Sole Representative Visa Extension and Settlement

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa route enabled senior employees of an overseas business to come to the UK with the intention of establishing a UK branch or subsidiary. If your application was successful, you were able to stay in the UK for a period of 3 years, extendable upto 5 years, at which point you become eligible for settlement.

This visa route is now closed to new applicants, except in the news or broadcast organisation sub-category. If you already hold permission under this visa, you may be able to apply to extend your stay in the UK at the end of your current visa. To do this, you must be able to meet the a series of validity, suitability and eligibility requirements.

What are the requirements for a sole representative extension?

The main eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. You must be a representative of an overseas business or an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.
  2. You must still be working for the same employer as in your previous visa application.
  3. Your employer’s principal place of business must still be outside the UK.
  4. You must still be supervising the UK branch or subsidiary which you established for the overseas business.
  5. You must be in the UK.

You must apply before your current visa expires.

You will need to provide specific documents with your application. These include:

  1. Proof of the business’s establishment and UK activities
  2. Evidence that the UK business is wholly owned by the overseas business
  3. Confirmation from your employer that you are still working in the same role
  4. Your salary details.

What are the requirements for settlement?

The main eligibility requirements are as follow:

  1. You have been continuously resident in the UK as a sole representative for a period of 5 years. This means absences of no more than 180 days in any rolling 12-month period (calculation is different if your last visa was granted before 11 January 2018).
  2. Throughout this period, the overseas business must have continued to be active and trading overseas, with its headquarters and principal place of business remaining outside the UK.
  3. You must have been employed by, and working for, the overseas company in its UK branch or subsidiary, and must continue in this role. You must not have undertaken work for another business, nor engaged in separate business of your own.
  4. You must be able to provide evidence that the UK company is genuine and has generated business, primarily in the UK.
  5. You must meet English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements.

You will need to provide documents to support your sole representative settlement application as follows:

  1. Proof of the business the UK branch or subsidiary has engaged in.
  2. Evidence that it remains wholly-owned by the overseas business.
  3. Details of your salary and remuneration package.
  4. A letter from your employer confirming that you are still required to work for them, that you will be for the foreseeable future, and that you have supervised the UK business since your last grant of leave to remain
  5. English language test certificate to level B1 CEFR or proof of a degree taught in the UK or recognised as acceptable by Ecctis (formerly UK Naric).
  6. Proof that you have passed the Life in the UK Test.

How long will my extension be granted for? Is this a route to settlement?

If successful, your visa can be extended for a further 2 years. Once you have been in the UK for 5 years, and you still have an ongoing job with the same company, you will be able to apply to settle.

Can dependants come to the UK under the sole representative route?

If your partner or children under the age of 18 are already in the UK, they can apply to extend their visa at the same time as you, or before their current visa expires. If they are currently in the UK as a visitor, they will not be able to apply to be your dependant from inside the UK, and will instead need to apply from outside the UK.

If an application is made, the dependants will also need to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements.

Your partner cannot be classed as your dependant if they own or control a majority of the overseas business that you are representing.

How much does it cost to apply for a sole representative extension or settlement?

If you are applying for a sole representative extension from inside the UK, the fee applicable is £827 per person. If you are applying for settlement, the fee is £2,404.

You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge if extending your visa. The IHS is not payable when settling.

How we can help

Due to the complicated eligibility requirements that must be met, and the increased level of scrutiny of sole representative cases since 2021, it is best to speak to specialist immigration lawyers who can assist your efforts and provide you with the best chance of success. Our experienced team at Latitude Law will do their utmost to ensure that your application is successful.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 08/06/2023