Sole Representative Visa

Effective from 11 April 2022

The Home Office has confirmed that effective from 9AM on 11 April 2022, the Sole Representative visa route will be closed to new applicants.

Self Sponsorship is a good alternative to consider if you’re considering business opportunities within the UK. A UK Sponsor is not required and this can lead to permanent residency and British citizenship for yourself and your family.

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa UK

For overseas nationals wanting to work in the UK for their company or expand their business into the UK, the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, (mostly referred to as a Sole Representative Visa) provides a strong solution. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for three years, and to bring your dependents to the UK where they can work without restriction.

Businesses based overseas can take advantage of the Sole Representative Visa to establish a presence in Britain to test the market, without the overheads associated with setting up a branch office and hiring local staff.

As the fifth-largest economy in the world, the UK offers vast opportunities for innovative organisations ready to expand. For example, the British High Commissioner to India recently stated the UK and India tech industries were a “marriage made in heaven ”. One way to take advantage of the prospects available in Britain is to send a sole representative to ‘dip their toe in the water’, before making a full commitment.

What is the Sole Representative Visa

The Sole Representative Visa (also referred as Representative of an Overseas Business Visa) allows overseas companies to set up a commercial presence of their business in the UK by sending over a senior representative (Sole representative) to the UK.

The Sole Representative Visa offers Indian or any overseas companies to set up a branch or subsidiary of their parent company in the UK.

Who can be a Sole Representative?

A Sole representative applying to the UK must be an overseas national who is:

  • An (employee) of a business outside of the UK planning to set up either a branch or a subsidiary in the UK.
  • A senior member of the company but not the owner and has enough skills and authority to make business decisions on the company’s behalf.
  • Replacing a previous sole representative.
  • An employee of a newspaper, news agency or broadcasting company outside the UK.

Responsibilities of the Sole Representative Visa

The sole representative is responsible for establishing a branch or subsidiary of the overseas business and making key business decisions on its behalf. The entry clearance officers also take into account:

  • The employment contract of the Sole representative
  • Job description of the Sole representative
  • Overseas company’s current and future business plans

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Sole Representative Visa?

To be eligible for a Sole Representative Visa, you must provide proof that:

The organisation:

  • Is an active and trading overseas business
  • Has and will continue to have its headquarters and centre of operations based outside the UK
  • Intends to open and operate a branch office or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK
    The applicant genuinely
  • Was recruited overseas by the parent company
  • Is setting up the organisation’s initial presence in the UK
  • Has a great deal of experience, skills, and knowledge of the parent company and its industry
  • Holds a senior position in the company and can make independent decisions on the parent company’s behalf
  • Is not a major shareholder or have any significant control or stakeholding in the business via a partnership agreement or sole ownership
  • Has the required knowledge of English
  • Has sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents during their leave to remain

How long can you stay on a Sole Representative Visa?

Once your Sole Representative Visa application has been approved, you’ll be eligible to enter the UK and stay to expand your business for 3 years after which you can extend your stay by submitting a leave to remain application. This will further push your stay in the UK for 2 more years.

After 5 years of representing an Indian business in the UK as a senior employee, you can apply for Indefinite leave to remain(ILR) and settle permanently in the UK.

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