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Business Immigration

Sole Representative Visa

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Sole Representative Visa

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa category is for businesses that would like to send a senior employee to establish a commercial & physical presence in the UK. The parent company must be a genuine business based outside of the UK and the applicant must not hold more than 50% of the shares in the business to be eligible under this category.

Sole Representative Visa Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a sole representative visa, the applicant and the overseas parent company must satisfy the following requirements.

Overseas parent company: 

  • Must be a genuine and actively trading business
  • Not have any other branch, subsidiary or representatives in the UK
  • Intends to establish the presence in the UK to be operating the same type of business as the overseas business
  • Maintains the centre of operations outside of the UK

The applicant will also need to demonstrate that they are:

  • One of the senior employees in the overseas parent company
  • Recruited outside of the UK
  • Empowered with full authority to take any operational decisions for the business
  • Hold no more than 50% of the shares in the business
  • Competent in English language to at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
  • Be able to support themselves and family without relying on the public funds vy meeting the maintenance requirement

The applicant should have been ideally employed by the parent company for some time and hold a senior position there or be able to demonstrate a good track record in the same field and industry to show operational expertise. The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa will normally be valid for 3 years, after which time the applicant will be able to extend their stay for a further two years. After five years in the UK under this category, applicants may be eligible to apply for settlement. The partner and any children under the age of 18 may accompany or join the main applicant as their dependents. Sole Representative visa holders will not be able to work for any business other than the business that they represent in the UK.

How can we assist?

Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their business in the UK. We have also partnered with industry experts who work with us on a regular basis to assist our clients in preparing their business expansion plans and setting up the subsidiary in the UK. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hold any shares in the parent company?

The Immigration rules require the applicant not to be a majority shareholder meaning, holding no more than 50% of the parent company shares. It is possible for applicants to reduce their shareholding of less than 50% and document this correctly to meet the requirements.

What can I do if my application is refused?

The refusal of a sole representative application carries only a right of administrative review due to case working errors. The applicant may also pursue the Judicial Review option, if they wish to challenge the decision.

How long does it take to get a Sole Representative visa?

The standard processing time for a Sole Representative visa is 15 working days. It is however possible for applicants to apply for a priority processing under which a decision can be obtained within 5 working days at an additional cost.

What conditions do I need to meet for extending the visa?

The applicants for an extension must prove that they still continue to work for the same employer and are continuing to establish the parent company’s presence in the UK. It is also essential that the parent company’s principal place of business is outside the UK and the applicant has further generated business/income since the set up of the subsidiary/branch in the UK.

Can I work part-time for another company whilst on Sole Representative visa?

The sole representative visa holders are only able to be employed by the company that sent them to the UK and it is not possible to undertale even part-time or consultancy work outside of your main employment.
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