You can apply for sole reprsentatives visa for UK if you are the sole representative of an overseas company, intending to set up a wholly owned subsidiary or register a UK branch for an overseas parent company.

Services For Sole Representative Migrants

As specialist Sole Representative visa solicitors, we can provide fast, friendly and reliable fixed fee immigration advice and representations for the following applications for Sole Representative Migrants:

Services For Dependants Of Sole Representative

Our specialist team of dependant visa solicitors can provide fast, friendly, reliable and fixed fee immigration advice and representations for following applications for dependants of Sole Representative Migrant:

FAQs - Sole Represenative Visa Entry Clearance UK

Can I switch into sole representative visa from inside the UK?

You cannot switch into representative of an overseas business visa from inside the UK and the initial application can only be made through an entry clearance from outside the UK.

For how long will I be granted UK visa as a result of a successful application for entry clearance as a sole representative of an overseas business?

As a result of successful entry clearance for sole representative visa UK, you will be granted UK visa as a sole representative of an overseas business for 3 years with an option to extend it for further 2 years to be eligible for ILR after 5 years.

What is a sole representative?

The Home Office UKVI will take into account the following factors when considering whether the applicant can be treated as a sole representative under the representative of an overseas business category:

The sole representative must have:

  • been employed by the parent company in a senior job role within the company
  • a track record of setting up branches for other companies, if they have been employed specifically to undertake this role
  • authority to take operational decisions once in the UK, as indicated by the role in the company hierarchy

Majority shareholders in the parent company are not eligible for entry as sole representatives. The Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will refuse an application when an applicant’s shareholding is over 50 per cent.

What are the eligibility requirements for sole representative visa entry clearance?

You can apply for entry clearance as sole representative of an overseas employer who intends to establish a commercial presence by operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK: that branch or subsidiary will operate in the same type of business activity as the overseas business.

For you to make a successful application as a sole representative of an overseas business, you must:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by the employer they intend to represent in the UK
  • intend to work full-time for the organisation
  • not intend to take any other employment
  • be applying to be the sole representative in the UK of an overseas employer who intends to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK: that branch or subsidiary will operate in the same type of business activity as the overseas business
  • not be a majority shareholder in that overseas business
  • be a senior employee of the overseas company
  • have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business for the purpose of representing it in the UK
  • obtain entry clearance in this category before arrival in the UK and present it to an border force officer on arrival
  • provide evidence that you can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds
  • meet the required standard in English language

You employer must have:

  • its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK
  • no branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK

If there is already a branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK, employees must apply under the points-based system.

What the conditions of grant of UK visa entry clearance as a sole representative of an overseas business?

Leave to enter or remain under this route is subject to the following conditions:

  • no recourse to public funds;
  • must register with the police, if required by paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules;
  • work only as a representative for the business which they have been admitted to represent;
  • study (with no limit on the number of study hours if it doesn’t interfere with the job they have been sponsored to do).
Can I sponsor my dependants to join me or accompany me to the UK?

You can sponsor your dependants (spouse/partner and children under the age of 18) to accompany you to the UK or to join you later in the UK as your dependants.

What is difference between a branch and subsidiary of an overseas compnay in the UK?

You must consider the following information for a branch or subsidiary to meet the requirements of the representative of an overseas business category:

Branch Of An Overseas Company

A registered branch is part of a company organised to conduct business on behalf of the parent company. This enables someone in the UK to deal direct with the branch here instead of the company in its home country.

The sole representative must intend to, and then actually, establish the new branch in the UK. This must be the same type of business as the parent company overseas. For example, it must supply a similar product or service. An overseas manufacturing company can establish a UK branch for the sale or servicing of their products in the UK.
The UK branch must register with Companies House as a UK establishment within one month of opening.

You can apply for sole representative representative visa entry clearance after a branch is established in the UK, as long as that branch:

  • exists only as a legal entity;
  • has set up a bank account;
  • has identified, and set up, premises.

Entry clearance as a sole representative will only be granted where:

  • no staff are employed;
  • the branch has not yet transacted any business.

An example might be when the company has set up as a legal entity in advance of the company’s expansion into the UK.

A Wholly-owned Subsidiary

If a parent company or holding company owns 100% of another company, that company is called a "wholly-owned subsidiary." Wholly-owned subsidiaries are 100 percent owned by the parent company.

Advantages of using wholly owned subsidiaries include vertical integration of supply chains, diversification, risk management, and favorable tax treatment abroad. Disadvantages include the possibility of multiple taxation, lack of business focus, and conflicting interest between subsidiaries and the parent company.

