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February 12, 2020

Sole Representative Visa: Set of Criteria whether applicant is not able to qualify for the visa

Sole Representative Visa is visa category which allows a company overseas to send a senior employee to the UK with the view of setting up a UK branch of an existing company (but not actively trading) or a wholly own subsidiary of that company in the UK.

In order to be eligible for this visa, applicant must be recruited from outside the UK and employed outside the UK by the company who is intending on setting up branch or subsidiary in the UK.  Applicant must be experienced in their field and be a senior employee of the company who has full authority to make decisions on behalf of the company.

The applicant must be able to speak English to level A1 of CEFR as a minimum requirement, they can take an IELTS Life Skills exam. If applicant is applying from certain countries, then they might need to have a tuberculosis test obtained no longer than 6 months prior of submission of visa application.  The applicant will need to show that they are able to financially maintain themselves and any dependants in the UK.

Applicant owns a significant share of the overseas business

Sole Representative Visa route is for business owners who holds no more than 50% of shares of overseas company and/or employees of companies to come to the UK and set up an entity in the UK. However, if applicant recently sold their shares and decreased total amount of shares hold, then they are required to explain the actions and reason behind of it, also if family husband and wife jointly hold more than 50% of shares in overseas company, then Home Office most likely to refused the visa application, regardless if one of the partner will stay in their home country and another will apply for the visa.

Applicant has insufficient evidence of employment

Some countries have different documentary systems or receive funds in different ways to the UK. It’s common in Asia, such as China, for example, for applicants to not have payslips or proof of regular payments into their bank account which would evidence employment for the parent company.  It is possible to find alternative ways of documenting proof of employment; however, Home Office would normally need to provide evidence of regular benefit received from the company.

Applicant has no documents from Overseas Company: Business Plan, Financial Statements and etc

It is expected that if applicant is setting up a subsidiary company in the UK, then they will have proper plans for this, and these will be detailed business plan, financial statements for recent 2 years and other documents such as Letter of intention from the company. Failure to properly identify the intentions of the company may cause Home Office to suspect the genuineness of the application.

There are key objective tests that need to be met:

  • Having a minimum amount of money for maintenance
  • Meeting the English language requirement
  • Meeting the TB requirements as necessary
  • Explained structure of the company and the employee role
  • Explained employer relationship
  • Explained full picture about ownership and how the employee has authority to make major decisions within the UK


You can request 15 minutes free consultation from our immigration lawyers; it will be conducted over the phone only.

Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner).

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