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If you wish to apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa, this is the right time to do so.

This visa route is particularly for overseas businesses that are looking to create a branch/subsidiary in the United Kingdom. A senior employee (or sole representative) of the business out of the country can apply to live in the UK for undertaking the task of opening a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom.

About UK Sole Representative Visa

A sole representative visa enables a person to come to the UK so they can set up a branch or subsidiary on behalf of the company in a foreign country. This is when the company does not already have a subsidiary in the country.

If you are going to apply under the UK Sole Representative Visa category, you must be a senior employee of the overseas firm. The company can employ someone purposely for this role. However, they would have to be recruited in another country.

Keep in mind that the applicant cannot be a majority shareholder in the overseas company but he or she is required to be senior enough to have complete authority for taking operational decisions with regard to the UK office operations without prior approval from the parent business.

Requirements of a UK Sole Representative Visa

The following is a list of requirements for a UK Sole Representative Visa:

  • Applicants are required to apply from outside the UK
  • Applicants should be an employee as well as a representative of an organization, which operates outside the United Kingdom with no branch, subsidiary, or other UK representatives
  • Applicants must be recruited outside the UK
  • Applicants are required to have extensive industry-related experience and knowledge
  • The applicant ought to be a senior employee with complete authority to taking an operational decision to set up a branch in the UK or wholly-owned a subsidiary on behalf of the company abroad
  • The applicant should not take any other job
  • The applicant is required to have sufficient funds to look after and accommodate themselves and their dependent/s (if any) without recourse to public funds
  • The applicant should meet the requirement for the English Language
  • The applicant for a UK Sole Representative Visa will need to meet the English Language requirements at level A1 of the CEFR (short for Common European Framework Reference). Also, this requirement can be met if the applicant has a degree that is accepted by UK NARIC.
  • A UK Sole Representative is prohibited to take any other employment and should intend to work full-time in their role as a representative of the parent company abroad.

Documents Required for a UK Sole Representative Visa

You and the company you work for will need to supply a significant list of documents when applying for a UK Sole Representative Visa.

  • Passport and other valid travel documents
  • Proof you can look after yourself and your dependents
  • Details of the accommodation in the United Kingdom
  • Proof of your English knowledge
  • Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you need to take the test
  • An extensive summary of your company: what it does, its assets and liabilities, and other accounts
  • A letter that confirms the company proposes to build a wholly-owned subsidiary or branch office in the United Kingdom
  • Your job description, salary, and proof that you can make independent decisions on behalf of the company
  • Evidence you are employed by the company and not simply an agent
  • Evidence you are employed outside the country and will choose to work only for the company that is sending you to the country

Advantages of a UK Sole Representative Visa

The UK Sole Representative Visa offers plenty of advantages and some of which are mentioned below:

  • Sole representatives can always apply for a 2-year visa extension if they work successfully during the first 3 years of stay
  • After 5 years, applicants are eligible to apply for PR (Permanent Residency)
  • After 6 years, applicants are eligible to apply for UK citizenship
  • Sole representatives can merge time spent in the country with other visa categories to qualify for 10-year residency rights
  • For businesses looking to expand, they can send a single senior employee to the United Kingdom for studying and testing the market without outlaying large amounts of funds

Conditions of Stay for a UK Sole Representative Visa

The immigration rules affirm that as a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa holder, you need to meet the following conditions:

  • You are not authorized to work for yourself or any other employer
  • You are not authorized to access UK public funds
  • You are not authorized to Remain in the United Kingdom if your employer ends the sole representative arrangement
  • You are not authorized to switch to this visa from any other category of visa

Who can be a Sole Representative?

A Sole Representative applying to the UK should be an overseas national who is:

  • A company’s senior member but not the owner. He or she must have enough skills and authority to make business decisions on behalf of the company
  • An employee of a broadcasting company, newspaper, or news agency outside the UK
  • An employee of a business outside of the UK planning for setting up either a branch or a subsidiary in the United Kingdom
  • Replacing a previous sole representative

Responsibilities of a UK Sole Representative Visa

The sole representative is in charge of establishing a branch or subsidiary of the overseas business and making crucial decisions on its behalf. The entry clearance officers take the following into consideration:

  • The contract of employment for the sole representative
  • Job description of the sole representative
  • Current and future business plans of the overseas company

Processing Time and Fees of a UK Sole Representative Visa

  • The earliest you apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa is three months prior to your travel date
  • For this, getting a decision within 3 weeks of when you apply from the UK is of utmost importance
  • To apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa, you are required to pay £610

Can a Sole Representative Bring Family Members to the United Kingdom?

A Sole Representative of an overseas business may possibly bring, or be joined by, their spouse, civil partner, unmarried, or same-sex partner, and any children under 18 years of age. Regrettably, as with the majority of categories of the Immigration Rules, Sole Representatives cannot bring their parents, siblings, or other extended members of the family.

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