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23 September 2020

What is a Sole representative of an overseas business visa and who is it for?

3 mins

What is a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business is a specific category within the Immigration Rules that enables a person to come to the UK to work for a specific business, without going through the Tier 2 sponsorship route.  It can lead to permanent residence.

What are the requirements?

Applicants for the Sole Representative visa will need to:

  • Be already working for a business outside the UK for an active and trading company, whose headquarters and principal place of business will remain outside the UK
  • Have the skills, experience and knowledge to do the role
  • Hold a senior position within the business
  • Not own or control the majority of the overseas business
  • Have full authority to make a decision on the business’s behalf
  • Intend to establish the overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary
  • Meet an English language requirement
  • Be over the age of 18 years
  • Prove that they have enough personal savings to support themselves while in the UK

Can I apply if the overseas business has a legal entity in the UK?

Yes, provided the legal entity in the UK does not employ any staff or do any business.

Can I replace a previous sole representative?


I am an existing employee of an overseas news agency.  Can I use the sole representative route?

Yes.  An employee of an overseas news agency, newspaper or broadcasting organisation can use this route if you are being posted here on a long term assignment.

Can I make the application from within the UK?

No – you have to apply for a visa from abroad. Once in the UK as a sole representative, you can apply to extend your visa from within the UK.

How long is the visa?

The first visa is for 3 years.   You can apply to extend the visa for a further 2 years.  On completion of 5 years, the employee can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (permanent residency).

How much are the Home Office application fees?

Entry clearance costs £610 for the main applicant, with the same fee for dependants.  In-country extension applications cost £704 for the main applicant, with the same fee for dependents. 

In addition, you have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which is currently £400 per person per year applied for but is due to increase to £624 per person per year applied for in October 2020.

Can I work outside my business?

No.  You have to work for your employer, full-time.

What can’t I do under the Sole Representative visa?

 Sole representative migrants cannot

  • Work for yourself or any other business.
  • Stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer.
  • Receive public funds

Can my family come with me?

Yes, you can sponsor your partner and dependant children under the age of 18 to come with you as your dependants.

Can I get permanent settlement in the UK?

Yes, once you have been in the UK in this category for 5 years.


Applications for leave to enter the UK as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business can be complex and we advise that legal advice is sought before these applications are made. Please get in touch with the team if you have any questions. 

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.