This visa type is designed for companies wanting to expand their business abroad and set up in the United Kingdom. Overseas companies are permitted to send one representative to the UK to set up a branch or subsidiary office, including carrying out market research, registering the company in the UK and negotiating with suppliers and customers.

Although the nominated representative must have the authority to make day-to-day decisions in the UK, they cannot be a director or major shareholder in the company.

Sole Representative Visa Basic Requirements

To qualify for a Sole Representative visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have been recruited and taken on as an employee outside the UK as a representative of a company that has its main office outside of the UK without a branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK;
  • Must be a senior employee with authority for decision making on behalf of the overseas company with respect to setting up the branch in the UK;
  • Must be employed full time as a representative of the overseas firm;
  • Must not be a majority shareholder in the overseas firm;
  • Must not take up any employment other than that relating to their work for the overseas firm;
  • Must be able to financially maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds; and
  • Must obtain entry clearance as a Sole Representative before entering the UK.

Sole Representative Visa Entitlements

Applicants applying for a Sole Representative Visa can only work in the business for which the permission to enter the UK was originally sought. The visa is granted for three (3) years which can be extended for a further two (2) years. This category may lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (IRL). ILR entitles individuals to permanent residency as well as visa-free travel to and from the UK. ILR holders may also be able to sponsor their non-British relatives into the UK and may also ultimately be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Eligible dependants may also qualify to be included and upon obtaining the visa, they may also work without any restrictions.