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A sole representative visa is one of the most suitable routes for businesses to establish a commercial presence in the UK. The route allows opening a UK branch or subsidiary of an overseas parent company which must be a genuine commercial enterprise with its principal place of business outside the UK.

Upon a successful application, the applicant will be granted with an entry clearance of 3 years which can be extended by a further 2 years. The applicant may qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 5 years of continuous leave under the category.

Types of Sole representative visa

There are two types of job in this category that a person can apply to enter the UK to do. An applicant must either be:

  • an overseas media employee who:​

    • is being posted by their employer on a long-term assignment for them in the UK

  • is employed by an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organization

  • applying to be the sole representative in the UK of an overseas employer who intends to establish a commercial presence by operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK and that branch or subsidiary will operate in the same type of business activity as the overseas business

Requirements for Sole Representative Visa

The sole representative must intend to, and then actually, establish the new branch in the UK. This must be the same type of business as the parent company overseas. For example, it must supply a similar product or service. An overseas manufacturing company can establish a UK branch for the sale or servicing of their products in the UK

Sole representatives must have been employed by the company directly at the point at which initial entry clearance is applied for. The UK Subsidiary can employ a sole rep at a later date however if they are employed in a role which means they no longer have sole executive responsibility for the direction of the subsidiary they will need to switch into a Tier 2 visa route under the points-based system.

  • be 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 not be 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, eg a registered branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary

  • Meets the English language requirements with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening

Family members

A holder of a representative of overseas business visa can apply to bring family members (‘dependants’) to the UK on this visa.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • Husband, wife or partner

  • Child under 18


Visa Extension

An applicant must prove they are still:

  • required by the employer and the employer must certify this in a letter

  • working in the job that entry clearance was granted for: they must show they are in receipt of a salary from their employer by evidence of the salary paid in the previous 12 months and confirmation of how that salary was paid – for example, whether it was paid as basic or commission and the numbers of hours paid

  • Applicants must not be in breach of immigration laws, except that any periods of overstaying allowed by the Immigration Rules which will be disregarded.



In order to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), a person must have spent a continuous period of five years in the representative of an overseas business category and must meet certain other requirements, including the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirements, set out in the Immigration Rules.

Contact Us

We have experienced business immigration adviser, who provide prompt and cost-effective advice to any organisation employing staff from overseas. By making an appointment with one of our business immigration expert, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  We will assist you with all aspects of business immigration law, including applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.  If you wish to discuss, please phone our office or contact us online.

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