How to Extend Your Representative of an Overseas Business Visa


How To Extend Your Representative of an Overseas Business visa

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa, commonly referred to as a Sole Representative (or ‘Sole Rep’) visa, is normally granted for a period of 3 years and can be extended for a further 2 years despite the fact this route is now closed to new applications (please note – new applications are still being accepted for those applying as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation). 

After 5 continuous years in the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, holders can then apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). In this guide, we will outline the eligibility criteria for extending a Sole Representative visa, the documents required for a renewal application, and how to apply for an extension.

Can I extend my Sole Representative visa?

To further extend your Representative of an Overseas Business visa beyond the initial 3-year period, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria for renewal. The immigration rules for Sole Rep visa extensions state that applicants must:

  • Have an existing and valid (i.e. non-expired) Representative of an Overseas Business visa (either as a representative of an overseas business or an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation), and
  • Have established and registered the branch or subsidiary of their overseas employer
  • Still be working for the same employer (as when the initial Sole Representative visa was granted), and that employer must still be principally based outside the UK.
  • Still be supervising the UK branch or subsidiary they established for their overseas employer
  • Still be required by their employer to continue in the role of sole representative on their behalf.

It is also important to check that you continue to meet the original controlling stake requirements for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa; namely that when you apply to extend your visa, you still:

  • do not own more than 50% of the shares of the overseas business you represent
  • do not control more than 50% of the voting rights of the overseas business you represent
  • are not the self-employed owner of the overseas business you represent
  • are not the sole proprietor of the overseas business you represent
  • are not in a partnership agreement in which you own more than 50% of the overseas business you represent

Documents required for a Sole Representative visa renewal application

When submitting your Sole Representative visa extension, the Home Office will request a number of documents to support your case. Depending on your circumstances, these documents may include:

  • A letter from your overseas employer confirming that they wish to continue to employ you in the same job as your sole representative in the UK
  • Bank statements and pay slips showing you have received a salary from your employer over the last 12 months immediately prior to your extension application 
  • Details of the remuneration (i.e. pay) package you receive from your overseas employer
  • Evidence that you have generated business in the UK on behalf of your overseas employer since you were granted your Sole Rep visa (e.g. financial accounts, copies of invoices or letters from firms that the UK branch or subsidiary has done business with and the amount of that business) 
  • Companies House certificate of registration as a UK establishment (if you set up a UK branch)
  • Companies House certificate of incorporation (if you set up a wholly-owned subsidiary) 
  • A copy of the share register
  • A letter from a company accountant confirming that all shares are held by the overseas business, and
  • A letter from your employer confirming that you are supervising the UK branch or subsidiary

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How to apply for a Sole Representative visa renewal

It is essential that you submit your application for a Sole Representative visa before your existing visa expires; otherwise, you may be classed as an overstayer. To extend your Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you will need to:

  1. Complete and submit the online Sole Representative visa extension application form
  2. Pay the application fee (£719 if applying from inside the UK or £625 if you’re applying from outside the UK)
  3. Pay the healthcare surcharge (£624 per year)
  4. Arrange a meeting at your nearest UKVCAS service point to have your biometrics processed (i.e. your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken).
  5. Provide any documents to support your extension application (see above) – these can be uploaded online or scanned when you attend your UKVCAS appointment.

The current processing time for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa extension is around 8 weeks. As the Home Office guidance states, this may be longer if you are asked for more documents, you need to attend an interview, or if there are any factors which delay making a decision on your application.

When should I apply for my Sole Representative visa extension?

As the Home Office normally gives a decision on a sole representative visa extension application within eight weeks, it is advisable to submit your application at least two months before the expiration date of your initial sole rep visa. 

What happens if my application for an extension is rejected?

If your Representative of an Overseas Business Visa extension application is rejected, you will receive a letter from the Home Office outlining the reasons for the refusal. This letter will explain the specific grounds on which the application was rejected and will provide guidance on what steps you can take next.

If your application is rejected, you may be able to pursue an immigration administrative review against the decision. It is important to note that there are strict time limits for submitting a request for administrative review, so it is important to act quickly if you wish to pursue this option and submit it withing 28 days.

