Sole Representative Visa

The UK Sole Representative Visa route is specifically for overseas businesses that want to create a branch/subsidiary in the UK. A senior employee (sole representative) of the overseas business can apply to reside in the UK to undertake the task of opening the UK branch/subsidiary.

If you’re hoping to work in the UK for business purposes, the sole representative visa of an overseas business visa is the route we would recommend. With this visa, the applicant is able to reside with their dependents and work in the UK for a period of three years.

How Our Solicitors Could Help with the UK Sole Representative Visa? 

At Farani Taylor, our objective is to provide you with the best possible chance of obtaining a  sole representative visa; enabling you to pursue your business goals in the UK.

Why Choose Us?

Our expert solicitors understand the frustration and expense that applying for any type of visa can involve. We deliver superior customer service whilst equipping you with all the expert knowledge you’ll need to apply. Our team will ensure costs are as low as possible and your needs are met, whilst securing your best outcome.

What is a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa 

The sole representative visa allows an individual to enter the UK to pursue business opportunities. This can be to establish or run a registered UK business, a franchise, or subsidiary of one.
The appeal of the UK sole representative visa route is that there is no prerequisite for investment funds, unlike the previous Tier 1 Entrepreneurial route and the new Innovator Visa Route. Therefore, a successful overseas business is not required to demonstrate accessibility to a certain level of investment funds prior to submitting their application. This is appealing because you can invest a required amount of funding without investment for ‘investment’s sake’. The UK sole representative visa route allows companies to expand into British markets, whilst developing their Global Brands.

What are the benefits of the UK Sole Representative Visa

The benefits of the UK sole representative visa are as follows: 

  • Free primary and secondary education
  • Access to Free medical care in the UK
  • British Settlement within 5 years with no investment funds
  • Application only takes 8 weeks
  • Application is £610 only

Who can can be granted UK Sole Representative Visa

It is important that you understand whether or not you can qualify under this route. This route is not suitable for everyone, you must evidence some of the following criteria: 

  • that you have been recruited and employed outside the UK
  • intend to work full-time for your current employer once you are in the UK
  • be a senior employee of the overseas business
  • have full authority to make operational decisions on behalf of the business
  • have extensive industry-related knowledge

You must not:

  • intend to undertake any other employment
  • be a majority shareholder of the company

At the same time, the company must:

  • have its business headquarters and principal place of business outside of the UK
  • have no active branch, subsidiary, or other representatives of the business in the UK
  • intend to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that overseas business
  • Intend for the registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary to operate in the same kind of business activity as the overseas business.

For further advice or support on whether you are eligible for a sole representative visa, or if you would like to apply for one, please contact our expert solicitors or call us on 02072421666 who will provide you with bespoke advice for your circumstances. 

Responsibilities of the UK Sole Representative Visa

As a sole representative visa applicant, you must be able to demonstrate that you are responsible for establishing a franchise or subsidiary of your overseas business in the UK. You must evidence that you are the decision-maker on behalf of the company, your job description, and proposed future business intentions.

For more information on the criteria required, or how to get started on your visa journey, contact our experts.

The English Requirement

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.
You can prove your knowledge of English by either:
– Passing an approved English language test, with at least a CEFR level 1 in speaking and listening.
– Having an academic qualification taught in English that is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree.

You will be exempt from this if you are from the following:

Farani Taylor – Countries Exempt from English Requirement
Antigua and BarbudaAustraliaBahamasBelize
JamaicaNew ZealandSt Kitts and NevisSt Lucia
St VincentGrenadinesTrinidadTobago

Can the Sole Representative Visa lead to ILR or Settlement?

Upon acceptance of your sole representative visa, you are granted eligibility to enter the UK to and remain there for 3 years. During this time, you are expected to expand and develop your business. After the three years has passed (and provided you have successfully completed all the responsibilities required to maintain your Sole representative visa) you can apply for a leave to remain application, enabling you to stay in the UK for a subsequent 2 years.

For more information about settlement options and how the Sole representative visa can benefit you and your business objectives, please contact our knowledgeable team for a free consultation.

Can the Sole Representative Visa lead to British Citizenship?

One of the benefits of the sole representative visa is that you and your loved ones can apply for naturalisation a year after you receive a settled status. This will only be after 6 years of you residing in the UK on this type of visa.

The requirements for you and your family are as follows:

  • You must not spend more than 450 days outside of the UK in the 5 years prior to your naturalisation application and in the final year prior to, no more than 90 days.
  • You must have no criminal or concerns regarding your immigration terms and conditions.
  •  You must demonstrate that you have knowledge of the English language, history, and culture ( unless you have a successful ILR application).

