Sole Representative of an Overseas Business

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business

Visa Application as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Company


The UK home Office allows you to come to the UK as a sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company.


To be eligible, you must:

  • 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
  • hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, for example a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
  • prove your knowledge of English by passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening


You will need to provide the following documents:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • evidence that you can support yourself and any dependants during your trip, for example bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
  • details of where you’ll be staying during your stay
  • proof that you meet the English requirement


You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa. You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh


You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances, but generally you’ll need to provide:

  • a full description of the parent company’s activities, including details of assets and accounts
  • a letter confirming the overseas company will establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK in the same business activity as the parent company
  • your job description, employment contract and salary details
  • a letter confirming you’re familiar with the company and have the power to take operational decisions


You should also provide evidence that you:

  • are directly employed by the parent company and are not acting as a sales agent (for example, hired by a company to sell or distribute their products within the UK, but working for yourself and providing your services for a fee)
  • were recruited to the company outside of the UK, hold a senior position and are able to make decisions on its behalf and have the authority to establish and operate a registered branch
  • will be working full time for the company for the duration of your stay and will not carry out any other work
  • are not a majority shareholder in the company


We will submit your visa application online, through the UK Home Office Portal. You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.


You can apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Representative of an Overseas Business visa for a further 2 years provided

  • you’re still working for the same employer as when you were issued your previous visa
  • you’re still working to establish the company’s first presence in the UK
  • your employer’s principal place of business is still outside the UK


You must be in the UK to extend your visa. You can then apply to settle in the UK once you have been in the UK for 5 years and you have an ongoing job with the same company.



Application Process

The application is submitted online by your representative, and you are then asked to attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre at your country to supply the documents and provide your fingerprints (more details below).


When to apply:


The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK. You also have to option to pay an extra fee for an express service to receive a decision faster. Please contact us to find out more about paying for a faster decision.


Cost of the Application

The home office application fee for the Representative of an Overseas Business visa is £610. You will also be required to pay the health surcharge fee of £624 per year as part of your application. At Goodwyn Herrera Solicitors, our fee for preparing this application is between £2500 to £4500.

The Home Office also requires you to pay the UK Immigration Healthcare Surcharge as part of the application, which is around £624 per year for the applicant and each dependent.

If the visa is granted, you can come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years. You may be able to extend your visa for another 2 years. After you’ve been in the UK for 5 years, you can apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK.



What you can and cannot do 


You can:

  • work for your employer, full time
  • bring your family (‘dependants’) with you to the UK
  • extend your visa multiple times
  • apply to settle in the UK after you’ve been here for 5 years


You cannot:

  • work for yourself or any other business
  • stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer
  • switch to this visa from any other visa category
  • get public funds


Our lawyers have over 10 years of experience in UK visa applications and pride ourselves in providing a high quality and prompt service to our clients. We can have your application ready for submission within 24 hours of receipt of all the paperwork, provided we are satisfied you will have your documentation ready in time for your appointment at the Visa Application Centre.

Get in touch with us now to discuss the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa application with one of our experienced lawyers. 

Get in touch with us

At Goodwyn Herrera we are experienced in providing employment law advice to businesses. Our clear and practical advice is designed with your business success and commercial objectives in mind. If you would like to speak to an expert employment solicitor, call us on 020 8187 6495 or email us at make a free no-obligation enquiry.