The UK Sole Representative visa is a kind of UK business visa offered to those seeking to immigrate to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales for the purpose of setting up a subsidiary/branch of the abroad-based entity they are working for. If you are applying for a UK Sole Representative visa, you may be wondering who can be a Sole Representative and what you can do on a Sole Representative visa in the UK (and, alternatively, what a Sole Representative cannot do in the UK)? Read on for the answers to these questions, and for more information on the benefits of a UK Sole Representative visa and UK Business visa fees.
Benefits of a UK Sole Representative Visa
- A UK Representative of an Overseas Business visa allows holders to stay in the country for up to three years, with the possibility of extending their visa for an additional two years. Once you have lived five years in the UK, you will also have the privilege of applying for permanent settlement in the country.
- The visa is ideal for workers who have families, as one of its benefits is that it allows eligible candidates to have their families join them in the country.
- Another benefit of the visa is its quick processing time. If you are applying from abroad, you will likely know whether or not you were approved for one in as few as three weeks (those applying from Britain will likely have to wait around eight weeks).
Sole Representative UK Business Visa Fees
- In general, UK Business visa costs will vary depending on what kind of visa you are applying for.
- Regarding the Sole Representative, its cost will vary depending on whether you are applying from abroad (i.e. from a country other than the UK) or applying from within the country.
- The cost of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is less expensive if you apply from abroad: £610 versus £704 if you apply while in Britain.
- In addition to the visa cost of £704, applicants applying from Britain will likely also have to pay £19.20 for the cost of having their photo and fingerprints (biometric information) collected in the country. Of course, applicants from abroad will also likely be subject to this same biometric information requirement, but the costs of that will vary according to what country they are in.
- Please note that it is also possible to expedite your visa processing time, for a fee.
- Finally, the general UK Business visa cost does not take into account mandatory healthcare surcharge fees, which all applicants for the Representative of an Overseas Business visa are liable for. Healthcare fees will vary depending on whether you are applying as a single applicant or coming with family members, your age, where you are applying from (abroad or while within the UK), and other factors.
Expiry Date and Extension of a Sole Representative Visa
- The expiry date and extension of a Sole Representative visa are three and two years, respectively.
- This means that you can reside in the UK on a Sole Representative visa for a total of three years, with the possibility to extend it for two more years, for a maximum total of five years.
- Additionally, after staying in the UK on a Sole Representative visa, you will likely be able to pursue permanent settlement in the country.
Who can be a Sole Representative?
- You must satisfy different requirements depending on whether you are applying for a visa as a journalist or general media employee of an abroad-based organization, or whether you are applying as a businessperson.
- Those who intend to work on behalf of an abroad-based media outlet/entity in the UK will be eligible for a Sole Representative visa so long as they have been credibly sent to the country in order to report on an extended assignment.
- For businesspeople applying as representatives of abroad-based entities, if you satisfy the following requirements, you will be considered eligible for a UK Sole Representative visa:
- Possess the requisite expertise, insight, and professional background necessary to fulfill the position of Sole Representative for the business you work for.
- Are offered a job by a business entity based abroad, that is both active and trading.
- Are immigrating to the UK for all intents and purposes to found a subsidiary/branch of the abroad-based entity you are working for (which will be the first in country, rather than a duplicate or competing branch).
- While not being an owner or majority controller of the company, are still empowered by your position within it to act credibly and entirely on its behalf.
- Can speak English to the requisite degree, and can demonstrate proof of your language abilities, either through scoring an acceptable level on an authorized test, supplying proof of having graduated/received a degree from an English-language university/college, or are a citizen of a country where applicants are exempt from language requirements. For more information on the English language stipulation, click here.
- Demonstrate proof of subsidence (i.e. that you can financially support yourself throughout your time in the country in the absence of UK welfare—which you are exempt from applying for.
- Provide all the required documents and materials for your visa application.
What you can do on a Sole Representative Visa in the UK
- If you have a UK Sole Representative visa, you may be employed in the country by the company you represent.
- You also may extend your visa period for a maximum of up to two years.
- You also are entitled to have your family join you in the country.
What a Sole Representative cannot do in the UK
- While some UK business visa categories allow you to be self-employed and/or have another job in addition to the one you received a visa for, with a Sole Representative visa, you are limited to working exclusively for the business you are “representing,” meaning that you will not be able to be employed by any other person or entity while in the country, even in the event that your relationship with your original employer ends.
- In fact, if you are fired or let go by the company you are acting as a Sole Representative for, you cannot remain in the country. In order to remain in Britain after you stop acting as a Sole Representative for your original company, you will most likely need to leave the UK and apply for entirely new category of UK Business visa.
- Those on Sole Representative visas are ineligible to apply for welfare in the UK.
- Finally, if you are on another kind of UK business visa, you cannot change from that visa to a Sole Representative visa.