Sole Representative Visa 2021:

The Ultimate Guide

Looking to settle in the United Kingdom in 2021? The Sole Representative Visa program offers non-EEA business executives a fast, simple and affordable path to UK residency, Indefinite Leave to Remain, and eventual UK citizenship. The program is not for everyone; to be eligible to apply, you have to be a senior representative and minority shareholder of an establish commercial enterprise based outside the UK.

Find out more about the benefits of the Sole Representative Visa, or contact us for more information.

The Sole Rep Visa Program at a glance

Formally known as the Overseas Business Representative Visa, the Sole Rep Visa is the program of choice for the CEOs, MDs, CFOs, CIOs, FDs and CMOs of large companies, headquartered outside the UK, seeking to make inroads into the UK and EU markets.

The UK Sole Representative Visa Program enables overseas businesses to send one key representative to the UK, full time, to open a branch for the company. The mother company is not allowed to relocate; it must stay in its current location and continue trading.

By establishing a wholly owned UK subsidiary or branch of your existing company, you and your family can gain UK residency with ease in only 3 months.

The program is also open to overseas new agencies, newspapers and broadcasting companies seeking to place senior correspondents in the UK on long term assignment.

It is more frequently, however, the program of choice for foreign professionals seeking UK market expansion and a proven, affordable solution for effective UK business immigration.

Key benefits of the Overseas Business Representative Program

EASY UK BUSINESS IMMIGRATION: The UK Sole Representative Visa is one of the simplest, least onerous and most affordable paths for UK business immigration, and unlike with the Tier 1 Investor Visa, there are no investment requirements associated with this UK residency program.

 FAST PROCESS: Obtain UK residency for yourself and your family in only 3 months (90 days). You don’t even need to visit the UK to complete the process; your biometrics and application interview can be done locally at your closest UK embassy.

UK MARKET ACCESS: Gain new business traction in the UK market early through your new subsidiary UK business. A virtual office in London is included free of charge in your application fees, which means that your business can hit the ground running in the UK.

THE ULTIMATE FAMILY PLAN B: Gain UK residency and a clear path to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status and eventual UK citizenship for you, your spouse and your dependent children under the age of 18 years. 

FREE HEALTHCARE: Enjoy free access to the NHS, subject to paying an Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) of £400 per person per year. The surcharge is payable up-front for 3 years, but is only payable upon your residency application being approved.

WORLD CLASS SUBSIDISED EDUCATION: Additional benefits include free education for children under 18, and subsidized tertiary education fees for dependent children over the age of 18.

PASSPORT POWER: Once you’ve obtained your UK passport after 6 years, you can travel visa-free to over 180 countries around the world, including the EU and the USA.

Key eligibility requirements 2021

In order to qualify for the Sole Representative Visa, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • As the primary applicant, you must be a senior employee recruited to the mother company outside of the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

  • You must be a senior employee, seeking to work in the UK branch, and you must be empowered to take key operational decisions on behalf of your employer in the UK.

  • You must serve as the sole representative of the UK branch of the company, and as such must demonstrably have extensive experience relating to the company’s core business.

  • You have to be a minority shareholder in the mother company, i.e. you have to hold a 1% to 49% shareholding in the overseas business.

  • You will have to pass an English language proficiency test in order to qualify for the Sole Representative Visa.

The application process at a glance

Working with a seasoned case handler, your base documentation will be collated:

  1. We’ll firstly conduct pre-application screening, followed by the creation of a detailed branch business plan based on your input. Your full application is then submitted, along with the business plan.

  2. The UK Home Office Immigration department then reviews your application.

  3. Once an approval decision has been received, we assist you with UK company formation and the opening of your UK business bank account. You will be the 100% shareholder of the new UK Private Limited Company that will serve as the UK branch of the overseas parent company you’re employed by in your country of origin.

  4. During this application stage you will also be expected to attend an interview appointment at your local UK embassy or consulate, during which your biometrics will be recorded.

  5. Around Day 90 of your application process, you and your family members will receive their UK residency cards.

Find out more about the detailed visa application process here.

  1. Your UK residency visa will be issued for an initial period of 3 years, after which it can be renewed for two more years, subject to all the relevant program criteria still being met at the time.

  2. After 5 years, you and your family members will become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, subject to having spent at least 180 days per year in the UK for 3 consecutive years. If for whichever reason, however, your do not spend the minimum time required in the UK, your visa can simply be extended.