if an applicant wants to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business, an application for entry clearance will be required. Such a representative will come to the UK to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary of an overseas parent company.

Besides the visa fee, the applicant will need to pay for NHS health surcharge. This can all be done online when the application is made.

The representative of an overseas business visa will be granted for an initial period of three years, and then extended for a further two years from within the UK. After the applicant has been here for five years he/ she can apply for permanent residence.

What the representative of an overseas business applicant can do in the UK:

– Work for the employer full-time as a sole representative

– Bring his/ her family over to the UK

– Extend his/ her Visa multiple times

– Apply to settle in the UK after five years

What a representative of an overseas business applicant cannot do:
– Work for himself or any other business in the UK

– Stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by his/ her employer

– Switch to this visa from any other visa category within the UK – Get public funds


A Sole representative of an overseas business application from outside the UK is a must, plus: –

  • Have enough money to support himself/ herself without help from public fund
  • Meet the English requirements applicable. If from English-speaking country this is not required.

Requirements for Sole Representative of an overseas business Visa

  • Be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK.
  • Have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • Have a senior position within the company in the UK but not a major shareholder, and have full authority to make decisions on behalf of the representative company in the UK without reference to the employer
  • intent to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, e.g. a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
  • the sole representative may be able to employ staff in the UK.
  • If the UK company has been set up but has not been transacting business, the sole representative can establish himself within the company, and if there has been a previous representative who is leaving or has left the UK, the applicant can replace that previous representative.

Information to be included in the documents for the sole representative visa application

– Business plan to show the need for the representative office

– Contract of employment between the sole representative and the employing company

– Evidence that the sole representative has worked abroad for at least 12 months

– Letter of appointment from the parent company explaining why the representative is being sent to the UK

– Accounts of the parent company and other evidence to show that it is a genuine company established abroad

Extending the Sole Representative Visa

  • Dependants who are on the applicant’s current Visa should be included in the application to extend.
  • The application to extend should be made before the current Visa expires
  • The applicant must still be working for the same employer as when he or she was issued with them the previous Visa
  • The employer’s principal place of business must still be outside the UK
  • The applicant must be in the UK to extend the visa
  • Business plan as to how the branch office has been set up when it was set up (within six months of entry by way of entry clearance) and a progress report including accounts of the business and therefore turnover to show a genuine sole representation will be required.
  • Evidence of transactions carried out by the sole representative during the first period of stay in the UK in that capacity prior to the application for extension.