UK Sole Representatives Visas

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UK Sole Representatives Visas

A Sole Representative visa, also referred to as a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, allows foreign nationals to work in the UK on behalf of an overseas business. It can be used by those wishing to expand their business into the UK, provided they are not a major shareholder.

The visa permits organisations to send an individual to the UK to work and can be used as an opportunity to assess whether the market is right for their business. Representative of an Overseas Business visas are also available to individuals employed by an overseas newspaper, news agency or other broadcaster where they will be on a long-term assignment in the UK.

The representative will generally be a senior employee who will set up or run the UK branch of a business or a wholly-owned subsidiary of the overseas enterprise. The visa gives the authority to stay in the UK for three years. After this time, it may be possible to extend the visa for a further two years. After five years, an application can be made for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

IBB Law’s expert business immigration solicitors have an in-depth understanding of the Sole Representative visa requirements UK and can put together a strong application on your behalf, giving you the best possible chance of success.

We represent clients from around the world and in a wide range of sectors, enabling them to come to the UK to live and work.

If you are not sure whether a Sole Representative visa UK is the right choice for your situation, we can advise you of your options. We also provide guidance and representation in respect of all other types of UK work visas.

Complete support for UK Sole Representative visa applications

Our team provide Sole Representative visa guidance throughout the application process, including:

  • Assessing eligibility for a Sole Representative visa and advising you of alternatives where necessary
  • Completing your Sole Representative visa application
  • Putting together documentation in support of your Sole Representative visa application, which can be extensive
  • Responding to UK Visas and Immigration requests for further information
  • Advice if you are invited to attend an interview
  • Advice and representation in respect of Sole Representative visa rejections and refusals
  • Making a sole representative visa extension application on your behalf

We also represent businesses wishing to send an employee to the UK to set up a branch of their organisation.

For more information in respect of the services we offer to those seeking a visa, see UK business immigration lawyers.

Why choose IBB Law for help with applying for a UK Sole Representative visa?

At IBB Law, our experienced immigration solicitors offer the following:

  • In-depth knowledge of UK Immigration laws, policies and procedures.
  • Hands on support from experts who keep up-to-date with developments in the law so that you always receive practical and accurate advice.
  • A cost-effective and timely service with great attention to detail.
  • Independently accredited immigration expertise with our team being ranked by leading client guide the Legal 500 for Immigration Law.

Looking for immediate help with a UK Sole Representative visa application?

We provide guidance and advice in respect of the Sole Representative visa immigration rules for those wishing to work in the UK on this basis. We have a strong track record of successful visa applications as well as being known for our excellent level of service.

To discuss your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email

How to apply for a Sole Representative visa for the UK

Set out below is guidance in respect of the following key points:

Making a Sole Representative visa application

A Sole Representative visa allows an individual to work full-time in the UK for an overseas employer. You must have been recruited and employed outside of the UK by the business you will be representing, and the headquarters of the business should remain outside of the UK. No other active worker or branch should be present in the UK, except in the case of an overseas media company, where more than one media representative may be allowed.

It is important to ensure that your initial application for a Sole Representative visa is accurate and that the right supporting evidence is included. Our visa experts can go through your application to ensure that errors have not been made and that adequate supporting documentation is provided.

Sole Representative visa refusals and rejections

While the Sole Representative visa UK success rate is reasonably high, your application may be refused or rejected if it contains errors or if UK Visas and Immigration are not satisfied on certain issues.

Our team have extensive experience in dealing with visa difficulties, and we can advise you on the best course of action. Where a mistake has been made in your application, it may be possible to reapply.

If your visa has been refused, you may also be entitled to request an administrative review.

Renewing a Sole Representative visa

You can apply to renew a Sole Representative visa, provided you are still working for the same employer, that their principal place of business is outside of the UK and that you have established or are supervising a UK branch or subsidiary of the business.

Application to renew should be made before the end of the term of the visa. If granted, your Sole Representative visa extension will allow you to stay for a further two years.

Alternatives to a Sole Representative visa

There are a number of other visas that may be suitable if a Sole Representative visa is not ideal for your situation. These include:

Intra-company Transfer visa – for individuals who wish to work at the UK branch of their employer’s business.

Skilled Worker visa – for skilled workers who want to work in the UK for an approved employer who is able to provide you with a certificate of sponsorship.

Global Talent visa – for talented and promising individuals who wish to work in the arts, sciences or digital technology.

