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UK Sole Representative Visa

This route is no longer open to new applicants and has been replaced by the Global Business Mobility visa. You may apply for an extension of stay or for ILR if you already have permission.

Some of the perks of Sole Rep Visa UK is to claim work, live, and acquire Permanent Residency in the UK. Moreover, you can also bring along your dependents (if any) under Sole Representative Visa route. The UK is regarded as one of the fifth-largest reputable business industries. Overseas business-person under the SOL REP visa category can make the most of the UK’s market without having to rely on the overhead cost linked to setting up a Branch office or hiring an employer. Therefore, before applying, it is essential for sole representative visa holders to ‘test the water’ to ensure they show a full-time dedication to any economic and market prospects available in Britain. Moreover, After 5 years of the qualifying period, you can apply to settle permanently in the UK via the ILR route.

Who Can Apply For A Sole Representative Visa UK?

To apply for the Sole Representative Visa UK category, the applicants (Sole Representatives) must be:

  • Overseas business employees, planning to come to the UK to establish either a ‘wholly-owned subsidiary’ or a branch in the UK.
  • Be senior members of the international company (not an owner) with sufficient skill-sets to make informed business decisions on behalf of the parent company.
  • Be employee(s) of an international newspaper/ news agency/broadcasting organisation, who are contracted for ‘long-term’ business tasks in the UK.

Sole Representative Visa UK Eligibility Requirements

It is essential to keep in mind the vital eligibility criteria before applying for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business. Some of which include the following:

  • You are recruited/ hired by the international company (Parent company) planning to establish either a branch office/operate a subsidiary in the UK.
  • Efficient in trading overseas business, to assure the smooth running of International headquarters based ‘outside ‘the UK.
  • Exceptional skills with vast knowledge and experience concerning the overseas organisation and its collaborative industry.
  • Be a senior member of the parent company without being the direct owner but be able to make autonomous and operational decisions on the parent company’s behalf.
  • Neither controls /owns the business nor is a shareholder of the international parent company, i.e. through sole rep ownership or partnership agreement.
  • Has a strong command of the English language proficiency.
  • Hold sufficient funds /resources during the right to remain/leave to remain to support their living finances, including airfare, etc. to support themselves and dependents, if any.

Sole Rep Visa UK Supporting Documents

It is worth bearing in mind that you (employee) as well your employer (overseas company owner) have to attach the following supporting evidence to apply for a successful Sol Rep visa:

  • Documentary proof of your offer letter detailing that you are an employee, not a sales agent/stakeholder/shareholder of the international business company.
  • Details of the job description, salary payroll, and evidence detailing your independent decision-making skills on behalf of an overseas organisation.
  • A support letter provided by your parent company proving the plans to secure a branch office or a subsidiary in the UK.
  • Travel document including the valid passport ID and any other previous travel history (visas).
  • Documentary proof of your parent company details covering the type of business it is running, including any associated accounts, assets, and liabilities.
  • Evidence of accommodation adequacy for your stay in the UK.
  • Proof of Standard English requirement passed from an approved SELT (Elaborate) centre, i.e. at least CEFR (Elaborate) level A1 in speaking and listening.
  • Results of medical tests such as TB/ Hepatitis as well as other chronic anomalies prevailing in your home country.
  • Statement of finance proving that you have enough funds to support yourself as well as any dependent accompanying you, without access to public funds.
  • Biometric Information (fingerprints/photographs/dates of birth etc).

Sole Representative (Overseas Business) Visa UK Fees:

For any overseas applicant, it is duly important to gather all the information well ahead of time, including the cost of applying for the UK Sole representative visa. This is to assure the timely submission and approved decision of your SOL REP UK application. With this in mind, You should be able to pay:

  • Sole Rep Visa — £704 per applicant (if ‘inside’ the UK).
  • Representative of an Overseas Business Visa – £610 per applicant (if ‘outside’ the UK).
  • Biometric Information — £19.20.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge— (GBP) £624/per annum/ per person.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge— For each child under 18 years of age (GBP) £470 per annum.

Application Processing Time For Representative Of An Oversea Business Visa UK

Before applying, be sure to go through the published guidelines: Representative of an Overseas Business guidance

As with other business immigration routes, the average application processing time is generally around 4-8 weeks, depending on your circumstance. However, in the following cases the application process can get complicated:

  • If you have to attend a face-face interview to satisfy the Home office regarding the missing evidence.
  • Your application is suspended due to the criminal violation/ previous conviction; failing to meet the Good character requirement..
  • Your case is still on the waiting list to be reviewed/reassessed/verified.

It is advisable to apply 3-months ahead, before your business travel to the UK. This can potentially alleviate the risks of any delays or in case you have an urgent meeting/appointment/business conference awaiting you in the UK.

If you like to expedite the decision process of your Representative of an Overseas Business Visa application, we offer untimed advice sessions. Furthermore, our time-efficient high-quality Immigration services (superfast track priority services) can help accelerate your decision process on your behalf without affecting the overall standards and merits of your SOL REP Visa application portfolio.

Duration Of Stay As A Sole Representative:

As a representative of an overseas business (Sole Representative), the applicants are entitled to work and stay for up to 3 years— the minimum initial qualifying period. After this, they are eligible to apply for the extension under the Representative of an Overseas Business UK, which grants a Leave to Remain for additional 2-years.

Having said that, the Sole Representatives can then apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain and ultimately settle in the UK permanently via the British Naturalisation process—to acquire full British citizenship.

As mentioned earlier, it is strictly essential to abide by the following UK immigration rules and regulations while staying in the UK for a minimum qualifying period:

  • Sole Representative visa Holder shouldn’t or can’t claim public funds (UK government grants, bursaries, pensions, etc.
  • Registered with the Police—to satisfy the character suitability requirements (if applicable).
  • Can’t be the owner of an international organisation nor a third-party agent on the company’s behalf.

