UK Sole Representative Visa
Sole Representative Visa Applications
What is a Sole Representative Visa?
A Sole Representative visa allows an individual to come to the UK in order to set up a UK branch or subsidiary on behalf of an overseas company, if the company does not already have a representative in the UK.
If you intend to apply under this visa category, you should be a senior employee of the overseas company. The company can recruit someone specifically for this role but they would have to be recruited overseas. The applicant cannot be a majority shareholder in the overseas company but must be senior enough to have full authority to take operational decisions in respect of the UK office operations without prior approval from the parent business.
Sole Representative Visa Requirements
The Sole Representative applicant will need to meet the English Language requirements at level A1 of the Common European Framework Reference (CEFR). This requirement can also be met if the applicant has a degree acceptable by UK NARIC.
The advantage of this category is that the individual is not required to have any particular amount of financial resources, as it is expected that the parent company would provide all the necessary capital. However, the individual must adequately maintain and accommodate themselves - and any dependents - without recourse to public funds.
A Sole Representative cannot take any other employment and must intend to work full-time in their role as a representative of the parent company overseas.
There is no requirement on minimum salary or minimum level of educational qualifications.
Sole Representative Visa Extension
The initial sole representative visa is given for 3 years and could be extended for a further 2 years (or 3 years, if the applicant was granted leave prior to 1st October 2009). Following this, an applicant can make an application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.
At the point of extension, evidence of the commercial activity of the UK company must be presented to show that the company has been set up in the UK, legally registered and actively trading in the UK. Usually, this can be done by providing company accounts, contracts, invoices, tax returns and so on.
There is no requirement for the company to generate a minimum level of turnover. However, the company in the UK must be stable enough to support the Sole Representative and its ongoing commercial enterprise inside the UK. It is also important that the overseas company have its main centre of operations outside the UK throughout the five-year period, and that the conditions attached to the last leave have been breached.