The Representative of an Overseas Business visa (known in short as the Sole Representative visa) provides a pathway to UK immigration to foreigners looking to help their employer (an abroad-based business) establish a branch in the country.
If you are considering choosing a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you should familiarize yourself with its terms and conditions. Read this blog to learn 20 of the key facts about this topic, including how to apply for a Sole Representative visa and what kind of applicants the Sole Representative visa is eligible for. These key facts will include answers to FAQs like, “What is the Sole Representative visa processing time,” and, “Do I need to earn a minimum level of salary for the Sole Representative visa?” and finally, “Can a Sole Representative bring family members to the UK?” The answers to these questions, and more key facts, can be found below.
What is the UK Sole Representative Visa?
- The Sole Representative visa allows foreigners to come to the UK for the purpose of serving as the agent tasked with helping initiate the British branch of an abroad based company (or, alternatively, a subsidiary that is “wholly owned“).
- Media employees who are being sent to Britain by the abroad-based entity they work for can also pursue the Sole Representative visa.
20 Key Facts and FAQs For UK Sole Representative Visa:
- To be eligible for the Sole Representative visa, you need to have been hired by your business (i.e. the commercial entity on whose behalf you are pursuing the visa) while you were abroad. This business must be both trading and active, and it must be committed to staying abroad (i.e. not intending to relocate its headquarters to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland).
- Another eligibility requirement of the visa is that you provide evidence that you are being tasked with helping create up your company’s original footprint in the country (i.e. you cannot receive a visa if the business you work for already has a location in the country).
- You can remain in Britain for up to three years on the visa, with the possibility of an additional extension of stay as a Sole Representative for two years on top of the original three.
- A permanent extension of stay as a Sole Representative is possible for visa holders who successfully remain in the country on the visa for five years. Five years after you first entered the UK with your Sole Representative visa, you may apply for permanent settlement in the country.
- Don’t apply to early—you cannot submit your application in advance of three months prior to when you want to enter the UK.
- Unlike other types of UK visas, you can apply for the Sole Representative visa from both within Britain and from abroad.
- The process to apply for the UK Sole Representative visa is almost entirely online.
- The in-person component of the Sole Representative application process involves the submission of one’s biometric information (photos and fingerprints) at either a visa application center or UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center, depending on whether you are applying from abroad or from within the country.
- The Sole Representative cost to apply for the visa is either £610 or £704, depending on whether you submit your application from abroad or from Britain. Please note that the above Sole Representative cost does not include other relevant fees, including those related to biometric information collection and healthcare.
- The processing time for the visa is typically three weeks or eight weeks, depending on whether you are applying from abroad or from within Britain, respectively.
- Unless they are from a country that is exempt from the requirement, Sole Representative visa holders must possess English language skills in order to be eligible for the visa. You can demonstrate your English abilities by achieving a certain grade on an official SELT-test or by having graduated from an English-language university/institution.
- “Do I need to earn a minimum level of salary in the UK in order to apply for the Sole Representative visa?” No. Unlike other kinds of UK work visas, the Sole Representative does not have a minimum salary requirement. However, the Sole Representative visa is eligible for applicants who provide details of their salary as part of their required documents. It’s also important to keep in mind that the people who are examining your application will look for evidence that you will be receiving a salary that is commensurate with your skill level and experience as evidence that you are deserving of a Sole Representative visa.
- Applicants who are found to lack the requisite skillset, professional background, and expertise to fulfill their Sole Representative duties will be denied a visa.
- Even though there is no minimum salary requirement for the Sole Representative, applicants must fulfill certain financial requirements in order to qualify for it (for example, applicants must provide evidence of their ability to financially afford their cost of living in the UK in the absence of public funds).
- While applicants for the Sole Representative visa may be owners of the business they are seeking to represent in the UK, if they own more than 50% of the company, they will be barred from pursuing the visa.
- You are not allowed to switch into the Sole Representative visa category. You can only apply for the visa outright.
- Before you commit to choosing a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, keep in mind that you are barred from doing the following: being self-employed or being employed by an entity that is not your abroad-based business, receiving welfare in the UK, and remaining in the country in the event you are fired by your abroad-based company.
- “Can a Sole Representative bring family members to the UK?” The answer to this question is yes. Eligible dependents of valid Sole Representative visa holders include spouses (and unmarried partners) and children age 17 and younger.
- If you are wondering how to apply for a Sole Representative visa, you should follow these general steps:
- Check that you meet the eligibility requirements.
- Assemble your required documents.
- Apply online (to access the online application, contact us here).
- Submit your biometric information.
- Wait for your decision.
- To apply for the Sole Representative visa, contact us here.