If you are not a British citizen and you want to come work in the United Kingdom without a British passport, you will almost certainly have to apply for some kind of UK Business visa. There are a number of different kinds of visas available depending on the kind of work you intend to do in the country. Individuals who are trying to immigrate to the UK for the purpose of opening up a UK office of an-abroad based business on behalf of their company should most likely apply for a UK Representative of an Overseas Business visa, also referred to as a UK Sole Representative visa. Read on for more information about how to apply for a UK Representative of an Overseas Business visa, including how long it will take to receive one, UK Business Representative visa fees, and for an overview of the benefits of a UK Sole Representative visa. 

How to Apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

  • The application process will be different depending on whether you are applying from within the UK or from another country. 
  • Please note that all the required documents and materials must be translated into either English or Welsh (if not already in one of those languages). 
  • Please note that the required documents you must provide as a sole representative may vary depending on where you are applying from and whether you are applying as a media employee. 
  • For a complete list of documents required for sole-representatives
  • Steps to apply: 
    • Step 1: Prepare your UK Business Visa required documents
      • Passport (valid, with space for your visa).
      • Proof of subsistence (pay slips, bank accounts, etc; any documents/materials proving your ability to financially afford your time in the UK). 
      • Proof of residency (applicable for all applicants from abroad). You must include on your application information about your plans for housing once you enter the UK). 
      • Proof of negative TB test (applicable for some applicants from abroad). You must prove that you do not have tuberculosis if you are applying from one of these listed countries.   
      • Specific documents outlining the nature of your employment in the UK, including your contract and payment information. 
      • Letter from the company you represent, which confirms that it will found a branch in the UK or a subsidiary in the UK, that is of identical nature of the abroad-based entity. 
      • An official document that confirms your understanding of the nature of your business in the UK and your role as an official and recognized representative of the abroad-based company you work for. 
    • Step 2: Establish your knowledge of English 
      • You will have to fulfill an English-language requirement unless you are from one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
      • In order to establish your fluency, you must either achieve a good score on one of the listed language assessments or have graduated/have a degree from an English-language school/university. 
    • Step 3: Access the online application  
      • Click here if you are applying from another country.
    • Step 4: Attend a visa appointment 
      • After you apply online, you will schedule an interview at one of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) locations. 
      • This is where you will have your photo and fingerprints (biometric information) collected, and, if you haven’t already uploaded them, have your supplemental documents scanned. 

Processing Time

  • How long it takes for you to get a UK Sole Representative visa will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of your application, how complete your application is, and where you are applying from. Occasionally, an application will be held pending the candidate’s appointment for a personal interview. 
  • The average processing time for applicants applying for a UK Sole Representative visa from within the country is 56 days.
  • The average processing time for applicants applying for a UK Business visa from abroad (i.e. not the UK) is 21 days, which means you should apply for a visa no sooner than 90 days prior to your intended date of departure. 
  • Please note that applicants who seek to expediate their visa may pay a higher fee to do so (check to make sure this service is available). 
  • If you are in the country when you apply, please keep in mind that you should not exit the UK while your application is pending. Failure to remain in the country during the official processing period can result in the cancelling of your application. In the event this occurs, you will have to restart the entire application process.  

UK Sole Representative Visa Fees

  • The cost of a Representative of an Overseas Business visa varies depending on whether or not you are applying from within the UK or from another country. 
  • Applicants who are already in the country when they lodge their application will pay a total of £723.20. This price is inclusive of the £19.20 fee for biometric information collection, and £704 for the visa itself. 
  • Applicants who are applying from another country (non-UK) will pay only £610.  
  • Please note that these fees are not inclusive of mandatory additional charges related to healthcare.  

Benefits of a UK Sole Representative Visa

  • A UK Sole Representative visa allows you to come to the UK and work in the country without a British passport. 
  • Immigrants with UK Sole Representative visas can remain in the country for three years, with the possibility of increasing that period for a total of five years. 
  • Another key benefit of the Sole Representative visa is that once you have reached the end of its validity period (i.e. there are no more extensions available to you) you will likely have the possibility of applying for permanent settlement. 
  • A Sole Representative visa will allow you to work full time in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 
  • Once you successfully obtain a Sole Representative visa, you may apply to have your family join you in the country. 
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