Sole Representative Visas – A Guide
For overseas businesses looking to send employees to the UK, there are many visa options to consider. The Sole Representative Visa permits companies to send a single employee to the UK to set up a branch or subsidiary.
There are many advantages to the Sole Representative Visa making it a desirable entry route, but the eligibility requirements are strict, and place heavy restrictions on the nominated individual and type of activity that can be carried out when in the UK.
Applicants can apply to enter the UK as a Representative of an Overseas Business (also known as a Sole Representative visa) if they are from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland and they are either;
- a sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company for the first time in the UK or;
- an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long term assignment to the UK
To be eligible for this visa as a Sole Representative applicants must;
- Apply from outside the EEA;
- Be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principle place of business are outside the UK;
- Have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
- Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK
- Be a senior employee and not a majority shareholder
- Not have a representative already in the UK
- Meet the required level of the English language (see further information below)
- Have sufficient funds to support themselves
Knowledge of the English Language
You can prove your knowledge of English by either:
- passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
- having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD
You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways.
Length and Conditions of stay in the UK
Leave to enter is granted for 3 years with a further extension of 2 years if certain conditions are met.
Applicants are only permitted to work in the UK in relation their role as the overseas representative and must remain employed by the overseas company.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
This visa category can lead to settlement once an applicant has completed a period of 5 years and can show that they meet certain criteria. Applicants will be eligible to apply for British citizenship after a further year of obtaining a settlement visa.
Are Dependants allowed under this Category?
Applicants are allowed to come with or be joined by their dependants i.e. spouse/partner (unmarried partners must show 2 years cohabitation) and children under the age of 18 at the date of the visa application. Dependants need to show that the main applicant can maintain and accommodate them without recourse to public funds.
How long you can stay
A Representative of an Overseas Business visa can be extended for up to 2 years after the original visa duration of 3 years.
Your visa can be extended for 3 years if your previous Representative of an Overseas Business visa was issued before 1 October 2009.
You can apply to settle once you have been in the UK for 5 years and you have an ongoing job with the same company.
For each person applying, you’ll need to pay:
- £704 to extend this visa
- the healthcare surcharge – You will need to check how much you need to pay
- £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken
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This publication provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice or seek to be an exhaustive statement of the law. Specific legal advice on any matter raised in this publication should be obtained. If you do require advice, please get in touch with your usual contact at Hallmark Solicitors. We will be happy to assist.