Sole Representative Visa
One way to take advantage of the business opportunities available in Britain is to send a sole representative to ‘dip their toe in the water’, before making a full commitment.
The Sole Representative Visa offers overseas companies to set up a branch or subsidiary of their parent company in the UK.
If you are the competent staff nominated to represent your company’s efforts in the UK, this visa is for you. This visa has a further upside which is your ability to bring your dependents to the UK where they can work without restriction, while you grow your employers’ interests in the UK.
The Sole Representative Visa (also referred as Representative of an Overseas Business Visa) allows overseas companies to set up a commercial presence of their business in the UK by sending over a senior representative (Sole representative) to the UK.
A Sole representative applying to the UK must be an overseas national who is:
- An (employee) of a business outside of the UK planning to set up either a branch or a subsidiary in the UK.
- A senior member of the company but not the owner and has enough skills and authority to make business decisions on the company’s behalf.
- Replacing a previous sole representative.
- An employee of a newspaper, news agency or broadcasting company outside the UK.
The sole representative is responsible for establishing a branch or subsidiary of the overseas business and making key business decisions on behalf of its employer.
The entry clearance officers also consider:
- Overseas company’s current and future business plans
- Job description of the Sole representative
- The employment contract of the Sole representative
To be eligible for a Sole Representative Visa, you must provide proof that:
- Intends to open and operate a branch office or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK
- Is an active and trading overseas business
- Has and will continue to have its headquarters and centre of operations based outside the UK
The applicant genuinely:
- Was recruited overseas by the parent company
- Is setting up the organisation’s initial presence in the UK
- Has a great deal of experience, skills, and knowledge of the parent company and its industry
- Holds a senior position in the company and can make independent decisions on the parent company’s behalf
- Is not a major shareholder or have any significant control or stake holding in the business via a partnership agreement or sole ownership
- Has the required knowledge of English
- Has sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents during their leave to remain
Once your Sole Representative Visa application has been approved, you will be eligible to enter the UK and stay to expand your business for 3 years after which you can extend your stay by submitting a leave to remain application. This further application will further push your stay in the UK for 2 more years.
After 5 years of representing a business in the UK as an employee, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and settle permanently in the UK.
Applicants living in the UK under the Sole Representative Visa must abide by the following conditions:
- No access to public funds
- Cannot do their own business or represent any third-party company’s interest.
- Registration with the police, if applicable
A substantial list of documents is required from the Company and the Sole representative when applying for a Sole Representative Visa.
Our lawyers assist you with collating the necessary documents and answering any questions the Home Office may have concerning them.
To begin, you will need to produce the following:
- A letter confirming the company intends to create a wholly owned subsidiary or branch office in the UK.
- A complete summary of your organisation, what it does, its assets and liabilities and other accounts
- Proof you are employed by the company and are not merely an agent
- Your passport and other valid travel documents
- Details of your accommodation in the UK
- Evidence you can support yourself and your dependents (e.g., bank statements)
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test.
- Your job description, salary, and proof you can make independent decisions on the company’s behalf.
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- Proof you were employed outside the UK and will be working only for the organisation that is sending you to the country
The Sole Representative Visa offers many benefits, including:
- Sole representatives can apply for a two-year visa extension if they operate successfully during the initial 3 tears of their stay.
- After five years, applicants can be eligible to apply for permanent residency
- After six years, applicants can be eligible to apply for British nationality
- Sole representatives can combine time spent in the UK with other visa categories to qualify for ten-year residency rights.
For business considering expansion, they can refer a single senior employee to the UK to observe and test-run in the market without having to outlay large amounts of capital.
The visa can be extended.
For renewals and extensions, you can easily apply to extend your UK sole representative visa for up to two extra years after the initial visa period of 3 years.
Your dependants can benefit from the extension once verifications, eligibility and nominal fees are resolved.
The fee would be £704 to extend the visa term plus immigration health surcharge fees and £19.20 for giving the biometric data (fingerprints and a photo).
The home office will contact you within eight weeks after you submit your application.
- You must be living in the UK to extend your visa.
- You must be working for the same company as who handed out your first visa.
- The company you are working with must have a registered address outside the UK.
- You are still working to stabilise the firm’s existence in the UK.
Yes, it is possible. The UK sole representative visa allows the holder to take their family members with them. However, the dependents must have a visa if they are from outside the UK.
A dependant can be your husband, wife, or partner and your child under 18.
If your dependents own most of the company you will be representing, you may not bring them with you.
If your child is just born in the UK, then you can apply to add them to your visa as your dependent.
In some cases, sole representative visas, clearance or an extension of a Sole Representative Visas are refused.
Where that happens, you have the liberty to ask for an Administrative Review and, potentially, subsequent Judicial Review if the Administrative Review is ineffective.
You should contact our team, as we will analyse the reasons for your refusal and prepare you with the best legal advice and representation.
The Business Plan should contain important details of business outside of the UK.
You would have to demonstrate the main objectives and reasons for why you want to expand your business in the UK.
It must be an established and operating business overseas and will proceed to have its principal office and centre of operations based outside the UK.
It aims to open and regulate a branch office or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK.
The after-effects of proposing a poorly written business plan that does not answer all these critical questions are is likely to a refusal of your sole representative application.
