Sole Representative Visa

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Apply for Sole Representative

The Sole Representative Visa is for those individuals who apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business.

The advantage of this category is that the individual is not required to have any defined financial resources with which to establish the UK branch, as it is expected that the parent company would provide the necessary capital. Furthermore, by sending an individual to the UK to act as a representative it must be for the benefit of the organization and not for the benefit of the candidate. So the funds allocated to the representative cannot be too unrealistic in the terms of its size, trading activities or the prospect of profitability.

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Sole Representative Visa

You can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business if you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and you are either:

  • The sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary where the headquarters are located overseas
  • An employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or road casting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

To be eligible for this type of visa to enter the UK you must be able to show that:

  • Recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • Have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • Hold a senior position within the company (but you are not a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK (a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary)

You may also be eligible if the company has a legal entity in the UK that does not employ staff or transact business.

Your company has been working to establish a branch but it is not yet set up, you can replace a previous representative.

News agents can come if they are assigned on a long-term assignment.

Also, you will need to provide:

  • Bank statements that you have at least £945 for the duration of 90 days prior to the application date. In other words, this is meant to show that you can support and accommodate yourself for the first month.
  • Proof that you meet the English Language requirement
  • Your tuberculosis test results
  • Details of where you will be staying during your stay

When applying as a sole representative you will need to show:

  • A full description of the parent company’s activities, including details of assets and accounts
  • A letter confirming the overseas company will establish a branch (or a wholly owned subsidiary) in the UK operating the same business as the parent company
  • Your job description, employment contract and salary details
  • A letter confirming you are familiar with how the company operates and that you have the power to make decisions
  • Directly employed by the company
  • Were recruited outside the UK, hold a senior position
  • Are not a majority shareholder
  • Will be working full-time for the company for the duration of your stay

Newspaper, news agency or broadcast employees will need to show:

  • A full description of the parent company’s activities, including details of assets and accounts
  • Confirmation that you will be representing them in the UK in a long term, full-time role
Sole Representative Extensions

To be eligible for a possible extensions after the initial 3 years of residence, you will be expected to show that:

  • You are still the current sole representative of the branch in the UK
  • Still working for the same employers
  • You are still working to establish the company’s first presence in the UK
  • Your employer’s principle place of business is still outside the UK

A representative of an overseas business can extend his visa for up to 2 years after the initial visa duration of 3 years

Your visa can be extended for 3 years if your previous sole representative visa was issued before 1st October 2009

You can apply to settle once you have been in the UK or 5 years and you haven an ongoing job with the same company.

Settlement in the UK as a Sole Representative

The necessary documents for an Entrepreneur to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK

  • You are still the Sole Representative of the company
  • The parent company is still outside the UK
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Proof of English (IELTS 4.0, UK Bachelor’s degree or be a national of a majority English speaking country (e.g. Canada, USA and etc.)
  • Proof that you have generated business from the branch or subsidiary
  • Evidence of an overseas business

Upon a successful application you can apply for British Citizenship after 12 months (in total 6 years of residency). However, if you wish to apply for a British Citizenship you should not leave more than 90 days per one year

Apply for Settlement (ILR) after 5 years of residency in the UK.
FAQ – Sole Representative Visa
Is it possible to apply with someone else?

No, there can be only one Sole Representative per company. However, it is possible to change the existing sole representative with another one.

How much funds will I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring an amount that does not seem to disproportionate in terms of starting a branch. In other words, the amount of money must reflect the need to start a branch and not be to big.

Do I need to prove that I can use the money?

Yes, you will need proof from your company that you can use the money and you are allowed to make decisions on how the money can be used for your employers company’s branch.

How long will I be able to stay in the UK?

Initial applications last for 3 years and extensions are available later on.

Is it possible to leave the UK during the visa period?

Yes, you can spend time outside the UK. However, if your aim is to receive a British Passport you should try not to leave the UK for more than 90 days.

Is settlement allowed?

Yes, you can apply for settlement (ILR) in the UK. As long as you are still the sole representative in the UK, the company headquarters are still based outside the UK and the branch is still establishing its first commercial appearance in the UK.

Can I acquire funds from anywhere else?

If the funds are for you personal use as maintenance you may. However, for the sake of opening the branch, the money should only come directly from the parent company.

The company’s circumstances have changed will this affect me?

If you have been in the UK for at least two years and the company, for example appoints a superior, you will be able to stay in the UK

Is there any restrictions on this visa?

You cannot work in any other business or stay in the UK if your company appoints a new sole representative.

Can anyone else apply for this type of visa?

Yes, you can apply for this type of visa if you are the employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation. However, you have to be posted here on a long-term assignment.

Can I bring my family members with me?

Yes, under this visa you can bring your family members. Nonetheless, the people whom you can bring are: your husband, wife or partner and children under the age of 18.

When should I consider applying for settlement and/or British citizenship?

You can apply to settle in the UK after 5 years of residence. However, you will have to satisfy the relevant criteria regarding your workplace, your status as a Sole Representative, prove your English Language Skills and pass the Life in The UK test. For British Citizenship, can apply 1 year after receiving your settlement (ILR). However, you should aim not to leave the country more than 90 days per year during this 6 year period.

Is switching allowed in this type of visa?

No, switching is unavailable.

Is an owner qualified to be a representative?

No, if you are the owner of the company or a major shareholder (over 50%) you cannot apply as a representative. Furthermore, senior employees are preferred.

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