Sole Rep Visa – Open a branch of your business in the UK

Please note that the Sole Representative visa was discontinued by the UK Home Office until further notice. If this business immigration returns into force, we will keep you informed. We can only help you with Sole Rep visa extensions (no new applications are currently being accepted).

Starting a branch of your business in the UK can boost your exposure in one of the largest markets of the world.  Currently, the UK is the worlds 5th largest economy and has a population of 65 million people, which could be potentially huge for any business which makes it here. 

Foreign companies (from outside of the UK and EU) can open a branch of their business in the UK and send a senior employee there to manage it through the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

Sounds great right? Not only can a business establish a branch in the UK, but the senior employee who is sent to start the business could stay in the UK with their family for the long run in order to run operations. This is without a doubt a huge benefit of this specific visa route.

Some of the best immigration solicitors confirm the fact that there is a lot to gain from a successful sole representative of an overseas business visa application, however, the application process must be handled professionally and with much attention to detail. 

There are of course a number of stringent rules surrounding the application for this visa route which must be respected. This visa route will only allow you to open a branch of your company in the UK, so the headquarters of the business must still be outside. Furthermore, the senior employee that is sent to run the business in the UK, must have been recruited from outside of the country, does not hold more than 50% of the shares, has the power to make operational decisions, meets the English language test requirements, and can maintain themselves financially. He/She must provide contractual evidence of all of the above, show a decent business plan and support their application with a wide selection of documents. If they are successful then they will be granted 3 years “leave to remain” in the UK and will be able to bring dependent family members to live, work and study in the UK. If the visa is granted, they can also hire staff in the UK to represent the company.

A Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa application can take some time to process after the application has been submitted, this is usually 3 weeks, however, there is a priority service at a number of application centres that allow some to get a decision in 5 working days. Moreover, applications should only be made no more than 3 months in advance, so if you or one of the employees from your company intends to come to the UK in January to set up the branch, make the application no earlier than October. 

As stated above, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa allows an individual of an overseas company to move to the UK with their family and start a branch of the business there and stay there for a period of 3 years. After the 3 years and if the business is going well, the individual (and their family members) can apply to extend their visa and stay for an extra two years, after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain, which is the same and settled status or permanent residence. After achieving this the individual and their family members can join the path to recieve British Citizenship and an eventual British passport after 1 more year of being in the UK after the 2-year extension period. 

Want to Open a Branch of Your Business in the UK?

Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors has a team of legal experts with very extensive knowledge in helping business clients get a Sole Representative Visas. Our firm is known in London and the UK as one of the best immigration law firms, with an unbeatable track record of success and Legal 500 Top Tier recognition for our services.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

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.

Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.

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