To obtain naturalisation you can have a dual passport but you will be expected to ‘pledge allegiance’ to the UK. For further information regarding this route, contact our sole representative visa solicitors who can guide you through the application process.

Step by Step: From Applying for Sole Representative Visa to Obtaining the British Passport

Our expert sole representative solicitors support you with every facet of the application process. Our team make the process as simple as possible for you, carrying out all the work necessary for you to be able to achieve your objectives, quickly and efficiently. 

The application process works in this way:

Step 1 : Your first contact with us: 

Processing Time: 1 Day

During the initial consultation with our experts, we ascertain your needs and objectives, detailing the process and relevant information you require to continue with your application. If you agree to let us work with you, we require a copy of your passport and a client agreement is prepared for you.

Step 2: Preparing and making the application:

Processing Time: This can take 4-8 weeks depending on the information required for your case and if you already have everything ready to apply

Our multilingual team help you translate and obtain all the documents required for your sole representative visa application. We create a meticulously drafted covering letter, explaining your application rationale and proposed objectives.

There are many other components of the application process we can create for you, including business plans and financial documents. We discuss your requirements further during this time, so if you need added support with anything, this is the time to request this.

Step 3: The application approval and relocation to the UK:

Processing Time: 3-4 weeks

The UK Home Office usually decides an application’s success or refusal within 3 weeks of submission. If you are accepted, you can start your move to the UK. This in itself can be quite daunting; however, our committed team will ensure that you have consistent support throughout your time working with us, including relocation planning.

Step 4: Extending your stay:

Processing Time: 8- 10 weeks depending on the situation

Should you wish to extend your UK stay, our team can help you with your visa extension. Our sole representative visa solicitors examine your compliance with your existing visa and support you with obtaining the required documents to ensure your extension is successful.

You can apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain or a British passport after your sole representative visa has expired. Contact our team to find out more about your options after a sole representative visa.

Step 5: Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Processing Time: up to 6 months or next working day with super-priority service

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) a year after extending your visa. Our expert sole representative solicitors can help with your application, including preparing the Life in the UK test and English Requirements, so you have permanent residency in the UK. To apply, you will need a continuous lawful residence in the UK without absences exceeding 180 days in an annual period.

Step 6: Applying for a British passport

Processing Time: up to 6 months but usually within 3-4 months

After a year of being granted indefinite leave to remain, you can apply for British citizenship. This means that you can get a British passport. Our expert sole representative will help you prepare and send out the application for naturalisation, and once it is approved you will need to pledge allegiance to the UK, for more information see our British Nationality Law page or contact our team of experts.

Step by Step from Apply Sole Representative Visa to obtaining the British Citizenship


Documents required for Sole Representative Visa currently states these are the following documents you will require for your Sole Representative visa application:

Documents you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • evidence that you can support yourself and any dependants during your trip, for example, bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
  • proof that you meet the English requirement

If you’re applying from overseas, you’ll also need to provide:

  • details of where you’ll be staying during your stay
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

If you’re applying from overseas, you’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

All applicants need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

 For more information, you can review the UK Government guide here, or contact our immigration solicitors who will explain in further detail. We have a team of multilingual experts, please specify your language if you would prefer to speak with someone in your native language.

What is a Business Plan and How we could Help?

For any person attempting to draft a business plan, even starting it can be overwhelming but add to that the pressure of a visa application, potential relocation, family matters, and navigating UK law and business, can become somewhat distressing.

One of the many services we offer is drafting business plans. Our expert sole representative visa solicitors not only have extensive knowledge of what is required to make your application successful, we can create a superior business plan with you, ensuring it is founded on UK law and required visa guidelines.

We have worked with many clients in securing their future overseas, we pride ourselves on making the process as simple as possible, demonstrating excellence and support through every step.

If you would like guidance on your visa application, or simply would like a UK law expert to read over your business plan or application, our team is here for you. Initial consultations are free and we can contact you at your convenience via video conference, call, or in certain circumstances face-to-face.

UK Sole Representative Visa Refusal

On occasion, a sole representative visa can be refused. Whilst this can be very upsetting for you and your family, you still have options available.

We can help you with what to do if this has happened to you, even if you haven’t worked with us previously. We can submit an administrative review, either for you or with you, and discover why your initial application was refused and what we can collaboratively do to appeal it.

If this method is still ineffective, you can apply for a Judicial review and further opinion over your circumstances.

Our team can help you determine the reasons behind your refusal, sometimes it can be as simple as insufficient documentation. Rest assured, whatever the reason for your refusal, our diligent team will work tirelessly to ensure your matter is resolved as promptly and cost-effectively as possible. Contact us here for more information and if you need immediate help please call us on 02072421666.

Farani Taylor Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Find the most suitable, London based Sole Representative Visa Solicitors near you

Call us today on 0207 242 1666 to book a free initial consultation or contact us for more information.