It is crucial to understand that administrative review and appeal are not the same. An administrative review does not allow you to submit new evidence to support your application. Rather, it involves a review of the original decision made by a different case worker based on the evidence available at the time. Therefore, seeking legal advice from experienced UK immigration lawyers when applying for a visa is highly recommended. They can help you ensure that your initial application is comprehensive and persuasive to maximize your chances of success.

How Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors can help with Representative of an Overseas Business visa extensions

Our team of London based business immigration solicitors can assist with Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa extensions in several ways.

Firstly, we can provide the most up-to-date information, guidance and advice on the eligibility criteria for an extension to be successful, ensuring that all the requirements are met. This includes advising on the financial and employment criteria, as well as the extended evidence required to demonstrate that the applicant has been actively involved in the day-to-day management of the overseas business.

Secondly, we can assist with the preparation of the extension application itself, including drafting the necessary documentation and completing the relevant forms on behalf of you. This can help to ensure that the application is properly structured and presented by a legal expert, and that all the required information is included.

Thirdly, we can liaise with the UK Home Office on behalf of you, helping to ensure that your application is processed as quickly and as smoothly as possible. This can be particularly important in cases where the applicant needs to travel urgently or where there are other time-sensitive issues at hand.

Fourth, if your application for an extension is rejected, we can guide you and represent you through the process of submitting and administrative review to overturn the decision. 

Overall, our in-house team of business immigration solicitors can provide valuable support and representation to individuals seeking an extension to their Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, helping to ensure a successful outcome to their application.

Final words

For overseas business representatives in the UK, applying for a visa extension is an important step in ensuring continuity and ongoing supervision of the new branch or subsidiary. With robust advice and legal representation from an immigration Solicitor, you can ensure that your Representative of an Overseas Business visa extension is approved first time and with the minimum demand on your time. 

Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors specialises in UK business immigration applications including Sol Representative of and Overseas Business Visa Extensions. Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below to discuss your matter with one of our friendly and empathetic team.pursue

FAQs about Overseas Business visa extensions

New applications under the Sole Representative visa route were stopped for new applicants as from 11 April 2022. Applications for extensions and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) are still available for those who already have a sole rep visa. The applications will now include a genuineness assessment, i.e., whether this sole representative’s intentions genuinely meet the rules. The Home Office /UKVI will now assess subjectively whether the applicant genuinely meets the rules. ILR can be achieved after five years in the capacity of a sole representative. 

The rules stipulate that the branch or subsidiary has not been established only for the purpose of facilitating entry and the stay of the applicant in the UK. The applicant to have the relevant skills, experience, and knowledge of the business. This will, of course, be assessed by the Home Office based on the evidence provided. And furthermore, it is no longer possible for partners of someone with a majority shareholding to apply for a sole representative visa; previously, the rules restricted only majority shareholders themselves. This change was to be expected and corrects any obvious oversight in the original drafting.

Depending on the accuracy of your application and the caseload being handled by the Home Office at the moment, the average turnaround time of a sole representative visa renewal application is about 2 months or 8 weeks. 

Unfortunately, sole rep visa renewal applications do not use Super Priority Service. So, you can only use the standard service to send your sole rep extension request.

If your application is accepted, your UK stay will be extended by up to two years. So, by the end of the extension period, you’ll have stayed in the country for five years. Therefore, you may be eligible to apply for UK settlement or indefinite leave to remain if you want to stay longer in the country. 

If your administrative review is unsuccessful, you can pursue an immigration judicial review of the administrative review process. However, please understand that this is a complex legal process, and we strongly recommend seeking the guidance of experienced immigration solicitors before proceeding with this particular action. For more information on the judicial review process and whether you meet the grounds for an immigration judicial review, read our article on this topic which outlines all the information you will need. If you need assistance regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

  • To establish if you meet all the eligibility requirements for the visa extension. 
  • To find out, gather, and/or submit all the support documents required for the sole representative visa extension application;
  • Get timely help with completing and submitting the online sole representative visa application form.
  • For assistance in writing a highly convincing cover letter to support your application. 
  • For effortless appointment booking with a UKVCAS service point.
  • To track the progress of your application processing. 
  • To ensure that persuasive responses to the Home Office queries regarding your application are provided on time. 
  • For any other advice or support, you need 
  • To initiate a successful administrative review process in case your application is rejected. 
  • To initiate and represent you through a judicial review if you administrative review is unsuccessful. 

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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

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