Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

Our immigration team has extensive experience of preparing successful Representative of an Overseas Business Visa applications (also known as a Sole Representative Visa).

IMPORTANT: The Sole Representative visa has now closed for new applicants. Those who currently hold an existing visa under this category are still able to apply to extend this visa, and when eligible, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

Having worked with the Home Office, we understand how carefully they will assess every application and if they deem that you do not meet the eligibility criteria, or if any of the requirements regarding the process or documentation have not been met, the application can be refused.  Our team will work diligently to ensure that your applications are successful.

What is the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, also known as the Sole Representative Visa, is a UK immigration category which allows overseas businesses which do not have a commercial presence in the UK to assign a senior employee to the UK for the purposes of establishing a branch or subsidiary.

The category also allows for an employee of an overseas media organisation to be posted to the UK on a long-term assignment.

Do I qualify for the Sole Representative Visa?

To qualify for a Sole Representative visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be either:
  1. a Sole Representative who is a senior employee of an overseas business, who is assigned to the UK to establish and supervise a branch or subsidiary of an overseas business, where that branch or subsidiary will actively trade in the same type of business as the overseas business; or
  2. a Media Representative who is posted on a long-term assignment to the UK on behalf of a newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.
  • The overseas employer that you represent must be active and trading outside the UK, with its headquarters and principal place of business remaining outside the UK;
  • You have been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the UK by the business you will represent;
  • You intend to work full-time as the representative of the overseas business or media organisation and do not intend to undertake work for any other business or engage in business of your own;
  • You have sufficient funds available to maintain yourself and your family in the UK; and
  • You meet the English language requirement.

If applying as a Sole Representative, you must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • You are a senior employee of the overseas business with the skills, experience and knowledge of the business necessary to undertake the role, with full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the parent company.
  • You must not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control a majority of the overseas business you represent, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement.

The Home Office must also be satisfied that you are a genuine Sole Representative. This means that the decision maker must be satisfied that there is a genuine commercial justification for the overseas company establishing a presence in the UK and that you have the requisite skills, qualifications, and entrepreneurial experience to lead the UK branch or subsidiary. The Home Office may require you to attend an interview to assess whether your application is credible.

What period of leave will I be given? Can I extend my visa?

If your application is approved, you will be issued with a visa which will be valid for three years.

At the end of this period, you can apply to extend your visa for a further period of two years. Under the current rules, there is no maximum number of times that a Sole Representative visa holder may extend their visas.

To extend your visa, you will need to meet the extension criteria, which include demonstrating that the UK branch or subsidiary has been established and remains wholly owned by the overseas company, that you continue to be employed in a full-time capacity supervising the UK entity, and evidence of any business generated by the UK entity.

What kind of activities can I undertake in the UK as a Sole Representative Visa holder?

As a Sole Representative visa holder, you will only be permitted to work for the overseas business that you represent.

As a Sole Representative, you are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions.

Can I bring my family with me?

The Sole Representative visa allows you to bring a dependent spouse or partner and dependent children who are under the age of 18 at the time of the initial application.

How quickly can I become settled in the UK?

You may become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (also known as settlement) after five years’ continuous residence in the UK as a Sole Representative.

To be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must demonstrate that:

  • you have spent a continuous period five years in the UK and during this time have not been in breach of any UK immigration laws;
  • you are still required for the employment in question, as confirmed by the employer;
  • you continue to meet the requirements of the Sole Representative route;
  • you meet the requirements in relation to absences (you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any continuous 12-month period during the relevant qualifying period); and
  • you have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed the Life in the UK test.

For more information about us and our personal immigration services, please contact a member of the team who can answer any questions and guide you through the process.


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I plan to relocate to the UK to facilitate setting up a UK branch of my company. What would be the best visa option for me?

A Sole Representative visa (also known as a Representative of…

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A Sole Representative visa (also known as a Representative of an Overseas Business visa) may be the most suitable option for you to immigrate, reside and work in the UK. The requirements that need to be met to obtain this type of visa include:

  • Being recruited and employed outside the UK by an active and trading business, whose headquarters and principal place of business are, and will remain, outside the UK;
  • Holding a senior position within the business, but not owning or controlling the majority of the business, and having full authority to make decisions on behalf of the parent company in the UK;
  • Intending to establish the overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary;
  • Being able to maintain and accommodate yourself and your dependants in the UK without recourse to public funds;
  • Being able to demonstrate knowledge of the English language to the required standard.

Sole Representative visas are normally granted for a period of three years with the possibility to extend for another two years. This visa route leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain (provided you satisfy the requirements at each stage). 


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