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Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

This category is intended for overseas businesses seeking to establish a commercial presence in the
UK. It allows a senior employee of the overseas business to set up and run a UK branch or wholly
owned subsidiary of the overseas parent company in the UK.
INITIAL APPLICATIONS
For initial applications, you will need to demonstrate that the overseas parent company:
 Is an active and trading overseas business;
 Has, and will continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the
United Kingdom; 
 Has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK;
 Intends to establish and operate a branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK:
o That branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as the
overseas business;
o That branch or subsidiary cannot be established solely for the purpose of facilitating
the entry and stay of the sole representative; and
 Intends to maintain the centre of its operations overseas
You will need to demonstrate that you:
 Are genuinely employed by the overseas company, holding a senior position with full
authority to make decisions on behalf of the company (but not be a majority shareholder)
 have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
 intend to work full-time for the organisation
 do not intend to take any other employment other than for the business
 can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse
to public funds
 meet the required standard in English language at A1 Level
If successful, you will be granted leave to enter and remain in the UK for up to 3 years. A further
extension application can be submitted and once you have accumulated 5 years in the UK under this
category, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) subject to meeting the requirements.
Which businesses can establish UK branch or subsidiary?
The overseas parent company must be an active and trading overseas business. It must have, and
intend to continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK. The
business will be ineligible if setting up the branch or subsidiary in the UK would involve the business
effectively moving the centre of its business operations to the UK. An application for a Sole
Representative visa will be refused if the intention is to move the main centre of business to the UK
and effectively cease trading outside the UK.
An employee of the parent company will also not qualify under this category if the parent company
already has a branch, subsidiary, or other representative in the UK.
Once established, the branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK will need to be actively trading in
the same type of business as the parent company.

Who qualifies as a “Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa”?

You must genuinely be an existing senior employee of the parent company and will need to
demonstrate that you have the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge of the overseas business
to undertake the role of sole representative of the overseas business in the UK. You must have full
authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business and must
genuinely intend to be employed full-time as a representative of the overseas business. You must
not engage in business of your own or represent any other business interest in the UK.
Can the sole representative be a shareholder?
You must not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, the overseas business, whether
that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole
proprietorship, or any other arrangement.
You can be a shareholder; however, you must not own more than 50% of the available shares in the
business at the point of application. Current majority shareholders may qualify for a Sole
Representative visa if they decrease their shareholding prior to applying. However, the company
share distribution in both the current and the previous year will be taken into consideration.
What are the conditions of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa?
You must comply with certain conditions of your stay. You cannot:
 work for yourself or any other business
 stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement has ended by the parent company
 receive public funds
Under this visa category, you can apply to bring or be joined by your spouse, civil partner, unmarried
or same-sex partner and any children under the age of 18. You must ensure that your partner does
not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, the overseas business.
EXTENSION APPLICATIONS
To qualify for an extension of stay in this category, the following requirements must be met.
The overseas business must:
 Continue to have its headquarters and principle place of business outside the UK
 Show that the business is continuing to trade
 Be involved in the same business sector as of the branch/wholly owned subsidiary in the UK
 Certify that the sole representative continues to be required for employment in the UK
The sole representative applicant will need to:
 Provide evidence that they have established the business in the UK by providing either:
o a certificate of registration, for a branch or
o If a wholly owned subsidiary then a certificate of incorporation and either a share
register or a letter from the company’s accountant, confirming that all shares are
held by the parent company

 Demonstrate that they have managed to secure business with UK based firms since being
appointed as a sole representative (through company accounts, invoices, reference letter
etc.)
 Remain employed on a full-time basis as a senior employee and continue to have full
authority to make decisions on behalf of overseas business in the UK
 Provide evidence that they have been in receipt of a salary in the 12 months prior to the
extension application
 Show that they can continue to maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants
without recourse to public funds

SETTLEMENT
After five years in the UK as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business, you may be eligible to
apply for settlement. You must continue to meet the requirements for an extension of stay. In
addition, you will also need to show that:

 you have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK,
 you have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and
 you have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five
years prior to the date of application.

HOW WE CAN HELP
The exact requirements and documents required for each application will vary depending on your
circumstances.
Our experienced lawyers can help to:
 Prepare an initial application
 Prepare a detailed and thorough business plan including financial forecasts
 Prepare you for interview
 Prepare an extension application
 Prepare a settlement application; and
 Challenge decisions by way of Administrative Review or other appeal processes
We will assist by:
 obtaining the complete facts of a case
 collecting relevant documents
 advising on the best solutions
 using our expertise to undertake one-to-one interview preparation
 preparing the application (including completion of forms)
 preparing covering submissions
 submitting the application(s) to the relevant authority
 communicating with the relevant authority until a decision is made
 advising about rights and entitlements following a decision an application
 providing follow up support and services
CONTACT US
DESCARTES SOLICITORS is recognised as one of the leading multi-practice firms in the UK. Our
specialist immigration team will advise, prepare, and submit high-quality visa applications for
applicants and their dependent family members. Contact our lawyers on 0208 995 3556/0844 556
9901 or e-mail info@descartessolicitors.co.uk.
LINK TO UKVI GUIDANCE
https://www.gov.uk/representative-overseas-business

gory is intended for overseas businesses seeking to establish a commercial presence in the UK. It allows a senior employee of the overseas business to set up and run a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas parent company in the UK.

