REPRESENTATIVE OF AN OVERSEAS BUSINESS VISA

You can apply for this visa if you are an employee of an overseas business who intends to be
the sole representative of your employer in the UK.

A Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is valid for three years, but can be extended by a further two years. This may lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK at the end of five years.

There are two categories of applicants for this immigration route:

The sole representative of an overseas business

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is granted to senior employees of overseas businesses with the intention to establish a commercial presence and run a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the business.

Representative of an overseas media organisation

This visa can also be granted to an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK.

 

Overseas Business Representative Visa UK - Eligibility criteria

To qualify for this visa, you must be able to support yourself and your dependants without needing help from public funds. You must also meet the English language requirement

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for this visa, you must be able to support yourself and your dependants without needing help from public funds. You must also meet the English language requirement

The sole representative of an overseas business:

  • You must have been recruited as an employee outside the UK by an active and trading business, whose headquarters and principal place of business are, and will remain, outside the UK
  • You must be qualified for the position, with the relevant skills, experience and knowledge for the role
  • You must be a senior employee of the overseas business (but not own or control the majority of the business) 
  • You must have the full authority to make operational decisions on behalf of the business
  • You must show your intent to establish the overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary

If your business has been working to establish its presence in the UK but it is not yet operational, you can replace a previous sole representative.

The overseas business must:

  1. Have its business headquarters and principal place of business outside of the UK.
  2. Have no active branch, subsidiary or other representative of the business in the UK.
  3. Intend to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of that overseas business.
  4. Intend for the registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary to operate in the same kind of business activity as the overseas business.
  5. If the overseas business has already set up a legal entity or has premises in the UK at the point of application, it must not have transacted business in the UK.

Representative of an overseas media organisation:

As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you can apply if you are being posted on a long-term assignment in the UK.

English language requirement

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. The English language requirement of Level A1 or above can be evidenced in one of three ways:

    1. You are a national of a majority English speaking country; or
    2. You hold a qualifying degree taught in English; or
    3. You have passed an approved English language test.

Restrictions

  • You can only work for your employer. You cannot engage in self-employment or undertake any other employment
  • You can only work for the overseas office. If the sole representative arrangement ends, the visa holder must leave the UK
  • You cannot be a majority shareholder of your employer’s business
  • You cannot switch to this visa from any other visa category

English language requirement

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. The English language requirement of Level A1 or above can be evidenced in one of three ways:

    1. You are a national of a majority English speaking country; or
    2. You hold a qualifying degree taught in English; or
    3. You have passed an approved English language test.

Restrictions

  • You can only work for your employer. You cannot engage in self-employment or undertake any other employment
  • You can only work for the overseas office. If the sole representative arrangement ends, the visa holder must leave the UK
  • You cannot be a majority shareholder of your employer’s business
  • You cannot switch to this visa from any other visa category

FAQ

Overseas Business Representative Visa UK

You should make an application for a UK Sole Representative visa no more than 3 months before you intend to travel.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

You can apply for Priority Service if it is available in your country. There is a cost to get a quicker decision – this depends on each individual visa application centre.

Priority Service: Collection within 5 working days

Super Priority Service: Collection within 24 hours

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is valid for three years, whether you arrive in the UK on this visa or apply for a visa switch from within the UK. Thereafter you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

No, you cannot switch to the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa from another visa.

Your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner and any dependant children under the age of 18 may apply to join you in the UK as your dependent.

You must demonstrate that you have enough money to maintain and accommodate yourselves without recourse to public funds.

The dependants will receive the same period of leave as the main applicant and will be able to work without restrictions in the UK.

CONTACT US FOR OUR
EXPERT ADVICE

There are many requirements to be met to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration. The Immigration Rules contain strict requirements in terms of the evidentiary documents that must be provided.

Woodcock Law is well placed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on making a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa application. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous.

We recommend getting in contact with us on 020 7712 1590 for our expert advice on such an application before any action is taken.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on www.gov.uk.

LEGAL

Woodcock Law & Notary Public is the combined trading name of Woodcock Law Limited (Co. No: 12080697) and Woodcock Notary Public Limited (Co. No: 12085976). Woodcock Law Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (registration number 664924). Woodcock Notary Public Limited is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury for work undertaken by Mr Nathan Woodcock as a Notary Public. Woodcock Law Limited is a member of Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. (Membership Number: 7980).

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Woodcock Law and Notary Public specialises in a wide range of visa categories.