Can I register a branch of my overseas company while on a tourist visa?

08 Dec 2023, 39 mins ago

Embarking on a journey to expand your business globally is an exciting prospect, but it comes with its fair share of challenges and considerations. One common question that arises for entrepreneurs is whether it’s possible to register a branch of an overseas company while on a tourist visa. In this blog, we will explore the complexities and possibilities surrounding this scenario.

Understanding Business Expansion:

Expanding your business to new territories often involves establishing a physical presence, and registering a branch is a common method to achieve this. Whilst each country has its own set of rules and regulations, attempting to register a company branch on a tourist visa raises several legal and practical concerns.

Most countries have specific visa categories for business purposes, such as business visas or investor visas. Tourist visas are generally designed for leisure and temporary stays, and engaging in business activities may be restricted. Attempting to register a company branch on a tourist visa could lead to legal consequences, including visa cancellation, fines, or even deportation.

Local Regulations and Requirements:

The requirements for establishing a branch vary significantly from country to country. In many cases, local authorities may require specific documents, proof of legal status and compliance with local business laws. Tourist visas typically do not provide the necessary permissions for engaging in commercial activities or forming business entities. Business visit visas in the UK, however, permit a limited range of activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, seminars, giving a one-off or short series of talks and speeches, negotiating and signing deals and contracts, etc.

You cannot carry out paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person as a visitor unless you apply for  a work visa.

Whilst registering a branch on a tourist visa may not be feasible, there may be alternative paths to explore, such as Expansion worker or Global Business Mobility categories in the UK. It is recommended to seek advice from immigration solicitors who are familiar with the regulations in the country where you wish to establish a branch, as they can guide you through the appropriate steps and help you navigate the legal landscape.

Expanding your overseas company is a complex process that requires careful consideration of legal requirements and regulations. Whilst the idea of registering a branch on a tourist visa might seem convenient, it is crucial to abide by local laws and seek appropriate visas for conducting business activities. Consultation with legal professionals and experts in the target country will provide valuable insights and ensure that your international expansion is both successful and legally compliant.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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