Apply for a Sole Representative Visa

Sole representative is one of the few remaining non-points based work categories, and provides an attractive option to foreign investors and business people looking to expand their activity into the UK.

Am I eligible for a Sole Representative Visa?

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
  • Rule changes in 2020 mean that it is no longer possible for an overseas business owner to enter as the dependant of their spouse or long-term partner

If your visa application is successful, you will be granted an initial 3 years’ leave; 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, one of the few remaining non-points-based work categories. It is often a convenient option, particularly where you have not worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months.

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.

Our solicitors

What our clients say…

UK Entry Clearance Granted

I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to Joel Reiss for his amazing service in relation to my visa application.

Reiss was outstanding as a consultant and adviser and my family and I highly value the efforts he took; we are deeply appriciative of his work and knowledge in the legal matters, processes and proceedings. He prepared our application including a covering letter from scratch, which he refined through discussion before making it an impeccable one to refuse. There were a few complicated elements surrounding our application and we believe had it not been for Mr.Reiss and his flawless services together with the expertise of Latitude Law, we would not have recieved our visa.

He was quick in clarifying our queries and made it a point to reply as soon as possible. Even when we had to be away from work, Reiss made sure our application was not interrupted and it could be filed on time. The constant communication and the replies continued even after the application was submitted and the services were paid for all the way till we recieved the decision. We have even been informed of the travel guidelines and quarantine regulations, and I honestly believe the fee we paid did not include these supplementary services.

I would also like to extend my upmost appreciation to Gary McIndoe, the Director, Latitude Law and everybody else at the firm including Jessica Lee for their service and cooperation.

I would not think twice in recommending Joel Reiss and Latitude Law for visa application and allied services.

Mr Vineesh

Success for the Bouameur Family

I am writing this on behalf of the whole family, we would like to say thank you. These two words are such small words for the gratitude and high regard we all hold you in.

Your firm and especially you have been with us throughout the difficult years we have had and you have always been there when we needed picking up, our shoulder to cry on that saw us through with honesty and realistic advice.

I cannot recommend your firm and you enough to people who find themselves at the mercy of a system that at best can be described as confusing.

You have given us back our lives and for that you will always be a cherished member of our family and never forgotten

Many many thanks to you and your team for everything

The Bouameur Family

Naturalisation success for a medical doctor

I shall have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Latitude Law, which is clearly an extremely proficient unit, exemplified by helping clients with patience, attention to detail and sensitivity in equal measure.

Particular mention is merited to Ms Gemma Wylie, whose professionalism is par excellence. I couldn’t thank her enough.


All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 11/07/2021