Representative of an Overseas Business

Overseas nationals can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business if they are either:

  • the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

To qualify as a Sole Representative, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, e.g. a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary


Newspaper, news agency or broadcast employees

As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you can come to the UK if you’re being posted here on a long-term assignment.


Can I still get a visa as a Sole Representative if my employer already has a company in the UK?
You may be eligible if the UK legal entity that does not have any employees or transact business.

If your employer has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet fully set up, you may be able to replace a previous sole representative.

Can be a Sole Representative is I am not directly employed by the overseas company?
To qualify as a Sole Representative, you must be directly employed by the parent company overseas. You cannot act as a contractor / sales agent (i.e. hired by an overseas company to sell or distribute their products within the UK, but working for yourself and providing your services for a fee).

Can I be a Sole Representative if I own the business or part of the business overseas?
To qualify as a Sole Representative, you will need to demonstrate that you are not a majority shareholder in the company overseas.

Can I bring my family?
Your partner, husband or wife and children under the age of 18 will be allowed to accompany you, subject to them obtaining the relevant visa.

How long can I remain in the UK as a Sole Representative?
The initial visa should be granted for 3 years.  This can be extended for up to 2 years. You may be able to apply to settle in the UK once you have completed 5 years in the UK and you have can show that you have an ongoing job with the same employer.