Sole Representative of an Overseas Business

Come to the UK to set up a Branch or Subsidiary of an Overseas Business or on a Long Term Press Assignment

You can make a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa application if you are from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland and you are either: 

  • the Sole Representative of an Overseas Company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

If you are coming to the UK as a Sole Representative you must:

  • Be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK and will continue to be outside the UK
  • Have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • Hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder). You must have full authority to make decisions on its behalf. The person cannot work for another business while in the UK
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK. For instance, this could be a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
  • You must not be a majority shareholder of the parent company
  • Unless you are from an English speaking country, you must have basic English Skills
  • You must be able to maintain and accommodate yourself without using public funds in the UK 
  • The Home Office will be looking at whether the application is 'genuine'.  This is a recent tightening up of the rules.  The Home Office will refuse an application if it considers that the new branch or subsidiary in the UK is "established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the applicant”.

Individual circumstances

You may also be eligible if the company has just a legal entity in the UK that does not employ staff or transact business yet.

If your company has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet set up, you can replace a previous Sole Representative.

Your Representative of an Overseas Business Visa allows you to stay for an initial period of 3 years and you can then extend your stay for a further 2 years. 

After you’ve been in the UK for 5 years as a Sole Representative, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and permission to settle permanently in the UK.

Working with us on your Representative of an Overseas Business application

  • We will assess whether you fit the criteria for the Sole Representative Visa. We are honest in our work - if we believe the application will fail, we will tell you.
  • Discussions will involve any changes the parent company may have to make to its structure to meet the criteria for this Visa.
  • You will need to provide specific evidence to ensure your application is successful. We will work together to gather this essential evidence.
  • We will submit the application online and provide the UK Home Office with the correct evidence. 
  • At the same time, we can make applications for your family to join you now or later on. 
  • In addition, we can assist you to extend your visa if you need to. 

Many entrepreneurs find this visa is a good alternative to the Innovator Visa.

How does the process work?

We have broad experience with visa applications to the UK from abroad. Our experienced lawyers can do all the work for you once we have the information and evidence we need. We will submit the application and evidence. You simply attend an appointment at the nearest visa application centre in your country and wait for the decision which should arrive within 3 weeks.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I have been asked to come to the UK as a Sales Representative for a company in Brazil. I work for myself and I have other jobs I want to do in the UK. Can I do this with a Sole Representative Visa?

No. You must be employed by the company in Brazil and work full time for them. You must not take other work in the UK.  

I am here as a Tier 4 Student. I have been offered a job by an Indian company to set up a branch company in the UK. Can I just switch visas? 

No. You cannot switch into the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa category from another type of visa within the UK. You would have to leave the UK and re-enter. However, you must still show that you are sufficiently senior or have sufficient experience to meet the criteria for the Sole Representative visa. 

I need to come to the UK to meet with potential customers with a view to setting up a subsidiary company. Do I need a Sole Representative Visa?

No, you can apply for a short term Standard Visit Visa. This allows you to carry out certain business activities such as meetings, negotiating and signing contracts.

Get in touch
Come to the UK to set up a Branch or Subsidiary of an Overseas Business or on a Long Term Press Assignment
If you are an overseas entrepreneur thinking about setting up business in the UK, it is worth calling or emailing us to discuss your options. We offer a free initial consultation.
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