UK Business Immigration: Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa route is designed for non-UK companies wishing to set up a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. With this visa, overseas businesses are able to send one of their senior employees to the UK to act as a sole representative of the businesses in the UK.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for the Representative visa, your chosen employee must meet a set of requirements put forward by the UK Home Office, such as:

  • The Representative must be employed outside the UK by an active and trading business with headquarters and main place of business outside the UK
  • The Representative must have the skills and expertise needed to perform in the role
  • The Representative must hold a senior position within the business and have complete authority to make decisions on its behalf; they however cannot be the owner of the business or have a majority stake in it
  • The Representative must intend to set up the overseas company’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary

Additionally, the representative must have sufficient funds to support themselves without help from UK public funds and be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language.


Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Requirements

There are a number of requirements that both the overseas business and its intended sole representative in the UK must satisfy. Please see our breakdown of the essential requirements below.

The Business must:

  • Be a genuine company
  • Be an active and trading as a commercial enterprise
  • Be seeking to set up a brand or subsidiary that will trade in the same type of business as the parent company
  • Have its main place of business outside of the UK
  • Have no other branches, subsidiaries or representatives in the UK
  • Intend to keep the center of its operations overseas

The Representative must:

  • Be a genuine representative of a non-UK business
  • Have been hired outside the UK in a senior role and be an existing employee in a senior role
  • Have the authority necessary to negotiate and make operational decisions on behalf of the businesses in accordance with the scope of their role
  • Have the skill set and expertise necessary to perform the duties of a sole representative of the overseas business in the UK
  • Intend to work in your role on a full-time basis
  • Not have a majority stake in the company or be its owner

The above list of requirements is not exhaustive. Please consult an immigration solicitor to make sure your company and intended representative meet the UK government’s requirements.

Representative of an Overseas Business: Length of Stay and Application Processing Times

Whether you are applying from outside or inside the UK, you must apply online. You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken as part of the application process.

A decision on your visa will usually be made within 3 weeks. However, you may be able to get your visa faster depending on the country you are in. Find your local visa application center here.

Once you are granted your visa, you can stay for 3 years initially and then extend the visa for another 2 years. After you have lived in the UK for 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle in the UK permanently.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa: Family Members

If your application for the Representative visa is successful, your family members will be able to come to the UK with you. In UK immigration law, your family members are referred to as your ‘dependants.’ Your dependants are your husband, wife or partner as well as any children under the age of 18.

However, your husband, wife or partner cannot join you in the UK as your dependant if they own or control a majority stake in the parent non-UK business.


The information provided on this webpage does not constitute legal advice. Please speak to a qualified immigration solicitor.

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