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Sole Representative Visa


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Sole Representative

Sole Representative Visa

The Representative of an Overseas Business category (also known as a Sole Representative) can be considered to be a good option for companies from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (thereafter – overseas companies) to come to the UK to establish a UK branch or subsidiary. It may be attracting companies who wish to establish their first presence in the UK as there is no minimum investment requirement.

The main requirements of the Representative of an Overseas Business category:

  • Overseas companies should not have any entities in the UK such as a representative, branch or subsidiary. However, only one exemption can be applied if a company does not operate a business and employ staff in the UK.
  • The overseas company can only send a single employee holding a senior position to the UK to launch the company’s branch or subsidiary in the UK under the Sole Representative visa. The senior employee must be employed outside the UK on a full-time basis and have the authority to make operational decisions on behalf of the parent company.
  • Although the Sole Representatives must have a senior position and have the authority to make decisions, they must not hold a majority of shares in the parent company. The Home Office will refuse applications if applicants have more than 50% of shares. Moreover, it is also important to note that the UK branch or subsidiary must be wholly owned by the overseas parent company.
  • The parent overseas companies must be actively trading and intend to operate the same business in the UK. However, the companies are not permitted to move their central offices to the UK.
  • Applicants can also bring their dependent family members.

The applicants must apply 3 months before their proposed arrival to the UK. The Home Office usually makes decisions on this type of application within 3 weeks from the biometrics enrolment in a visa application centre. If applications are successful, sole representatives are granted to stay in the UK for 3 years with the possibility to extend their leave for another 2 years.

In addition, we would like to emphasise on main advantages and disadvantages for this visa category:


  • There is no minimum investment required.
  • It is possible to extend the Sole Representative visa many times in the UK. However, it is required that individuals should still work for the same overseas employers when they were previously granted the visa.
  • Applicants can bring their family members to the UK. However, they will need evidence to prove that they are able to maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependent family members in the UK.
  • After 5 years of lawful residence in the UK under the Sole Representative category, individuals will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, provided that they meet the other eligibility requirements.


  • You can only make one application for a Sole Representative for the parent overseas company.
  • You cannot switch to the Sole Representative category from another visa category in the UK.
  • Individuals granted the Sole Representative visa are not allowed to be employed in another company or to be engaged in other business activities under this visa category. If the Sole Representatives wish to carry out additional business-related activities, they must apply for the work permit under the relevant category.

Should you have any further questions regarding a Sole Representative visa, please do not hesitate to contact us at or call us at 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via


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