A Sole Representative Visa for Overseas Businesses, otherwise known as simply a ‘Sole Rep Visa’, is the immigration route through which businesses abroad can branch out into the UK. However, only specific people are eligible for this highly sought migration route – and the business will need to satisfy the Home Office’s lengthy immigration requirements in order to be successful.
Generally speaking, the Sole Rep Visa is applicable to senior executives and managers of a business overseas who wish to enter the UK to establish the company’s first UK office, subsidiary or branch.
Unlike most UK Visa applications for businesses, the Sole Rep Visa involves comparatively fewer hurdles. Applicants do not need to be investors with millions of pounds in the bank, nor do they need to have a plan to start a new company on British soil from scratch.
Sole Rep Visa applicants do not even need to seek sponsorship from a vetted UK sponsor. In this respect, the UK Sole Representative Visa is a much faster and easier route into the UK.
Another major benefit of this route is that applicants do not need to apply for a job or Work Visa in order to relocate to the UK. In turn, the immigration fees are much cheaper. You can even bring dependents (children under 18 and your spouse) to come and live with you.
Sole Rep Visa holders can also renew their visa after a generous three years for a further three. After accruing just five years in the UK, Sole Reps can even switch onto permanent residency such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and eventually British Citizenship.
Yet the Sole Rep visa application itself remains far from easy. There is plenty of paperwork, requirements and criteria to fulfil from both the sole representative and the business.
At 1 Absolute Advisor, we offer expert and comprehensive immigration advice for businesses in London and all above the world. Our immigration lawyers help entrepreneurs and high-flying businesses migrate to London every day. If you are a business owner or manager of a well-established company overseas and you want to explore the UK business market, get in touch with our advisors for a free case assessment over the phone on 0207 993 6762.
Although the business will be sending just one individual to start the UK branch of the company, there are many requirements the business will need to meet in order to satisfy UKVI.
The business must:
Additionally, the company will need to submit a thorough business plan in the visa application. This plan must prove to the Home Office that the business has the right structure in place to succeed in the UK market, detailing plans for growth, its current turnover and financial forecasts.
The business plan is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of the Sole Rep Visa application. Any holes or discrepancies in the business plan is bound to see the visa application refused. That’s why we highly recommend hiring a professional immigration lawyer to maximise your chance of success. Our lawyers at 1 Absolute Advisor know exactly what UKVI is looking for and can help you to create a credible and suitable business plan.
In addition to the requirements the business must meet, the individual ‘sole rep’ has their own criteria to contend with.
Generally speaking, the Sole Rep must:
Since visa applicants are prohibited from public funds in the UK, you will also need to provide evidence of your maintenance funds, I.e., that you have enough savings to support yourself and any dependents you intend on bringing with you to the country.
Journalists can also apply for the Sole Representative Visa. It is commonly proposed as a viable route for journalists who have been offered a long-term job in the UK on behalf of their newspaper, news agency or broadcaster overseas.
Aside from providing evidence of maintenance funds and English language ability, professional journalists do not need to meet any of the other eligibility requirements.
In your application, you should include:
1 Absolute Advisor is an OISC-certified immigration law firm with only the best and experienced immigration lawyers in London. We can help you from start to finish with the Sole Rep Visa application, from helping your company create a water-tight business plan to building a compelling portfolio of evidence that highlights the merits of your case.
Ring our customer care team today on 0207 993 6762 for a free consultation over the phone.
The application fee is £610.
However, this does not include the mandatory Immigration Health Surcharge (an additional £624 per person, per year of residency) or additional fees such as fast-track services and lawyer fees. You will also need to pay £19.20 to register your biometric information and may need to pay for your English test.
It can take 4 to 8 weeks to prepare and submit the visa. Meanwhile it may take a further 3 weeks for the Home Office to make a decision.
The Government recommends you have at least 3 months set aside to allow for delays in the process.