Sole Representative of an Overseas Company Visa

You can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business if you’re from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland and you’re a Sole Representative who is going to be sent to the UK to establish either a UK branch or subsidiary. In order to make a successful application you will need to demonstrate that the business will continue to trade overseas.

If you are an Entrepreneur coming to establish and run your own business, you will not qualify for a Sole Representative Visa, there are other options available for such entries such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

You must meet with the eligibility requirements listed below in order to qualify for this visa, please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options available to you.

Eligibility – The Company

In order to make a successful application you will need to demonstrate that:

  • the sole representative of an overseas company is planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company; or
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

Sole Representative Visa criteria

In order to demonstrate that the applicant is suitable for this role he or she must either have been employed in a senior capacity at the overseas company or have been specifically recruited to establish an overseas presence abroad. The applicant would therefore need to have the requisite experience of establishing such a presence abroad. The applicant will need to meet with the following criteria:

  • Be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • Have the ability to make operational decisions without having to consult senior management overseas
  • The person must not be a majority shareholder in the overseas firm.
  • The person must be able to maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependents joining them adequately without recourse to public funds.
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK e.g a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
  • Sole Representatives of overseas companies are required to pass an approved English language test to the basic user standard or to have the equivalent of a UK Bachelors degree that was taught in English (NARIC).
  • The person must have authority to make decisions without reference to the parent company by way of holding a senior position within the overseas company.
  • It would be advantageous if the person has been employed overseas for at least 12 months and is familiar with the business practices and procedures. The person needs to have qualifications and experience relevant to the nature of the business.
  • The person must take up full-time employment as the representative of the overseas company in the UK. The sole representative will not be able to work for another employer whilst in the UK.

English Language requirement

In order to make a successful application, you will need to meet with the English Language requirement, this can be demonstrated by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree
  • Or you may be exempt from meeting with this requirement if you are a national of one of the following countries:
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Dependents of a Sole Representative

Dependents include;

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


In order to be granted entry clearance as a dependent of the sole representative the main applicant must be aged 18 or over on the date they are due to arrive in the UK. The child who is applying as a dependent must be aged 18 years or under on the date of application in order to be granted entry clearance

It is possible for dependents to switch into this Visa from inside of the UK or extend their Visas on the basis of the main Sole Representative Visa. This will not be possible however if the defendant is currently or the last visa issued was on a visitors visa.

Extension of a Sole Representative Visa

A sole representative visa will usually be valid for an initial 3 years and can be extended for another 2 years thereafter. If your initial visa was granted before the 1 October 2009 your visa will be extended for up to another 3 years.

In order to be eligible for an extension it is necessary to demonstrate that you continue to meet with the criteria mentioned above. In addition you will need to meet with the following criteria:

  • You’re still working for the same employer as when you were issued your previous visa
  • You’re still working to establish the company’s first presence in the UK
  • Your employer’s principal place of business is still outside the UK
  • Applying for an extension from within the UK


It may be necessary to show that these conditions are met by producing relevant documents as evidence, at Vincent Solicitors we can assist with this process. It is important to apply for an extension before your visa runs out.

Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Sole Representative Visa

Both the sole representative and the dependent can apply for indefinite leave to remain more commonly known as settlement or permanent residency after 5 years, providing the sole representative continues to meet with the criteria above.

 Vincent Solicitors and Affordable fees

We cater to the needs of our clients by offering affordable fees and the option of flexible payment terms. If you cannot afford to pay our fee in full at the time of your instructions, we are happy for you to pay in installments; we will accept half of the agreed fixed fee at the time of initial instructions with the balance to be paid upon submission of the application.

Vincent Solicitors and SRA Compliance

We are a firm of solicitors that is authorised and regulated by the SRA to provide immigration advice. Your matter will be dealt with by qualified immigration solicitors from instruction through to completion of your immigration matter. Get in touch for a free initial consultation.