Sole Representative Visa

Sole Representative of an Overseas Company Visa

Sole Representative is a UK visa category permitting a representative of an overseas company to enter the UK for the purpose of establishing a wholly owned subsidiary or branch in the UK for the overseas parent company. This visa has become a popular option for companies and entrepreneurs with businesses abroad.

This visa option is important for any non-European business looking to invest in the UK as it permits a representative of your business to come to the UK and set up a wholly owned subsidiary or branch of the overseas parent company.

It is imperative to ensure that the required criteria are met and that sufficient evidence is submitted to increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome.

It is vital that you choose who your representative will be in advance as they are required to meet certain criteria. If your representative is an overseas national with no automatic rights to work in the UK, they are required to fulfil further criteria in order to be satisfy the requirements under this visa.

Criteria to meet

In order to be considered eligible for this visa category, a representative must:

  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants (if applicable) in the UK;
  • Must meet the English language requirement;
  • The Representative must have extensive knowledge and expertise in their industry;
  • Hold a senior position within the company, but not as a majority shareholder.
  • Must have full authority to make decisions on company’s behalf;
  • Have already been recruited and employed by the company outside the UK, whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK, prior to submitting the visa application.
  • Must not intend to undertake any other employment in the UK.
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, e.g. a registered branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Is there a minimum salary requirement for the sole representative?

There is no minimum salary level requirement however the representative must be earning enough to support themselves and their family members who they desire to take with them to the UK as their dependants. The salary must also be reflective of the representative skills and expertise. As this is a senior position, the salary will need to reflect this.

The representative, including any dependants, are not permitted to turn to public funds for help.

Dependents of a Sole Representative

Dependents include:

  • Spouse
  • Civil Partner
  • Unmarried Partner
  • Same-sex Partner
  • Your child or child who is under the age of 18

Extension of a Sole Representative Visa

As a Representative of an Overseas Business, your UK visa will be initially granted for a period of 3 years following its issuance.  You are then permitted to extend your visa for another 2 years.

In order to be eligible for an extension it is necessary to demonstrate that you continue to act as sole representative for the overseas company

Once you have completed the additional 2 years, you are permitted to apply for settlement.

Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Sole Representative Visa

Both the sole representative and their dependent can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement or Permanent residency) after 5 years, providing the sole representative continues to meet with the criteria above.

What you can do under the sole representative visa:

  • Work full time for your employer;
  • Bring your family (‘dependants’) with you to the UK;
  • Extend your visa multiple times;
  • Apply to settle in the UK after you’ve been here for 5 years;
  • Stay in the UK if your company’s circumstances change and you’ve been here for more than 2 years.

What you CANNOT do under the sole representative visa:

  • Work for yourself or any other business;
  • Stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer;
  • Switch to this visa from any other visa category;
  • Get public funds.

Applications under this immigration route must be made from outside of the EEA.

It is necessary to show that the above conditions are met by producing relevant documents as evidence, at OTS Solicitors we can assist with this process. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options available to you.

For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, or to book an appointment with a member of our business immigration team, please call us now on 0207 936 9960 

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