While a branch has no separate legal standing, a subsidiary company is a separate legal entity and has an identity different from its holding company. In case of branches, there may be the joint or separate maintenance of accounts, whereas the subsidiaries maintain their own separate accounts.

The most common form of company for a UK subsidiary is the private limited company, and setting up a company of that type involves going through the standard UK company registration process and applying to Companies House. A UK subsidiary has to have at least one named director.

What should the terms of employment of a sole representative entail?

The applicant must provide an employment contract which should lay down all the terms and conditions of employment of the sole representative. The terms and conditions of employment should entail, among other factors, the authority (job description) of the sole representative and the salary and hours of the sole representative.

What is the processing time for sole representative visa entry clearance appliation?

Standard Service

An application for sole representative visa entry clearance made using standard service is normally granted within 3 to 4 weeks.

Priority Service

If the Prioirty Service is available in the country you’re applying from you can choose the ‘priority service’ when you apply. There will be an additional cost for this service. A decision will be made within 5 working days of your appointment at the visa application centre.

Check with your visa application centre to see if the priority visa service is available in the country you’re applying from. The priority visa service is available in most countries.

You might wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is required before a decision is made. If your application is delayed, you will be informed by the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) within the standard timescales for your visa.

FAQs - Extension/Renewal Of Sole Representative Visa UK

How can I apply for extension of my sole representative visa?

If you are already in the UK with sole representative visa, you can apply for extension/renewal of your sole representative visa by completing online application form FLR (IR).

Can I use Super Priority Service (decision within 24 hours) for my sole representative visa renewal?

No, you cannot use Super Priority Service for renewal of your sole representative visa as Super Priority Service is not available for sole representative visa extension application. You can only use standard service for extension of your sole representative visa .

For how long will I be granted further extension if my application for sole representative visa renewal is successful?

As a result of a successful application for renewal of your sole representative visa, you will be granted further leave to remain for 2 years as a sole representative.

Do I need a letter from my employer to renew my sole representative visa?

Yes, you will need a certification letter from your employer to support your application for renewal of your sole representative visa.

What are the eligibility requirements for sole representative visa extension?

To succeed in your application for sole representative visa extension application, you must satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be in the UK with sole representative visa as a representative of an overseas business;
  • You must still be working for the same employer in the UK branch or subsidiary of the overseas parent company;
  • You must only intend to work for the same employer full time and in the same job as a representative of an overseas business;
  • You must show that you have been in receipt of salary from your employer by providing evidence of the salary paid in the previous 12 months and confirmation of how that salary was paid: for example, whether basic or commission, and the number of hours paid;
  • You should provide confirmation from your employer that you are still required for your job as a sole representative;
  • Your employer's principal place of business and business head quarter is still outside the UK;
  • You must show that you have established and are in charge of a branch or subsidiary in the same type of activity as the parent company;
  • You must provide evidence that you have generated business, principally with firms in the UK, on behalf of your employer since entry to the UK or your last extension of stay: the evidence must be in the form of accounts, copies of invoices or letters from firms who you have done business with, including indications of the value of transactions;
  • You must provide a Companies House certificate of registration as a UK establishment (for a branch) OR a certificate of incorporation (for a subsidiary) with either a copy of the share register or a letter from the company’s accountants confirming that all shares are held by the parent company;
  • You must be able to maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds;
  • You must not be in breach of immigration laws, except that any period of overstaying allowed under the Immigration Rules will be disregarded.
How can I challenge the refusal of my sole representative visa extension application?

If your application for renewal of sole representative visa is refused by the Home Office UKVI, you can file an Administrative Review (AR) of the Home Office refusal decision within 14 days of the refusal decision date. The Home Office UKVI will consider and decide your Administrative Review (AR) within 28 days of receiving the Administrative Review (AR).

Can I re-apply for sole representative visa extension after the refusal of my visa renewal application?

You can re-apply for extension of your sole representative visa after the refusal of your renewal application within 14 days of either the refusal of your application or within 14 days of the Administrative Review (AR) decision against the refusal of your application. Our expert team of immigration solicitors can help you prepare and file a fresh application for sole representative visa extension after the refusal of your visa renewal application.

What is the processing time of sole representative visa extension application?

According to the Home Office UKVI website, a decision on your sole representative visa extension application will be made within 8 weeks.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

FAQs - ILR Sole Representative

How can I apply for ILR as a sole representative of an overseas business?

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a sole representative by completing an online application form.