Frontier Worker permit – for those who work in the UK but live in another country.

Sole Representative visa fees

The fee to apply for a Sole Representative visa or a Representative of an Overseas Business visa from outside of the UK is £610.

If you apply from within the UK, the fee is £704.

You will also need to pay to have your biometric identity information recorded.

When applying, you will need to pay the healthcare surcharge, which is an additional £624, or £470 for those under 18. This is payable every year of your stay.

What rights does a Sole Representative visa give you?

The Sole Representative visa gives you the right to work in the UK full-time for your employer for up to three years. You can also apply to extend your visa.

The Sole Representative visa UK dependant rules also allow you to bring your partner and children aged under 18 with you. Your partner cannot come if they own or control a majority of the business you work for.

You will not be allowed to work in any other capacity in the UK, nor can you have any other business interests in the country.

Sole Representative visa requirements

The Sole Representative or Representative of an Overseas Business visa has a range of requirements, and to qualify, you will need to show the following:

  • You were recruited and employed from outside of the UK
  • The business employing you is based outside of the UK, and their headquarters and principal place of business will remain there
  • You have the necessary expertise to carry out the job
  • You have a senior position within the business with the authority to make decisions (although you cannot be the owner or a major shareholder)
  • You will be establishing the business’s first presence in the UK
  • The business was not set up for the sole purpose of gaining a visa – this is referred to as the ‘genuineness test’. An applicant may be asked to provide additional documentation, including evidence that:
    • There is a genuine intention to establish a UK branch or subsidiary
    • The overseas business is active and is trading lawfully
    • You have the necessary skills and experience to represent the business
    • You are a senior employee
    • You are not a business owner who is seeking to enter the UK by claiming to be a spouse or partner of someone who has applied for a Sole Representative visa
  • You have enough money to support yourself
  • Your standard of English is acceptable

UK Visas and Immigration also have the right to request further information in respect of the business to satisfy itself that the business is genuine, to include in the following instances:

  • Where there is minimal evidence of a trading presence
  • Where the overseas business is new
  • Where it has limited staff or trade
  • There has not been any other foreign expansion
  • The applicant has other unrelated connections to the UK
  • The applicant has provided non-standard information regarding ownership or control of the business

The lengthy requirements can seem overwhelming, but it does not mean that your application for a Sole Representative visa will be rejected if you are asked for additional details. Provided the information is supplied, and your situation set out clearly for the authorities, you could still be offered a visa.

Supporting documents for a Sole Representative visa application

As well as documents providing evidence of the above, you will also be required to supply the following along with your visa application:

  • A valid passport or other travel and identity document. This should have a blank page available for your visa to be added
  • Evidence that you will be able to support yourself and your dependants during your time in the UK, generally provided by way of bank statements or payslips for the previous six months
  • Confirmation that your standard of English is adequate, which could be supplied by an exam qualification in English or by passing an approved English language test
  • Certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh

You will also need to supply biometric identity information, either by attending a visa application centre or by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

In respect of the business, you will need to provide:

  • Full details of the business’s activities and assets and a copy of the accounts
  • A letter confirming that the branch to be set up in the UK will carry out the same business activities as the overseas body
  • The job description for the position you will hold, a copy of your employment contract and a note of your salary
  • A letter stating that you are familiar with the business and have the authority to make decisions

You will also need to provide evidence that you:

  • Are employed directly by the business and are not merely a sales agent
  • Were recruited outside of the UK
  • Have a senior position within the business and are empowered to set up and run the new branch and make decisions
  • Will be working full-time for the business and will not take on any other work
  • Do not own or have a majority holding in the overseas business

How long does it take to get a Sole Representative visa?

You can apply for a visa from outside of the UK a maximum of three months before you wish to travel. If you apply from outside of the UK, you should receive a decision within three weeks of your application or provision of your biometric identity information.

You may be able to request a faster decision, for which there is an extra fee.

If you are applying from within the UK, you should have a decision within eight weeks. Once you have applied, you can stay in the UK until you receive a decision, provided you applied before your visa expired.

UK Visas and Immigration may need to come back to you to request further information, and you may be invited to attend an interview.

Get immediate expert advice on applying for a UK Sole Representative visa

If you need expert advice and support with a UK Sole Representative visa application, our highly experienced business immigration team will be happy to assist.

To discuss your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email