The UK

UK Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The UK is offering a new type of visa for overseas business owners, with no investment required, in order to encourage overseas investment.

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa has been designed principally to allow senior managers of overseas companies to enter the UK to enable the incorporation of the company’s first subsidiary, office, or branch, anywhere in the UK.

Non-European Economic Area (EEA) citizens can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business from a foreign company, using one of two methods:

  1. Being the sole representative of an overseas parent company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly-owned subsidiary.
  2. As a member of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation sent to the UK on a long-term project.
Overseas Business Visa: Applicant Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the visa, applications must:

  • Be received externally from the EEA (Eltoma will deal with entire application process on your behalf).
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself without government aid (verified by showing proof of income or savings).
  • Meet the English language requirement (verified by taking an exam or presenting an academic exam- not applicable from certain jurisdictions, see below).

    Sole Representatives

    Applications for UK sole representatives must show:

  • Be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose primary place of business is outside the UK.
  • The applicant has extensive industry-related 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.
  • Proof that they intend to establish the company’s first presence in the UK, by a registered branch or a solely owned subsidiary.

    You may also be eligible if the company has a legal entity in the UK that has not previously employed staff, or carried out UK operations at the time of the application. Contact us for more information.

    If your company has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet set up, applicants are able to substitute a preceding sole representative.

    Postings on behalf of a news agency generally are more simple to apply for, generally only requiring the employer contract. Contact us for more information about this.

General Visa Rules

Working full time for the company you applied with is encouraged.

Applicants will have the opportunity to:

  • bring your family (‘dependents’) with you to the UK;
  • extend your visa;
  • apply to settle in the UK after you’ve been a resident for 5 years with no misdemeanors.

Applicants cannot:

  • apply to work for themselves or any other business not included in the application;
  • stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement has terminated;
  • change to this visa from any other visa category;
  • receive any public aid or funding.

Prove their level of English by:

  1. passing an approved English language test with a minimum of CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening (this is not included as part of our visa package and must be completed independently, contact us for resources or more information);
  2. having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

Visa Duration

The initial visa allows applicants to stay for a period of 3 years, with the option to renew your visa for a further 2 years.

After staying in the UK for 5 years, there is the opportunity to apply for permission to settle permanently.

English Language Exemptions

Applicants will not need to prove their knowledge of English if they hold a passport of one of the following English-speaking jurisdictions:

  • Australia
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines
  • USA

You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances – contact us for more information on visa guidance.

Application Timeframe

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before entering the UK.

We do everything we can to get a swift response for you, Eltoma should receive a decision on your behalf within 3 weeks. If all documents have been provided legitimately, there should be no rejections.

Using Eltoma as an Agent

Acting as your official agent, Eltoma files all the necessary documentation and receives all decisions on your behalf; including registering with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and all related paperwork.

Contact us for a no-obligation consultation, our local representatives would be happy to answer any questions you may have.