Extend Your UK Sole Representative Visa:

After a successful residency for an initial period of 3 years (abode by the UKVI Policy), you can apply for the sole representative visa extension. This allows you to extend your stay in the UK for additional 2-years. It is always worth keeping that the supplemental application fee and eligibility requirements may apply when submitting an extension application.

Therefore, as with the Original application fee, the charges would be almost the same i.e. £704 for the SOL REP visa extension, additional Healthcare cost shall also apply (additional fee per dependent), and £19.20 for the Biometric information.

It is also crucially important to further satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  • You are exclusively working as an employee/representative of an overseas business not as an agent, to maintain prospects of the international business market in the UK.
  • Your parent organisation has a designated address registered ‘outside’ the UK.
  • You must be residing within the UK to apply to extend your visa.
  • You are still working for the same overseas employer as previously when you used for the original application.

Moreover, please keep in mind to apply online and submit your supporting documents for the extension application.

Dos And Don’ts Under The Sole Representative Visa Route?

Allowable activities — Dos

  • You can apply for the extension.
  • Entitled to full-time work under the contract of an overseas employer.
  • Family members (dependents) can join.
  • Dependant(s) can work full-time with “No Restrictions to Work”.
  • Can apply to permanently settle after 5-years of leave to remain.

Non-permitted activities — Don’ts

  • Can’t work as a ‘shareholder’/agent/ holds 50% shares in the Parent Firm or be a part of any UK business directly.
  • Can’t stay longer than the validity period of Sole Representative visa.
  • Can’t switch into the Sole Representative visa route from other Immigration routes, i.e. if you have permission to stay.
  • Outside immigration rule, Seasonal worker, Parent of a Child Student, Visitor visa, Short-term Student visa, and Domestic Worker in a Household.
  • Can’t claim for the public funds.

Satisfy The English language Requirements:

As with the other UK immigration categories, satisfying the standard English language requirements (A1 level in speaking and listening per CEFR criteria) is one of the significant eligibility conditions ascertained by UKVI.
You can fulfil the English Language requirements (Knowledge of English Language) in the following ways If you:

  • Have an academic qualification exclusively taught in English and that your degree (Bachelors, Masters, PhD) is recognisable by UK ENIC (previously NARIC).
  • Have taken and passed the approved English Test (IELTS) from an accredited institute such as SELT.

Sole Representative Visa UK Benefits

Holders of Sole Representative visa UK can enjoy many perks; some of the significant benefits include:

  • After a continuous (abode by the UK Immigration policy) 3-years qualifying period, applicants can apply for the 2 additional year extension.
  • Following 5 years Leave to Remain in the UK, applicants are entitled to apply for the Permanent Residency via Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • After 6-years of residency, the applicants are finally eligible to apply for British citizenship/nationality.
  • Representatives of a business can even combine their residency period with other visa routes to qualify them for 10-year rights to remain in the UK.

Sole Representative Visa Refusals

It must be heartbreaking news to receive a sol rep visa refusals (entry clearance and extension), especially when you are granted a humble opportunity to expand your international company’s business in the UK. Consequently, the rejections are mainly based on failing to satisfy the eligibility conditions and failing to abide by the UK immigration policy or a 50% shareholder (owner of the majority of share).

Nevertheless, getting visa refusals doesn’t hinder you from reverting the refusal decision. Hope is still on its way! Therefore, the Home office still grants you leniency to launch an appeal either through an administrative review or via a judicial review in case administrative review is deemed less effective.

Business Proposal For UK Sole Representatives

The sole representative business proposal usually covers the primary aim and objectives per UKVI Policy, with the sole purpose to open up a branch office/only subsidiary within the UK. Consequently, the plan must ensure the stability of overseas business with its head office/ other basic operations still located outside the UK. Moreover, as a Sole Representive, your business plan must strongly express your motivation as to why you like to expand it within the UK on behalf of your leading overseas parent company.

It is important to note that failing to fulfil all perquisites of UK immigration rules and regulations would result in visa refusals, i.e. poorly written business proposals.

Our highly proficient UK Immigration advice services based in London, Birmingham, Chester, and Manchester, are always here to help overseas business investors draft a sound and clear business plan. Therefore, our UK solicitors can help you meet the standards of Home Office Policy under the Representative of an Overseas Business visa category. So take a leap of faith with our following premium application support package which can relieve most of your tireless juggle:

  • Consultation via Call/Skype— with our friendly legal team, we will discuss and jargon with you the principal aims and objectives covering the nature, purpose, scope, and impact of business (while drafting your application plan) in a more reliable way.
  • Business Plan Questionnaire— this is to be filled by you after showing your interest in working with us.
  • Drafting a Solid Business Plan— a fully-fledged and well-drafted a business plan requires 3-4 weeks to complete all the prerequisites of UKVI policy specific for the Sole Representative an Overseas Business plan.
  • Proofreading the Business plan— once you agree to pay us the remaining Service charges, we will provide a thoroughly revised finalised version (word doc and PDF) ready to be submitted to the Home Office.

Impact Of Brexit On Sole Representative Visa

Brexit resolution has dramatically changed the regional dynamics of the UK immigration system towards more flexibility— equalised the work rights for both Non- EU and EU citizens. Remarkably, Sole Business Representative holders can benefit a lot from such changes. Thus, with this positive revolution, STEM (Elaborate) Professionals can also expand their businesses in the UK. They can come to the UK, test the prospects of a market available in the UK.

Moreover, STEM professionals can apply for the permanent settlement after spending a qualifying residency period of 5-years while abiding by the rules of UK immigration policy.