Can I apply for ILR as a sole representative using Super Priority Service?

No, you cannot use Super Priority Service for ILR as a sole representative as Super Priority Service is not available for ILR as a sole representative. You can only use standard service for ILR as a sole representative.

When can I apply for ILR as a sole representative?

You can apply for ILR as a sole representative 28 days before completing 5 years residence in the UK with leave to remain as a sole representative. Your qualifying period can include time from the date your initial application for entry clearance was approved.

What are the eligibility requiremets for ILR as a sole representative?

You can apply for ILR as a sole representative of an overseas business if you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You have completed 5 years in the UK with UK visa as a sole representative of an overseas business;
  • You have met the requirements of a representative of an overseas business throughout the 5 year period and you should still meet all the requirements - this includes being employed throughout the period, for example by providing P60s for the last 5 years and pay slips for the last 3 months;
  • You should provide evidence to show you have established a branch registered as a UK establishment or subsidiary and generated business;
  • You should provide evidence to show that your employer is still be actively trading and remains centred overseas;
  • You have no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months (known as ‘continuous residence’);
  • You provide proof that your employer still needs you to do your job;
  • You must not be in breach of immigration laws, except that any period of overstaying allowed under the Immigration Rules will be disregarded.

You should also:

Can I re-apply for ILR as a sole representative after the refusal of my ILR application?

You can re-apply for ILR as a sole representative after the refusal of your ILR application within 14 days of either the refusal of your ILR application or within 14 days of the Administrative Review (AR) decision against the refusal of your ILR application. Our expert team of immigration solicitors can help you prepare and file a fresh application for ILR as a sole representative after the refusal of your ILR application.

What is the absences criteria for ILR as a sole representative?

You cannot have had more than 180 days’ absences from the United Kingdom during any consecutive 12 month period within the 5 year period. You will need to list details of your absences from the United Kingdom, including the reasons for those absences, on your application form for ILR as a sole representative. You can include the time between your entry clearance being granted and you entering the United Kingdom as part of your continuous period. Absences between the date entry clearance is granted and the date you enter the United Kingdom are treated as an absence from the United Kingdom and will form part of the 180 days allowed within a continuous 12-month period. You do not need to provide evidence to demonstrate a period of absence between obtaining entry clearance and entering the United Kingdom.

For ILR application as a sole representative made after 11 January 2018, Home Office would consider absences from the UK on a rolling basis, rather than in separate consecutive 12-month periods. If your qualifying period includes leave granted before this date, any absences during that leave will be considered under the previous rules – in separate 12-month periods, ending on the same date as you make your ILR as a sole representative application.

For example, you apply for ILR as a sole representative on 30 June 2020. Your continuous period includes the following grants of leave:

  • One grant of leave from 1 July 2015 to 28 July 2018 – Any absences during this grant of leave will be considered in separate 12 month periods, ending on 30 June each year.
  • One grant of leave from 29 July 2018 to 30 June 2020 – Any absences during this grant of leave will be considered on a rolling basis. Home Office UKVI will not include any absences from the previous grant of leave when they assess this.

Work Related Absences Or Absences In Line With Annual Paid Leave

If any of your absences are in connection with employment or in line with annual paid leave you will need to provide a letter from the relevant employer detailing the purpose and period of absences, including periods of annual paid leave. You will need to provide this information for the full 5 year continuous period.

Absences Due To Serious Or Compelling Reasons

If any of your absences are due to a serious or compelling reasons, you must provide a personal letter which includes full details of the reason(s) for the absences and all relevant supporting documents in relation to those reasons - e.g. medical certificates, birth/death certificates, other information about the reasons which led to the absence from the United Kingdom.

Whatever the reason for absences from the United Kingdom, they will still be counted towards the maximum 180 days unless they fall under a specific exemption. This includes any absences for work reasons, or serious and compelling reasons.

Exemption Where Absences Are Not Considered

Your absences are not considered as part of the maximum 180 days where you have been absent from the United Kingdom assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis.

What is the processing time of ILR application as a sole representative?

According to the Home Office UKVI website, a decision on your ILR application as a sole representative will be made within 6 months.

You’ll be contacted if your ILR application is complex and will take longer, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)
How can I challenge the refusal of my ILR as a sole representative?

If your application for ILR as a sole representative has been refused by the Home Office, UKVI, you can file an Administrative Review (AR) of the Home Office refusal decision within 14 days of the refusal decision date. The Home Office UKVI will review the refusal decision and decide the Administrative Review (AR) request within 28 days of receiving the Administrative Review (AR) request.