Can I bring my Family Under Sole Representative Visa ?
Open Can I bring my Family Under Sole Representative Visa ?

Moving to a new country is daunting, having a supportive family unit can help to make the transition easier.

Your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner plus any dependent children can apply to join you in the UK.

If you are concerned about schooling for your children, you needn’t be, all children on this visa route are entitled to state education. No child can be refused a place at a state school due to doubts about their immigration status. Our experts are on hand if you would like further support on bringing your family with you to the UK. We can help with finding a home, obtaining a UK bank account, and even finding suitable schools for your children. Contact us today and let us do the hard work for you. 

How long can you stay under Sole Representative Visa UK?
Open How long can you stay under Sole Representative Visa UK?

Upon receipt of a successful application, you can reside in the UK and stay to expand your business for a period of 3 years. After this time you can extend for a further 2 years with indefinite leave to remain application.

How much is the application fee of Sole Representative Visa?
Open How much is the application fee of Sole Representative Visa?

It usually costs around £610 per applicant for the sole representative visa route, however, there will be further costs accrued for biometric and English language tests and of course if you require a legal representative to look over your application or translate it for you.

How can I extend my Sole Representative Visa?
Open How can I extend my Sole Representative Visa?

It is relatively simple to apply for an extension on your Sole representative visa, provided you have adhered to the requirements proposed in securing it in the first place. There of course will be fees associated with this for yourself and each family member, as well as further biometric tests to be taken.

If you would like to discuss your application options or would like to extend your visa, speak with a member of our team who can advise you based on your circumstances.

The home office usually take around eight weeks after application submission to provide you with a decision.

Check if your business is eligible to establish a UK branch or subsidiary?
Open Check if your business is eligible to establish a UK branch or subsidiary?

In order for someone to be considered for a sole representative visa in the UK, the primary company must demonstrate activity and trading in overseas business. The headquarters must continue to remain outside of the UK, this cannot be amended at any point during or after the transition into UK business has begun.

For more information regarding the Home Office requirements for a visa of this nature, or to discuss whether your business is eligible, get in touch with our sole representative visa solicitors, who can discuss your options based on your circumstances.

Can I be a Sole Representative Visa applicant if I am a shareholder?
Open Can I be a Sole Representative Visa applicant if I am a shareholder?

A shareholder can apply for a Sole representative visa, however, they cannot have a majority share or own more than 50% of the available shares at the time of application. Applicants can reduce their shares prior to application submission; however, it is worth noting that the Home office will examine all share distribution in current and historic financial years. 


Is income from all offices around the world subject to UK tax regime, or just the new UK office?
Open Is income from all offices around the world subject to UK tax regime, or just the new UK office?

No. UK earnings are only subjected to UK Tax regime.

What are the total costs of setting up a office in the UK?
Open What are the total costs of setting up a office in the UK?

It is difficult to answer this question accurately, but is likely to be in the region of £9,000 or more.

Cost depends on the size of your business, office size etc.

Our fees are likely to be approximately £6,000+VAT. There are various disbursements including £610 Home Office Fee and £1200 IHS Fee.

It is unlikely my personal bank account has ample funds, is that an issue?
Open It is unlikely my personal bank account has ample funds, is that an issue?

It would be fine so long as your salary is reflected by your bank accounts.

Is there an expected investment in the first three years that needs to be outlined in the business plan?
Open Is there an expected investment in the first three years that needs to be outlined in the business plan?

A business plan is a forecast of projected business operations including investment. However, markets change and may mean that you require more investment or less investment in the UK office.

In the initial stages, the company needs to establish itself and therefore requires investment.

What is the minimum balance the company should have for this application?
Open  What is the minimum balance the company should have for this application?

The turnover is considered not the current balance. The company needs to be well established overseas and prove that the Head Office can handle the expenses of the UK office when required. However, there is no minimum balance.

What is the percentage of tax for a company in UK ?
Open  What is the percentage of tax for a company in UK ?

The company pays corporation tax, at the following rates:

  • Small profits rate
    (companies with profits under £300,000)
  • Main rate
    (companies with profits over £300,000)
What are the running costs for the UK branch?
Open  What are the running costs for the UK branch?

It depends upon the company’s expenditure such as cost for rental premises, employees, computes and technology , stationery, company vehicles etc.

What are the common reasons for refusal?
Open  What are the common reasons for refusal?

Refusal could be anything from poor governance to the experience of the company.

Remember that the majority shareholder cannot be the sole representative of the UK office.

If you have any questions about sole representative visa refusal please check here for further information or contact us.

Key Contacts

If you are looking for help and guidance or have a question relating to Sole Representative Visa, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1666.