First Continental Solicitors provide first class assistance to people who are have challenges in drafting an impressive business plan to support their applications. We are skilled in finding elaborate ways to express the steps your business intends to take.
Contact and you can benefit from all our services which are listed below:
Telephone Consultation – We will have an informal discussion with you so we can discover more about you, your business, and the purpose of the business plan.
Business Plan Questionnaire – Once we have agreed to work together, we will email over a questionnaire for you to complete.
Draft Business Plan – Our team will start drafting an excellent business plan. Depending on the complexity of the business the degree of information already provided, and what extra details we require from you, it may take 3-4 weeks to complete the draft business plan.
Reviewing the Business Plan – We will offer you our full business plan writing service.
For this service we employ the services of and work with seasoned professional business consultants who have industry experience.
We will seek out and consult an expert in your area of business so that your business plan covers all relevant angles.
When we send you a draft business plan, you will have opportunity to review and email us all comments, instructions, and directions for your business plan.
We will also propose a meeting with you so that you can highlight any revisions that are required and gain our insight as UK business insiders.
We ask our clients to read the entire document at this stage and our lawyers are happy to sit and read the documents with our clients so that detailed notes are made at once after discussions of options.
Once the process is complete, you will receive both a Word Document and PDF version of the business plan, the financial forecasts, and other supporting documents.
Yes, in December 2019, the UK Visa and Immigration made a declaration that IELTS will be acknowledged as one of the secure English language Tests for all those UK visas that makes it mandatory for applicants to verify their proficiency in the English language.
We are glad to mention that the Brexit will affect the Sole Representative Visa in the right way.
Going forward, the EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally.
Brexit will create some empty space in the UK marketplace an open a pool of opportunities for overseas businesses that had been considering business expansion to the UK.
Overseas businesses can now send a representative to the UK to study and capture the market while they can plan and test different ways to carve a niche for themselves.
This new immigration rule would be more helpful to businesses, especially those with a background in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
As a team of professional immigration lawyers, First Continental Solicitors walk clients through the process of applying for, and successfully acquiring a Sole Representative Visas.
We understand the challenges that applicants may face, and the extensive documentation which must be supplied.
Extending this advantage to you in the process of our service, we guide work to guide you to a successful outcome.
For the best chance at visa success, we are here to serve you every step of the way to establishment of your business in the UK.
Based on our experience, it takes around 4-6 weeks to process a Sole Representative Visa application by the Home Office.
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
You can get a faster decision by paying for the super-premium service.
The fees of getting a sole representative visa program in the UK (Sole Representative Visa) is £610 per applicant plus immigration health surcharge fees of GBP £624/per year/ per person OR GBP £470 per year / per child under 18 years old. There can also charge some extra fees for biometrics and other procedures.
Sole Representatives are allowed to hold shares of the parent company that is wishing to inaugurate a branch or subsidiary in the UK. However, they are not permitted to hold a majority of the shares. The Home Office will refuse the application where the applicant holds more than 50% of the shares in the parent firm.
Your application for a Sole Representative Visa must be made online except for entries from North Korea.
In addition to the required documentation, you will also need to supply your biometric details (i.e. fingerprints and photographs). You can have these taken at a local visa application centre.
Both the company and the sole Representative will need to supply a substantial list of documents when applying for a Sole Representative Visa. Our lawyers can assist you with collating the necessary documents and answering any questions on UK Visas and Immigration.
You will need to produce the following:
- A letter confirming the company intends to create a wholly-owned subsidiary or branch office in the UK
- A complete summary of your organisation, what it does, its assets and liabilities and other accounts
- Evidence that you have the skills, knowledge, and experience required to set up and run a branch office or wholly-owned UK subsidiary
- Verification you were formerly outside the UK and will be working only for the organisation that is sending you to the country.
- Guarantee you are employed by the company and are not merely an agent
- Your job description, salary, and proof you can make independent decisions on the company’s behalf
- Your passport or another valid travel document
- Details of your accommodation in the UK
- Evidence you can support yourself and your dependents (e.g. bank statements)
- Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
First Continental Solicitors is a first-rate Legal firm. We have 100+ years of combined legal experience across 5 aspects of law and 20+ combined years of Immigration Law experience.
Annually, our immigration practice assists many happy clients with immigration services including those that have achieved Sole Representative Visas. We can help you and your business get this too.
As longtime industry specialists, we understand, anticipate the challenges an applicant might face during the application and proactively manage the process to minimise delay and help our clients meet set deadlines.
Yes, you can apply to bring your dependents with you. Dependents are classified as your spouse or partner and/or any children under the age of 18 years.
Please note that under the Immigration Rules, your spouse or partner cannot “have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement”.
If you are from a country in which English is the main language, you will not need to prove your knowledge of English.
These countries are:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- the United States of America
- Canada is also considered an English-speaking country, however, qualifications from Canadian higher education institutes may not automatically qualify.
If you do not come from one of these countries listed above, you will need to pass a Secure English language test for UKVI or hold a degree which is:
A UK Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD Awarded by an establishment outside of the UK and is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
a PhD deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in the UK, and is from an educational establishment in a majority English speaking country.