The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is a category of UK visa designed to allow employees of an overseas company to establish a commercial presence in the UK. This visa is intended to promote economic growth and development by facilitating the entry of overseas businesses into the UK market. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must be a senior employee of an overseas business and possess the authority to make operational decisions for the company. In this article, we will explore the requirements, benefits, and application process for the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa in the UK.

 

What is Representative of an Overseas Business Visa UK

The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is a UK immigration category that allows employees of an overseas business to establish a commercial presence in the UK.

To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must be a senior employee of an overseas business that is planning to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. The applicant must also hold a senior position in the company, have the authority to make operational decisions, and have extensive knowledge and experience in the company’s industry.

The visa allows the applicant to stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years, with the possibility of extending for an additional 2 years. After 5 years, the applicant may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.

To apply for this visa, the applicant must provide evidence of their eligibility, such as proof of the overseas company’s ownership, financial status, and plans for establishing a presence in the UK. The applicant must also demonstrate their personal eligibility, such as their qualifications, experience, and English language proficiency.

Overall, the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is designed to facilitate the entry of overseas businesses into the UK market and promote economic growth and development.

 

Eligibility Requirement for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa 

To be eligible for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa in the UK, the applicant must meet the following requirements set by the UK Visas and Immigration:

  1. Active overseas business: The applicant’s overseas company must be actively trading and not dormant.
  2. Headquarters and principal place of business: The company’s headquarters and primary business location must be outside the UK.
  3. No other UK presence: The company should not have any other active branch, subsidiary, or representative in the UK.
  4. Intent to establish UK presence: The overseas business must have a genuine intention to establish a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK that will actively trade in the same business activity as the overseas business.
  5. Genuine business activity: The company should not be established or appoint the sole representative mainly for the purpose of facilitating the sole representative’s entry or stay in the UK.
  6. Intent to maintain overseas operations: The company should intend to maintain its operations primarily outside the UK.

In addition to the above, the applicant must demonstrate that:

  1. Genuine representative: They are a genuine representative of the overseas business.
  2. Senior employee: They are an existing senior employee of the overseas business.
  3. Recruited outside of the UK: They were recruited and employed outside of the UK by the overseas business.
  4. Necessary skills and experience: They possess the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to undertake the role of sole representative of the overseas business in the UK.
  5. Full authority: They have the full authority to negotiate and make operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business.
  6. Full-time work: They intend to work full-time as a representative of the overseas business in the UK.
  7. No other business activities: They do not intend to engage in business activities of their own or work for any other business in the UK.
  8. No majority stake: They do not have a majority stake or control of the overseas business.
  9. English language ability: They can show English language ability to at least CEFR Level A1 (speaking and listening).
  10. Maintenance and accommodation: They can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependants in the UK without recourse to public funds.

It is essential to note that the exact requirements may vary depending on individual circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer.

Does your business meet the requirements to set up a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK?

Establishing a UK branch or subsidiary is a significant decision for any overseas business. However, before making such a move, it is crucial to determine whether the business is eligible to do so.

To set up a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK, the overseas company must meet specific requirements set by the UK Visas and Immigration. These requirements include having an active and trading overseas business, its headquarters and principal place of business outside the United Kingdom, and no other active branch, subsidiary, or representative in the UK.

Additionally, the overseas business must intend to establish a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK, maintain its centre of operations overseas, and actively trade in the same business activity as the overseas business.

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If the business meets these requirements, it may be eligible to establish a UK branch or subsidiary. However, it is crucial to seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer to determine the exact requirements that apply to the specific circumstances of the business.

Selecting a candidate for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa

Selecting the right candidate for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is a critical step for an overseas business looking to expand into the UK market. This visa category allows an overseas company to send a senior employee to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary and act as its sole representative.

When selecting a candidate for this visa, the overseas company should consider several factors, including the employee’s skills, experience, and knowledge of the business necessary to undertake the role of the sole representative in the UK. The candidate must also have full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business.

Moreover, the candidate must have been recruited and taken on as an employee of the overseas business outside of the UK and intend to work full-time as a representative of the overseas business. It is essential to note that the candidate cannot engage in any other business or work for any other company while in the UK.

Other requirements for the candidate include demonstrating a good command of the English language, having the ability to maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependents in the UK without recourse to public funds, and not having a majority stake in or control of the overseas business.

When should you apply for a UK Sole Representative visa?

If you are planning to establish a UK branch or subsidiary as the sole representative of an overseas business, it is crucial to apply for the UK Sole Representative visa in a timely manner.

The ideal time to apply for the visa is at least three months before the planned travel date to the UK. This allows sufficient time for the application to be processed, and the necessary arrangements can be made for travel and relocation to the UK.

It is important to note that the visa application process may take longer if additional information or documents are required, or if the application is subject to further scrutiny. Therefore, it is advisable to apply as early as possible to avoid any delays or disruptions to business plans.

Applying for the UK Sole Representative visa at the right time can help ensure a smooth and successful transition to the UK market, allowing the overseas business to establish a strong presence and begin trading as soon as possible.

How much does a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa cost?

The cost of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa in the UK varies depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the type of service they require. As of September 2021, the standard fee for a Sole Representative visa application is £610 per person.

There are additional fees that may apply, such as the healthcare surcharge and the priority visa service fee. The healthcare surcharge allows the visa holder to access the National Health Service (NHS) while in the UK and is £624 per year. The priority visa service fee is an optional service that expedites the visa application process for an additional fee of £220.

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It is important to note that visa fees are subject to change, and applicants should check the current fees before submitting their application. Additionally, some applicants may be exempt from paying certain fees, such as those from countries that have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK.

Overall, the cost of a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa can add up quickly, and applicants should factor in all applicable fees when planning for their relocation and expansion to the UK.

What is the processing time for a UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa application?

The processing time for a UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa application varies depending on several factors, such as the location where the application is made and the complexity of the application.

In general, the standard processing time for a Sole Representative visa application is around 3 weeks if the application is made outside the UK. However, the processing time can be longer if the application is made from within the UK or if additional processing is required.

Applicants who need a faster processing time may opt for the priority or super priority service, which expedites the processing time for an additional fee. The priority service typically results in a decision within 5 working days, while the super priority service provides a decision within 24 hours.

It is important to note that processing times are estimates and not guaranteed. Applicants should submit their applications well in advance of their planned travel to the UK to allow for any unexpected delays in the processing of their visa application.

Is it permissible for Sole Representatives to be shareholders?

Yes, it is permissible for Sole Representatives of an Overseas Business to be shareholders, as long as they do not have a majority stake in the overseas business. This means that the applicant cannot own or control more than 50% of the overseas business, whether through a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship, or any other arrangement.

It is important to note that the purpose of the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is to allow an overseas business to establish a presence in the UK through the appointment of a senior employee, who will act as a representative of the company. Therefore, the applicant’s primary role is to represent the interests of the overseas business in the UK, rather than to own or control it.

Can I Bring My Family Members With Me to the UK with this visa

Yes, as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business, you can bring your family members with you to the UK. Your family members include your spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, and children under the age of 18.

If your family members want to join you in the UK, they will need to apply for a dependant visa. They will need to provide evidence of their relationship to you and demonstrate that they can financially support themselves without relying on public funds. Additionally, they may need to demonstrate their knowledge of English language, depending on their age and circumstances.

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