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December 7, 2020

Sole Representative Visa: Genuine Entrepreneur Test and its requirements

From 4th June 2020 the UK drastically tightened the requirements surrounding the sole representative visa and has inserted an additional requirement of “genuineness”.

Applications for a sole representative visa will need to include a “genuineness assessment” as to the applicant’s intention to genuinely meet the Rules. And the Home Office conducts a subjective assessment to determine whether the applicant does “genuinely” meet those Rules.

Additional requirements for a Sole Representative Visa

  • The Rules now require the applicant to have “relevant skills, experience, and knowledge of the business”. These are assessed by the Home Office who will consider all the circumstances and evidence provided.
  • The branch or subsidiary should not be “established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and stay of the applicant”.
  • If you are a partner of someone who holds a majority shareholding, then you will no longer be able to apply for a sole representative visa.

What is the Genuine Entrepreneur Test?

Out of all UK visa applications, the entrepreneur visa has one of the highest refusal rates. One of the most often used reasons for refusal is failure to satisfy the genuine entrepreneur test. So, what is required and how do you pass it?

To pass the test, you must demonstrate to the Home Office that:

  • There is a genuine intention to invest money into the business you want to establish, take-over or join
  • The money is genuinely available and will remain so until such time as it has been used for the benefit of the business
  • That you have honestly invested all or part of the funds set aside for investment where you have relied on one or more prior investments to score points
  • You will be solely working in your business and have no intention of taking other employment

The Home Office will take into account when making a Genuine Entrepreneur assessment, the following:

  • The evidence that is submitted
  • Viability and credibility of the source of the money
  • The viability and credibility of your business plan and any market research done that underpins those things within the chosen business sector
  • Any previous business experience and/or education
  • Immigration history and any previous activity within the UK
  • In cases of self-employed individuals, whether you have been registered as such within the UK or as a director of a business, the nature of the business where mandatory accreditation is required, and whether such things have been obtained
  • Depending upon the type of business and the individual, any other relevant information deemed appropriate or necessary.

The main focus of the Home Office is centered around the business plan and the applicant’s skills and experience in running their chosen business. It is essential the business plan shows your market research and competitor knowledge together with financial forecasts for at least the next three years.

Your knowledge of the business plan and its sector will be tested by the Home Office in interview and it would be a mistake to underestimate the amount of preparation which should be done beforehand. Merely having generic knowledge of your business sector and business plan is not going to be enough to pass the interview stage. The Home Office will ask you complex questions about the market research, business locations, your competitors and the financials (e.g. net profit, turnover, number of staff, salaries and expenses). If you are to successfully pass this stage, then you will be required to demonstrate an attention to detail and thorough knowledge of the business and your business plan.


Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration advisers regulated by OISC.

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration advisers in London Office, please contact us at or call +44 207 993 63 46.