UK Sole Representative of an overseas business visa

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This Sole Representative visa is now discontinued since 11 April 2023.  Replaced by the UK Expansion Worker scheme under the Global Business Mobility scheme.


The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is designed primarily to allow senior executives and managers of an overseas company to enter the UK in order to set up the company's first UK office, branch, or subsidiary.  The representative cannot own more than fifty percent of the business and the main business should remain outside the UK.  The UK business area should be in a similar area of business as the overseas business, and the overseas business outside the UK should in practice probably be much larger than the proposed UK business.

The business in the UK must not already be trading and must not have transacted any business yet.  This is different, for example to the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence requirement where you have to show that the business in the UK has already started trading.  For businesspeople we have a news report that covers many of the issues involved if wishing to come to the UK.

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa can also be used by overseas journalists who are posted on long-term assignment to the UK.

Length of stay

This visa is valid for an initial period of 3 years, and can be extended for 2 years.  Towards the end of 5 years in the UK visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa must meet several eligibility requirements for their visa to be granted.

All applicants must meet the English Language requirements:

  • Scoring at least A1 in English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), tested by an approved English language test provider. Must be the UKVI version of the test.


  • Having a university level qualification which was taught in English; this must be equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree, and evaluated by UK NARIC


Nationals of the following countries already meet the English language requirement:

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Australia

  • the Bahamas

  • Barbados

  • Belize

  • Canada

  • Dominica

  • Grenada

  • Guyana

  • Jamaica

  • New Zealand

  • St Kitts and Nevis

  • St Lucia

  • St Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Trinidad and Tobago

  • USA

Business representatives applying for this visa must also meet the following conditions:

  • Already be employed overseas by a company based outside of the UK

  • Have appropriate industry knowledge and experience to fulfil their role in the UK

  • Be a senior employee of the overseas company (such as a manager or executive) but not own more than fifty percent of the shares.

  • Be travelling to the UK in order to establish the company's first UK office, branch, or subsidiary

Journalists applying for this visa must be genuinely employed by an overseas news agency or broadcaster. Apart from the English language requirement, journalists do not need to meet any other eligibility requirements.


Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa applicants must supply several documents with their application. These include:

  • Current passport and/or other travel documents

  • Proof of maintenance funds for themselves and any family members

  • Details of where they will be living in the UK

  • Proof that they meet the English language requirement detailed above

  • A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office's TB testing list.

Further information, help, and advice has been in the immigration services business for thirty years, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. and its associated companies work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at