Representative of an Overseas Business

Representative of an Overseas Business

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa – also referred to as a Sole Rep – allows a senior employee of an overseas business to come to the UK to set up and run a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of the overseas parent company.  Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be achieved after five years in the Representative of an Overseas Business visa category.

Requirements for a Sole Rep

In order to qualify as a Sole Rep, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are recruited and employed outside of the UK by a company which is based outside of the UK
  • You have extensive experience and knowledge of the relevant industry
  • The company is a genuine, trading business
  • The company has no branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK
  • You intend to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK, operating in the same type of business as the overseas business
  • You intend this to be the company’s first commercial presence in the UK
  • The company intends to maintain the centre of its operations overseas
  • You hold a senior position within the company and have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company
  • You are a minority shareholder
  • You do not intend to take employment other than for your business
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents
  • You meet the required level of English language ability to at least CEFR Level A1 (speaking and listening)
Family members

You may bring, or be joined by, your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner and any children under the age of 18.  Unfortunately, a Sole Rep cannot bring their parents, siblings or other extended family members.

Initial grant

A Sole Rep visa is initially valid for three years, but applicants can also extend for a further two years, subject to meeting all of the extension requirements.

Representative of an Overseas Business
Sole Rep extension application

In order to apply for an extension as a representative of an overseas business, you must satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • You are employed full-time as the representative of the overseas business
  • You have established and are in charge of its registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary
  • The overseas business still has its headquarters and principal place of business outside of the United Kingdom
  • You have generated business in the UK, on behalf of your employer since your last grant of leave
  • You are still required for the employment in question and are in receipt of a salary
  • You can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds
Indefinite Leave to Remain

After five years’ continuous residence in the UK, you may qualify for settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and subsequently for UK citizenship. Your dependent wife and children can also apply for settlement in line with your application.

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