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The Sole Representative Visa (Representative of an Overseas Business Visa) is for overseas companies to set up a branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary of their business in the UK. This visa allows companies to send their representative (Sole Representative) to the UK.

What is a Sole Representative?

A sole representative is an overseas national who is recruited and employed outside the UK by an active and trading business whose headquarters and chief operations happen outside the UK. This makes  the skill set and experience to represent their business.

The sole representative Is in a senior position in the firm and has complete authority to make decisions on the company’s behalf. The representative should not be someone who owns or controls the majority of the business.

Wishes to expand its business and establish its first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary.

If you are an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organization posted on a long-term assignment to the UK, you can apply as a representative of an overseas business

Companies that own legal entities in the UK but do not employ staff or conduct business are eligible.

Companies can replace their sole representative if the previous employer has not set up a UK branch or subsidiary.


One must have enough financial support to be eligible for this visa. Access to public funds is denied. Here at B&F Services, we offer funding business plans for UK companies and international businesses. 

Language Requirements

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English language knowledge is essential for being a Sole Representative in the UK. Passing a Secure English language test (SELT) with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening is necessary. Representatives with an academic qualification taught in English and are recognized by UK NARIC as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. are eligible.

Length of Period

You need to apply 3 months before you travel. You will receive a decision within 3 weeks (If you are applying from outside) and 8 weeks if you apply from within the UK.

The duration and decision can change depending on various factors. The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) will contact an applicant if:

  • the supporting documents need to be verified
  • An interview is required 
  • Check for  criminal conviction or other legal issues.
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Check out our ‘International Services and Visa’ blog on our official website.

How long can an individual stay for?

With the Sole Representative Visa, you can stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years. An extension of 2 years is possible. You can apply for permission to settle permanently after being in the UK for 5 years. You are eligible for an extension only if you continue to work for the same firm that gave the initial visa. The firm you are representing should be functional, with its parent company outside the UK. You must be living in the UK and working to establish your business to be eligible.

Bringing Family

Sole Representatives can bring their family/dependents to the UK. The dependents must have a visa if they are overseas nationals. Your husband, wife, or partner and your child under 18 come in this category.

Your dependents can also apply for extension along with you.

If any of them owns the majority of the company you are representing, you are not allowed to bring them.

If your child is born in the UK, you can add them to your visa as your dependent.

Documents Required

Documents are very essential to have before applying. These are the list of documents needed for visa application below:

  • Current passport or any other travel identification.
  • Evidence that you can support yourself and your dependents while in the UK.
  • Proof of English eligibility also should be submitted during application.
  • Certified translations should be attached for any document that is not in English or Welsh.
  • Tuberculosis test report, if applicable should be attached, for applications from outside the UK.
  • Employment and Business Details

You are required to submit necessary documents that show the job description, employment contract, and salary details. A detailed business plan along with details of assets and accounts must be attached. You should also provide evidence that you were directly recruited by the company you are representing and not a sales agent.

Definition of a Business Plan

A business plan should contain all the business details of your company outside of the UK. This is very similar to a SEIS Business Plan. When creating a business plan, an individual also need to provide and prepare a business plan that consists of the objectives and reasons for expanding the business to the UK. It should also state that the principal office and centre of operations of your business will continue to be outside the UK. This will help with a business plan to be very effective, clear and informative. 

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The plan should also convey that your firm is strong and has clear expansion goals. If a business needs help with a business plan or creating a business plan, B&F Services is also a business plan consultant in the UK that delivers a range of Business Visa Plans for international businesses. This is a good service to use if a firm needs help with a business plan in the UK and/or to prepare a business plan.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions for a Sole Representative is:

  • To not have access to public funds.
  • Cannot stay in the UK if your company ends the agreement.
  • Cannot switch to this visa from other visa categories.
  • Cannot work for any other firm or start your own business in the UK.
  •  Representing your company in the UK is a huge responsibility. Our team is here to help you with the visa process. Contact us for the best consultancy experience. Get ready to expand your business.


There are some adjustments that will be introduced and make the process more transparent. This is very likely for the application process to take longer, given the requirement to secure a UK Expansion Worker Sponsor License before making the application, making businesses potentially slower to react to market needs. The removal of the route to settlement and therefore citizenship in this route will also be a disappointment to many who will not want to undertake costly and stressful relocations for temporary periods. This is likely to have a substantial impact on those with school age children who may be more reluctant to move their children between education systems. 

This blog highlighted the definition of  sole representative and funding requirements. Finances, documents and language requirements are also mentioned earlier in this blog. Moreover, the length period of application and stay were briefly discussed. This blog stated the possibility of a sole representative bringing family members  during their stay. Lastly, this blog reminded readers the importance of a business plan and the terms and conditions of being a sole representative. 

Overseas businesses who are planning to expand to the UK, may wish to consider the pros and cons of the UK Expansion Worker, against the requirements of different routes to conclude the most suitable course of action to take. Also, B&F Services are the best company to work with as an international business as they are a business plan consultant in the UK.

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