advise you on your application to achieve the best possible outcome. Our team of immigration lawyers in London are on hand to support you in your visa application. Get in touch today to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions for Sole Representative Visas

Can I be the major shareholder in my business?

Sole representatives can be shareholders, but they cannot be majority shareholders with more than 50% of shares in their parent company.

Can my dependent work in the UK on Sole Rep dependent visa?

Yes, your spouse can take up employment without needing to apply for a work permit. Also if you have children they can study at a school in the UK without you having to pay any school fee as UK public schools offer free education to the children.

Can multiple people apply for Sole Representative Visas in my company?

A sole representative is a single person, which means that only one person from each company may hold this visa. If you would like to send more employees to the UK, you will need to apply for a sponsor licence following the establishment of your branch. This allows employees to follow the skilled worker visa route to work in the UK.

How has Brexit changed the Sole Representative Visa application?

Brexit has essentially levelled the playing field when you apply for a Sole Representative Visa, with no benefits or alternative routes available for EU companies and citizens. For businesses in STEM fields, the new immigration policies may provide an advantage to seeking to open a branch or subsidiary within the UK.

Can I use the Sole Representative Visa to relocate a company to the UK?

A Sole Representative Visa is exclusively for setting up branches of companies from overseas in the UK. This permission does not allow you to move your operations or HQ to the Britain.

What we can do for you for a successful visa 

We can give you detailed advice about the required documentary evidence and about the business plan. We can put the application together in an organised way that will give you the best possible chance of success. 

We will prepare your application for the Representative of an overseas business Visa application for the UK with your dependents, if any. The forms and documentation may vary slightly depending on where you apply from and what your circumstances are, but we will make sure you have all the correct documents to submit with your application and how you can meet each of the requirements for the visa. We are here to ensure all goes well and that your visa application has the best chance of success.

Not all applicants will need to meet all the requirements above and we will provide a Person and Country Specific Document Checklist so that you can gather the required documents according to your circumstances.

We will complete all the relevant application forms for you and provide you country specific guidance. 

We will ensure we are with you from the very start and up until you receive a decision on your application. Sometimes applications are delayed and we can liaise with the Home Office or UKVI on your behalf.

Why not give us a call and discover that we are the best Immigration lawyers in London to handle your Representative of an overseas business Visa Application. We work with clients all over the world, wherever you are we are here to help. We have clients from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Tanzania, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, USA, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, Brazil, Columbia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Vietnam, China, Russia to name a few.

Our Immigration Lawyers / Consultants are multi lingual and can discuss your case with you in English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin, Malay, Russian, Tamil, Spanish.

Please call us on +44 208 150 6709 for an initial chat to discover we are the right firm for you, and speak to an experienced Immigration Lawyer / Adviser to bring your matter to a successful conclusion. Alternatively you can Email us on

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