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Representative of Overseas Business Visa

An Overseas Business Representative visa allows an individual employed by an overseas company to come to the UK to set up a UK branch or subsidiary on behalf of their overseas employer. This UK branch or subsidiary will be expected to operate the same type of business activity as its overseas parent. The Sole Representative visa permits companies to send a single employee to the UK to set up a branch or subsidiary.

The Sole Representative visa has many advantages, making it a desirable entry route. Still, the eligibility requirements are strict and place heavy restrictions on the nominated individual, and the type of activity carried out in the UK.


Sole Representative

The UK overseas business representative must hold a senior position as an employee in that overseas company and needs to have been employed by the overseas operation for at least six months at the time of their application. The overseas representative can neither be a majority shareholder nor a main beneficiary of the overseas company but must be senior enough to have full authority to make critical decisions regarding the UK branch or subsidiary activities.

The overseas company must not already have a representative in the UK, and its principal place of business must remain outside the UK.

You may also come to the UK as the representative of an overseas media organisation if you are employed at a newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation and posted on a long-term assignment to the UK.

Your Overseas Business Representative visa will be granted for three years, after which you may be able to extend it for two years. Once you have reached your 5-year qualifying period on this visa, you may be eligible to settle in the UK permanently.

The visa holder can work full-time for their employer in the UK. Their dependants can apply to join them, and they also can apply to extend their visa beyond the initial period granted and apply to settle in the UK after five years.

The Overseas Business

The overseas company also has to meet several requirements, including:

  • Being headquartered and having its principal place of business outside the UK
  • Having no other active branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK
  • Intending to establish a commercial presence by operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK that will operate the same type of business activity as the overseas business

You have one month from opening your UK operation to register the entity with Companies House.

Companies are not permitted to apply for two individuals to act as sole representatives. One may be admitted and then apply as a sponsor to allow the other employee to enter the UK under the Skilled Worker visa scheme.


To qualify for the Sole Representative visa, the individual must be a single representative of an overseas employer in the UK who intends to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. They must have been recruited and employed outside the UK by the employer they intend to represent and plan to work full-time and only for the same overseas employer.

While sole representatives must hold a senior position with full authority to take operational decisions while representing the overseas company, they are not permitted to be a majority shareholder in that overseas business. The applicant must provide a copy of the terms and conditions of their employment. They must prove that their salary and other benefits are relatively higher than other employees' salaries and appropriate for their senior-level position.

The visa holder must also evidence they can maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants sufficiently without the need to access public funds.

They also have to meet the basic standard in the English language.


It is expected that the overseas company will provide the required capital for setting up and running its overseas branch or wholly-owned subsidiary. Therefore, as an individual, you do not need to evidence these funds.

You still have to prove that you have sufficient funds available to you for your maintenance in the UK. If you are applying with your dependent family members, you will need to show you have the funds to support them.

Visa Conditions

Sole Representative visas are initially granted for three years but can be extended by two years upon application. Looking further ahead, the sole representative may qualify to settle in the UK permanently after five continuous years of residence.

To be eligible for an extension, the company must show it satisfies specific criteria. The company headquarters and principal place of business must remain outside the UK at all times.

The sole representative will need to show they:

  • are employed as a full-time representative of the overseas entity and are still required for the employment in question;
  • have established and are in charge of the overseas entity's UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary;
  • have generated business, principally with companies in the UK; and
  • can maintain and accommodate any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.

The visa holder cannot:

  • work for another company
  • work for themselves
  • claim benefits or public funds
  • switch to this visa, e.g., if you are in the UK on a Business Visitor visa
  • remain in the UK if the sole representative arrangement with the employer ends

Most immigration applications have strict factual and evidential requirements that are not necessarily straightforward to comprehend or satisfy. LS Legal Solicitors are well versed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on immigration applications. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous. However, we guarantee to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

For the quickest response, please WhatsApp or call us on +44 (0) 75 3595 9450. You can also contact us via email at info@LSLegaLUK.com or use the contact form to discuss your requirements further or arrange an appointment with one of our experts.