INITIAL APPLICATIONS

For initial applications, you will need to demonstrate that the overseas parent company:

  • Is an active and trading overseas business;
  • Has, and will continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the United Kingdom; 
  • Has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK;
  • Intends to establish and operate a branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK:
    • That branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as the overseas business;
    • That branch or subsidiary cannot be established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the sole representative; and
  • Intends to maintain the centre of its operations overseas

You will need to demonstrate that you:

  • Are genuinely employed by the overseas company, holding a senior position with full authority to make decisions on behalf of the company (but not be a majority shareholder)
  • have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • intend to work full-time for the organisation
  • do not intend to take any other employment other than for the business
  • can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds
  • meet the required standard in English language at A1 Level

If successful, you will be granted leave to enter and remain in the UK for up to 3 years. A further extension application can be submitted and once you have accumulated 5 years in the UK under this category, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) subject to meeting the requirements.

Which businesses can establish UK branch or subsidiary?

The overseas parent company must be an active and trading overseas business.  It must have, and intend to continue to have, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK.  The business will be ineligible if setting up the branch or subsidiary in the UK would involve the business effectively moving the centre of its business operations to the UK.  An application for a Sole Representative visa will be refused if the intention is to move the main centre of business to the UK and effectively cease trading outside the UK.

An employee of the parent company will also not qualify under this category if the parent company already has a branch, subsidiary, or other representative in the UK. 

Once established, the branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK will need to be actively trading in the same type of business as the parent company.

Who qualifies as a “Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa”?

You must genuinely be an existing senior employee of the parent company and will need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge of the overseas business to undertake the role of sole representative of the overseas business in the UK. You must have full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business and must genuinely intend to be employed full-time as a representative of the overseas business.  You must not engage in business of your own or represent any other business interest in the UK.

Can the sole representative be a shareholder?

You must not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, the overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship, or any other arrangement.

You can be a shareholder; however, you must not own more than 50% of the available shares in the business at the point of application. Current majority shareholders may qualify for a Sole Representative visa if they decrease their shareholding prior to applying.  However, the company share distribution in both the current and the previous year will be taken into consideration.

What are the conditions of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

You must comply with certain conditions of your stay. You cannot:

  • work for yourself or any other business
  • stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement has ended by the parent company
  • receive public funds

Under this visa category, you can apply to bring or be joined by your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner and any children under the age of 18. You must ensure that your partner does not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, the overseas business.

EXTENSION APPLICATIONS

To qualify for an extension of stay in this category, the following requirements must be met.

The overseas business must:

  • Continue to have its headquarters and principle place of business outside the UK
  • Show that the business is continuing to trade
  • Be involved in the same business sector as of the branch/wholly owned subsidiary in the UK
  • Certify that the sole representative continues to be required for employment in the UK

The sole representative applicant will need to:

  • Provide evidence that they have established the business in the UK by providing either:
    •  a certificate of registration, for a branch or
    • If a wholly owned subsidiary then a certificate of incorporation and either a share register or a letter from the company’s accountant, confirming that all shares are held by the parent company
  • Demonstrate that they have managed to secure business with UK based firms since being appointed as a sole representative (through company accounts, invoices, reference letter etc.)
  • Remain employed on a full-time basis as a senior employee and continue to have full authority to make decisions on behalf of overseas business in the UK
  • Provide evidence that they have been in receipt of a salary in the 12 months prior to the extension application
  • Show that they can continue to maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds

SETTLEMENT

After five years in the UK as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business, you may be eligible to apply for settlement.  You must continue to meet the requirements for an extension of stay. In addition, you will also need to show that:

  • you have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK,
  • you have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and
  • you have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five years prior to the date of application.

HOW WE CAN HELP

The exact requirements and documents required for each application will vary depending on your circumstances.

Our experienced lawyers can help to:

  • Prepare an initial application
  • Prepare a detailed and thorough business plan including financial forecasts
  • Prepare you for interview
  • Prepare an extension application
  • Prepare a settlement application; and
  • Challenge decisions by way of Administrative Review or other appeal processes

We will assist by:

  • obtaining the complete facts of a case
  • collecting relevant documents
  • advising on the best solutions
  • using our expertise to undertake one-to-one interview preparation
  • preparing the application (including completion of forms)
  • preparing covering submissions
  • submitting the application(s) to the relevant authority
  • communicating with the relevant authority until a decision is made
  • advising about rights and entitlements following a decision an application
  • providing follow up support and services

CONTACT US

DESCARTES SOLICITORS is recognised as one of the leading multi-practice firms in the UK. Our specialist immigration team will advise, prepare, and submit high-quality visa applications for applicants and their dependent family members. Contact our lawyers on 0208 995 3556/0844 556 9901 or e-mail info@descartessolicitors.co.uk.

LINK TO UKVI GUIDANCE

https://www.gov.uk/representative-overseas-business