UK Sole Representative
This visa category enables an overseas company to send a senior employee over to the UK in order to establish and operate a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary there, which is concerned with the same type of business activity as the parent company.
- A sole representative enables a company the opportunity to establish a business presence in the UK
- Dependents, including unmarried partners and same-sex partners, may accompany the sole representative
- A spouse of a sole representative is entitled to take up any lawful employment
- Becoming a sole UK representative can lead to permanent status after five years.
A company qualified to send a sole representative to the UK
- An overseas company should be a genuine enterprise and have been operating for at least twelve months
- If operating for less than twelve months, applications will have to justify the need to establish a UK branch
- The majority of business should continue overseas after a sole representative has been transferred
- Therefore an application should not be filed with the intention of being headquartered in the UK
- A company should show that expansion to the UK is viable and practical through the application.
An employee qualified to be sent as a sole representative
- The sole representative must be a senior employee recruited and employed directly by the non-UK company
- They must not be a majority shareholder of the company
- A senior employee representative should possess full authority to make the majority of operational business decisions locally, but does not necessarily have the latitude to make decisions on all matters individually
- The senior employee must be receiving a “full time” salary sufficient to maintain themselves and any dependents joining them in the UK
- Sole representatives must pass an English language test with at least standard C1 of the Common European Framework Reference, or have a bachelor’s degree equivalent taught in English
- It is advised that an applicant should spend a minimum of nine months per annum in the UK
- A sole representative is likely to have been employed in the overseas organisation for at least twelve months
- The employee may not work for another employer whilst in the UK.
Sole Representative Visa process
- Entry into the UK is granted for an initial three years
- You may apply to extend sole representative status at least four weeks before permission to stay ends
- You may extend your status for an additional two years
- If you have been in the UK for over five years legally as a sole representative, you may apply to settle
- Supplying a checklist for any and all documents to be submitted
- Confirmation of the office where documents must be submitted
- Streamlining supplementary documents
- Handling legal questions received from the authorities.