The Representative of an Overseas Business Route is for representatives of foreign businesses that do not already have a presence in the UK. Sole Representatives or Media Representatives may apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa. This article focuses on Sole Representative Visa applications. The requirements for a Sole Representative visa are set out at Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business of the Immigration Rules

The requirements for this Immigration category are summarised below:

Validity Requirements

Applications must satisfy the following requirements to be considered valid:

  • Applications must be made online using the dedicated pages for this Immigration Route on the website.
  • They must pay the Home Office fee, the Immigration Health Surcharge and supply their biometrics.
  • Applicants must provide their passport or travel document.
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or above.
  • Applicants who have been sponsored by a government or an International Agency scholarship must obtain written consent from such sponsors, where that sponsorship occurred within the 12 months preceding the submission of their application.

Suitability Requirements

Essentially an Applicant applying for a Sole Representative visa must not currently be in breach of the Immigration Rules or be on Immigration bail.  

Eligibility Requirements

The Eligibility requirements are sub – divided into the following sub – categories:

  • Entry Requirements
  • Work Requirement
  • Genuineness Requirement
  • English Requirement
  • Financial Requirement
  • Additional Business Requirements

Entry Requirements

The Entry Requirements include the following:

  • Applicants must have obtained Entry Clearance (a visa) as a Sole Representative before arriving in the UK.
  • Nationals of relevant countries must provide a valid medical certificate confirming that they have been screened for Tuberculosis and that it is not present in them.

Work Requirements

The Work requirements include the following:

  • The overseas business that the Applicant represents must be active and trading outside the UK
  • The headquarters and principal place of business for the foreign business must remain abroad
  • The Applicant must have been recruited and employed outside the United Kingdom by the overseas business abroad
  • The Applicant must intend to work full – time as the representative of an overseas business and not intend to work for any other business or engage in any business of their own
  • The Applicant must be a senior employee of the overseas business and assigned to establish and supervise a branch or subsidiary of that business in the UK
  • The branch or subsidiary being established in the UK must engage in the same type of business as the overseas business.

Genuineness Requirement

This requirement provides that the Home Office must be satisfied that the Applicant is a genuine Representative of an Overseas Business.

The Home Office should not have reasonable grounds to believe that a business is being established by an overseas business, or that an Applicant being appointed as a Sole Representative, with the sole aim of assisting an Applicant apply for a visa to enter the UK.

English Language Requirement

Applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy the English language requirement in speaking and listening at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Financial Requirement

Applicants must be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds.

The level of funds requirement must be evidenced as set out at Appendix Finance.

Additional Requirements

In addition to the requirements referred to above, an Applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be a senior employee with the requisite skills, knowledge, experience and knowledge of the business that they intend to undertake
  • Must have full authority to negotiate and take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business
  • Must not have a majority stake or control a majority of the Overseas Business they represent
  • Applicants must not represent an Overseas Business which already has as an active branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK
  • Applicants must also supply a number of documents that are set out in this section of Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business.  

Period of Grant

Successful Applicants will be granted leave for an initial period of 3 years, which can be extended for a further 2 years.

A Sole Representative may apply for settlement after remaining in the UK as the Representative of an Overseas Business for a continuous period of 5 years.


Dependants, including a partner and dependent children can apply under the Representative of an Overseas Business route.

Dependants must not own or control a majority stake in the overseas business that the Main Applicant intends to represent.


While this is an overview of the requirements for the Representative of an Overseas Business visa and more specifically the Sole Representative visa, it should only serve as a guide. Applicants intending to submit an application under the Representative of an Overseas Business Route should obtain legal advice from a qualified immigration law practitioner before submitting their application.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of immigration law.


Immigration Rules – Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business Route

Home Office Guidance – Representative of an Overseas Business (version 19.0)

Request a callback

One of our highly experienced team will be in touch with you shortly.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.