UK Visa: Sole Representative an overseas company

The UK Sole Representative Visa is not designed for Entrepreneurs, rather it is for a person who will be employed as:

  • The sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company
  • The representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

If successful, you will get a visa for 3 years.  After which you can apply for the visa to be extended for a further 2 years.  After 5 years, you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘Permanent Residence’, or ‘Settlement’).  Alternatively, you can make another extension application. 

As a Sole Representative Visa holder, you must work for your employer full time.  You are not allowed to work for yourself or for any other business. And you must leave the UK if your employer ends your status as their representative.

To make a successful UK Sole Representative Visa application, you will need to: 


  • Have been recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • Hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf regarding their UK business / planned business
  • Intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, for example a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary (if the company has a legal entity in the UK that does not employ staff or transact business, you may also be eligible).
  • Have extensive experience and knowledge of the industry in which the company operates (or of a closely related / correlated industry)

OR: Be an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you can come to the UK if you’re being posted here on a long-term assignment.

The Parent / posting company of a sole representative who will be setting up UK operations should provide:

  • A full description of the company’s activities, and their latest full accounts, including a detailed balance sheet and P&L 
  • A letter confirming they intend to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK in the same business activity as the parent company
  • Your job description, employment contract and salary details 
  • A letter detailing how you are familiar with the company and have the power to take operational decisions
  • Confirmation that you:
    1. Were recruited to the company outside of the UK
    2. Hold a senior position 
    3. Have the authority to establish and operate a UK branch / subsidiary 
    4. Are able to make decisions on the company’s behalf and 
    5. Are directly employed by the company and are not acting as a sales agent (ie hired by a company to sell or distribute their products within the UK, but working for yourself and providing your services for a fee)
    6. Are not a majority shareholder in the company
    7. Are employed on a full time basis and will be working full time for the company for the duration of your stay and will not carry out any other work (the second part should be reconfirmed by you in a separate letter)

An overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation Posting a representative to a long-term assignment to the UK, should provide:

  •  A full description of the company’s activities, and their latest full accounts, including a detailed balance sheet and P&L 
  • A letter confirming that you will be representing them in the UK in a long term, full-time role

In addition to your professional bona fides, and the requirements in respect of the organisation posting you to the UK, you must:

  • Meet the English Language requirement (a CEFR Level A1 test, or a suitable degree taught in English, or be from an ENglish Speaking country, or have already proven your english language qualifications as part of an earlier successful application ) 
  • Prove you have enough savings to support yourself by showing  eg bank statements and payslips for the last 6 months
  • Provide details of where you will be staying during your time in the UK

If you are a company wanting to send a Representative to the UK, or are an individual looking to enter the UK on that basis, and would like to arrange a consultation, please contact us and we will pass your details on to appropriate advisors.  The consultation is likely to cost £250/hr, and you may need more than an hour.