Sole Representative Visa UK

The UK Sole Representative Visa is a special category of visa designed for representatives of overseas companies who intend to set up and grow their business in the UK.

This visa allows foreign companies to send one representative to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. It is important to emphasize that this representative must have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company and cannot engage in any other activities in the country except for the interests of the sending company.

In order to successfully obtain this type of visa, the applicant must prove their key role in the company and that the company has a stable financial position and realistic plans to expand its business in the UK.

UK Sole Representative Visa Requirements

In order to successfully obtain a representative of an overseas business visa in the UK, the applicant must meet a number of strict requirements set out by the UK Home Office. These requirements are created to ensure that the applicant’s intentions are genuine and to ensure that he or she will be acting in the best interests of the overseas company.

Requirements for a foreign company representative visa:

  • The applicant must be appointed by a foreign enterprise that has its headquarters and principal activities outside the UK.
  • The applicant must hold a senior position in the company with authority to make decisions on behalf of the enterprise.
  • The applicant must not be a shareholder in the company holding more than 50% of the shares.
  • The foreign company must not have other representative offices, branches or subsidiaries in the UK.
  • The applicant must intend to establish and operate a UK branch or subsidiary.
  • The applicant must have the necessary skills, experience and market knowledge to manage the branch or subsidiary.
  • Evidence of the company’s financial stability and realistic plans to expand operations in the UK must be provided.

It is worth emphasizing that meeting these requirements is a key factor when considering an application for a visa for a representative of a foreign enterprise.

Additional Requirements For Obtaining a Visa

In order to successfully obtain a overseas business representative visa in the UK, the applicant, in addition to the requirements already mentioned, needs to demonstrate a number of other important aspects of their candidacy and their intention to represent the overseas business in the UK.

  • Proof that the applicant is indeed representing the interests of the overseas business.
  • Proof that the applicant holds a key role in a company based outside the UK.
  • Existence of the competence and expertise required to successfully represent the interests of the company in the UK.
  • Authority to negotiate and make decisions on behalf of the company.
  • Willingness to devote full time to the duties of the representative, without being involved in other affairs or business.
  • No significant shareholding or controlling interest in an overseas entity and no ability to influence company decisions through other arrangements.
  • Sufficient level of English language proficiency corresponding to CEFR A1 level.
  • Guarantees that the applicant has sufficient means to live in the UK without having to apply for state aid.

These additional requirements are intended to convince the competent authorities of the applicant’s sincerity of purpose and ability to effectively represent the interests of the foreign enterprise in the UK.

What Are The Requirements For a Company

An important condition for obtaining a overseas representative visa UK is that the applicant company must not have any subsidiaries or branches already operating in the UK.

This requirement is due to the purpose of this visa. It is intended for representatives of foreign companies seeking to establish a presence in the UK by setting up a subsidiary or branch. If such a structure already exists, an application for this visa may be seen as an intention to circumvent the rules and requirements.

The essence of this requirement is to allow foreign companies to expand their business in the UK. However, if a company already has a presence in the country, it should use other mechanisms to attract the necessary staff from abroad or to develop its business.

Thus, companies that already have branches or subsidiaries in the UK are advised to consider other types of visas and migration programs to achieve their business goals in the country.

Can a Representative Of An Overseas Company Hold Shares

The sole representative of an overseas company who intends to obtain a visa to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK must meet certain requirements relating to the ownership of shares in the company.

The main condition is that the representative must not have a controlling interest in the company. This condition implies that the applicant must not have a dominant influence over the key decisions of the company and the management of the company. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the applicant is acting in the interests of the overseas company and not personally in its interests.

If the potential applicant already has a controlling interest, they may need to sell some of their shares to become eligible for a visa. After the sale, the applicant must hold a minority or blocking shareholding, which will reduce their ownership and influence over the management of the company.

It is important to realize that the sale of shares must be real and not just on paper to qualify for a visa. These changes in shareholding structure must be documented and submitted to the relevant UK authorities when applying for a visa.

It is therefore important to consider these requirements and make the necessary changes to the shareholding structure before applying for a UK Sole Representative visa.

Conditions of Residence For The Sole Representative of An Overseas Company

The sole representative of an overseas company who has been granted the right to reside and work in the UK must strictly adhere to the conditions attached to this type of visa.

One of the key conditions is the workplace requirement. The sole representative of an overseas company is entitled to work exclusively for the company whose representative he came to the UK to represent. This means that he cannot change his place of work, accept offers from other companies or carry on his own business within the country without a corresponding change of residence status.

Breach of this condition may result in the revocation of the visa and further removal from the country. It is important to understand that such breaches may make it difficult or even impossible to obtain further visas to the UK.

In light of this, it is recommended that you strictly adhere to the conditions stipulated for this type of visa and regularly consult with a lawyer or visa advisor to keep abreast of any changes and nuances relating to your stay in the UK.

Can You Bring Your Family On This Visa

The sole representative of an overseas company who has been granted a visa to work and reside in the UK is entitled to be reunited with certain members of their family. This provides the opportunity for close relatives to live in the country with the principal applicant.

Those who can join the company representative in the UK include: a spouse, a child under the age of 18, and a same-sex partner. Note that the ability to bring parents, siblings is not available under this visa category.

In addition, there is a condition regarding financial ownership: if a relative, such as a spouse or same-sex partner, has a controlling interest in the overseas company for which the principal applicant has come to the UK, the visa may be withdrawn.

How Long is The Sole Representative Visa UK

The UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Company visa is granted for a period of three years. After this time the applicant has the option of extending the visa for an additional two years. Thus, the total period of stay under this category can be five years.

After the first three years of residence, the applicant must apply for an extension of the residence permit for a further two years in order to have the right to continue to reside and work in the UK.

The main condition that must be met by the holder of this visa is to work for the company that was specified at the time of visa application. It is not permitted to change employment during the visa period. In addition, the parent company that the applicant represents must continue to operate outside of the UK and have its main headquarters in another country.

This strict condition is created to ensure that the sole representative is genuinely working for the interests of their overseas company and is not trying to use this type of visa for other purposes.

The Possibility Of Further Settlement in The UK

After a five-year stay in the UK on a sole trader visa, foreign nationals can apply for regularization, which allows them to remain in the UK indefinitely. For such an application to be successful, the applicant must meet a number of criteria.

The main points that will be taken into account when considering the application are:

  • Absence from outside the UK for more than 180 days during a five-year stay;
  • Permanent employment with the company for whose benefit the applicant came to the UK;
  • English language skills of at least B1 level.

In addition, as of October 6, 2021, there are changes to the requirements for extending this visa. Among the innovations:

  • The overseas business represented by the applicant is actively operating, engaged in commercial activity, with its principal office and place of business located outside the UK;
  • The applicant has worked full time for the benefit of the overseas business he or she represents or its affiliated entity within the UK;
  • The Applicant was not engaged in an ancillary business and was not self-employed;
  • The Applicant did not have a controlling interest in or key control over the represented overseas business through various forms of shareholding or partnership arrangements;
  • The applicant successfully incorporated and controlled a branch or subsidiary in the UK which was wholly owned by the overseas business and actively engaged in the same business activities.