Extend your stay or settle as a Sole Representative

Sole representative is one of the few remaining non-points based work categories. It was closed to new applicants on 11 April 2022, but you can still extend your stay, or apply for settlement, if already on this visa route.

The UK government has replaced sole representative visa with a suite of new Global Business Mobility visa options.


Am I eligible to extend or settle as a Sole Representative?

To qualify as a sole representative, the following must be shown:

  • You are a senior employee of a business which has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the United Kingdom
  • You were recruited outside the UK by the business, which has its headquarters and principal place of business overseas
  • You have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the business, and will establish and operate a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK doing the same kind of work
  • You must be employed full time in the business, and cannot be a majority shareholder
  • You have sufficient English language ability (CEFR level A1), and can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funds

What are the Key Features?

The sole representative rules provide some attractive opportunities to foreign investors and businesspeople beyond the UK’s point-based system:

  • As long as you do not own a majority shareholding in your overseas company, you can qualify for entry to the UK on a sole representative visa.  Even a 50% shareholding is fine
  • Your business overseas doesn’t need to be a certain size; even small trading companies may be able to set up a UK subsidiary
  • The rules do not require you to set up your company in the UK in advance; this can be sorted out once the sole representative visa is issued, and you have relocated to the UK
  • Once living in the UK, you can build your business here.  You do not need to remain a sole representative – instead, you may expand your business, employ other people, even apply for a skilled worker sponsor licence to take on more overseas staff.
  • The sole representative category does not have a strict 180 / 365 days residence requirement at extension stage.  You must, however, prove that you are engaged full-time in the business here
  • The 180 / 365 day residence requirement becomes relevant when you are applying for indefinite leave to remain
  • Also remember that there are residence requirements – basically, 450 days permitted absences over 5 years / 90 days permitted in the last 12 months – if you are intending to apply for British citizenship in the future

Your initial visa was valid for 3 years; you may extend this up to 5 years, at which point you and your dependants become eligible for settlement (subject to meeting relevant residence, English language and life in the UK requirements).  Note there is no accelerated settlement route for the sole representative category. 

The rules and policy require the sole representative of an overseas business to establish and operate a wholly owned subsidiary of an overseas entity (engaged in the same business as the overseas parent).  The sole representative must not engage in business of their own nor represent any other company’s interests. We have received confirmation from UK Visas and Immigration that the establishment of a UK holding company (not operating in the same business as its overseas parent, only providing administrative functions to the new UK enterprise) is acceptable, so long as the new enterprise is involved in the same business activity as the overseas parent.

How we can help

Our aim is to give you the best chance of successfully securing your UK sole representative visa so you can pursue your business plans. We pride ourselves on the efficiency of our processes and aim to be responsive, and proactive in the pursuit of your case.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Latitude’s team has many years’ experience advising on the sole representative category.

We are known for going that extra mile to ensure clients are successful in their endeavours whilst maintaining professionalism and ethical standards at all times. Our team is friendly and approachable and are always willing to answer any questions you might have.

We can meet you in our London, Manchester or Brussels offices or take your instructions via telephone or video conference.

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What our clients say…

Stalled EU Settlement Scheme application

Just to thank you all for the help given with Bodil's EU Settlement Scheme application, which came through in the last few days.

A good friend of ours once said: "People do not employ lawyers because they help; they employ them because they make a difference".

I'm convinced that referral to Latitude did jolt the Home Office into progressing consideration of the application, and it made all the difference.

T & B.

Allowed Appeal

To Gemma and the team, Thank you very much for your amazing job done. You are life savers.

Four British passports

The British passports of my four children successfully reached us this week.

I wanted to thank the Latitude Law Firm for the constant professional support provided to us throughout the process. Your services have been helpful for us at each stage of the process. We would be happy to hire you again in the future for the process of my husband, and would also recommend your firm to others around us.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the hard work of Joel Reiss towards the successful completion of our case. His support for all of us from day 1 till the very last day has been commendable. Me and my children are very thankful to him for the smooth execution.

Looking forward to hiring the firm for our next case as well.

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 17/04/2022