At the Office

Sole Representative Visa

The Sole Representative Visa route is closed to new applicants, other than representatives of media organisations.  For non-media executives being posted to the UK, companies now need to use the 'UK Expansion Worker' route within the Global Mobility Visa scheme. 

 

Sole Representaives are senior employees, but not majority owners, of non-UK companies, sent to establish a UK branch/subsidiary.  

 

Get in touch if you, or one of your staff, would like this visa.

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

(Other than for representives of Media Organisations, this route is closed to new applciants, and is replaced by the 'UK Expansion Worker' part of the  Global Mobility Visa scheme)


 

The main way for businesses to send staff to the UK is the Skilled Worker or ICT visa.  But to obtain such visas, there must be a UK business that can qualify for a Sponsor Licence.  In many cases, that UK business cannot be opened without sending an expat to set up the branch/subsidiary.  The Sole Representative Visa can be used to send that initial expat.  Successful applicants will usually be granted a 3 year visa, which is extendable.  After a total of 5 years as a Sole Representative, you may become eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The visa is not intended for entrepreneurs, and can not be used to send to the UK a majority owner of the overseas business.  If you are an overseas business owner and want to come to the UK, get in touch. We can help with other visa options.

To discuss a Sole Representative Visa application, when you get in touch with us, please provide:

A) Details of the Overseas business

 

  • Its accounts.

  • Nature of business (a website may be enough to show this).

  • Ownership.

  • Number of staff (if there are under 50, it can help to provide an organisation chart).

  • Office or other premises lease/licence/title deeds.

B) Details of your plans for the UK

 

  • The existing senior employee you want to send to the UK.

  • Your plans.

  • Confirmation that you do not yet have an active branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK.

  • Confirmation that the UK business will not become the Headquarters of the business (i.e. that the overseas business will continue to have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the United Kingdom).

  • The level of authority that the Sole Representative will have in the UK (they should be a senior executive with full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business in the UK).

To make a successful Sole Representative visa application, we will need to show that the overseas business has not been established, nor the sole representative appointed, mainly for the convenience of the individual (i.e. that there is a genuine underlying business, which does not exist simply as a way to help the sole representative come to the UK).

We will also need to show that the proposed Sole Representative:

 

  • Has the skills, experience and knowledge of the business necessary to run its proposed UK operations.

  • Will be paid an appropriate amount, with their base salary (without commission or performance payments) enough to support themselves and any dependants.

 

  • Intends to work full-time in their role as representative of the overseas business / manager of their new UK operations (they are not allowed to  engage in business of their own or work for any other business). If the Sole Representative has previously been in the UK for work unrelated to the overseas business, the fact should be addressed to give the Home Office confidence in this area.

 

  • Does not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, a majority of the overseas business. 

  • Meets the English Language requirements: English language ability to at least CEFR Level A1 (speaking and listening).

  • Meets the Maintenance Requirements.  There is no set sum that has to be proved, but we must show that the Sole Representative will be able to accommodate and maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.

Switching into the Sole Representative Visa

Sole Representative visa applications are usually submitted from outside the UK, but it is also possible to switch into the Sole Representative visa route from within the UK provided you do not have, or were not last granted, permission to stay as a Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.