Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

Please note – the Sole Representative route is closed to new applicants. New applicants should now apply under the UK Expansion Worker route.

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route has been in existence for many years but now more people are considering it as an alternative route to establishing their business in the United Kingdom. This route does not require the difficult step of endorsement that is found in the Start-up and Innovator routes.

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route is designed to enable an overseas business send a senior representative to open a UK arm of the business.

The main requirements are that:

  • the business must have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK;
  • it must be establishing its first commercial presence in the UK (the legal entity can already have been set up but must not yet be employing staff or transacting business);
  • the UK operation must perform the same type of business activity as the overseas business;
  • the individual who is being sent to the UK must:
    • be employed by the overseas business — there is no minimum employment period and there is no bar on an director who is also classed as an employee from applying;
    • have sufficient authority, experience and knowledge to establish the UK operation;
    • not be a majority shareholder;
    • not fall foul of the general grounds for refusal;
    • meet the English language requirement (Level A1 unless they are from a majority English speaking country or have an academic qualification that meets the requirements);
    • be able to maintain and accommodate themselves and any family members without recourse to public funds; and
    • where required, take a TB test.

If you are granted leave to enter the UK under this route, you can only work in their capacity as the representative of the overseas company (i.e. you cannot get another job in the UK). You will receive an initial visa of three years and can then extend this providing they have set up the UK operation which has started to generate business in the UK, are still needed to run it and are in receipt of a salary. This route leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years if you have an ongoing job within the same company.

Your immediate family members can accompany you to the UK.

You cannot appeal a refusal of an application under this route, although you can ask for administrative review if you think a mistake has been made, although the Home Office will only overturn decisions where there has been a clear error. Because of this, and the high fees involved, it is very important that your application is prepared properly, and the evidence needed is sent to the Secretary of State.

It is advisable to seek specialist immigration advice when preparing your business immigration application. At HS Immigration Consultants we have significant experience in preparing applications for individuals who wish to move to the UK for work and business purposes.

Contact us

If you would like to contact us about your case and to discuss how we can help you, please call us on 0121 698 2187. Alternatively, you can email us at

You can also use our free immigration advice service (this is suitable for general enquiries about immigration requirements).