Bishop & Sewell

What is it?

A Representative of an Overseas Business visa allows a sole representative of an overseas company to come to the UK to establish and run a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary. This was previously called the ‘Sole Representative visa.’

What are the main requirements?

In order to qualify for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa the applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  • be recruited and employed outside of the UK by a company which is based outside of the UK;
  • have extensive experience and knowledge of the relevant industry;
  • hold a senior position within the company and have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company but not be a major shareholder;
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK;
  • have sufficient funds to support themselves; and
  • meet the required level of English language ability.

How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?

Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years. This can then be extended for a further 2 years.

During their stay in the UK, applicants can only work for their employer. Applicants cannot be self-employed or work for any other business and they are also not permitted to stay in the UK in this category if the sole representative arrangement is terminated by their employer.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (otherwise known as ‘Settlement’)?

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held leave as a Representative of an Overseas Business for a period of 5 years. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK and during this time they have not breached any UK immigration laws;
  • they are still required for the employment in question, as certified by the employer;
  • they continue to meet the requirements of a Representative of an Overseas Business;
  • they have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days in any 12 month period throughout the 5 years relied on for the application;
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test; and
  • they do not fall for refusal under the general ground for refusal.

How we can help?

The requirements of the Representative of an Overseas Business visa are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome. They will also fully advise on the requirements to be satisfied for extension applications.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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