Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

Can a sole representative bring family members to the UK?

Yes, if you are applying for a sole representative of an overseas business visa, you can be joined or accompanied by your dependant family members.  

What family members can a sole representative bring to the UK?

A sole representative of an overseas business may bring, or be joined by, their:

  • spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, and
  • dependent children.

Unfortunately, like most other categories of the Immigration Rules, sole representatives cannot bring their parents, siblings or other extended family members.

What are the relationship requirements for the partner of a sole representative to come to/stay in the UK as a dependant?

They must be the partner of someone who has been granted, or is being granted at the same time, leave as a sole representative of an overseas business. If they hold indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”) or are a British citizen, immediately before being granted ILR, they must have been a sole representative.

It is easier for spouses or civil partners, as they are only required to show their certificate of marriage/civil partnership.

However, for unmarried or same-sex partners (the latter category excluding those in a civil partnership):

  • all previous marriages or relationships must have permanently broken down,
  • they must not be in a “consanguineous relationship” (i.e. related by blood), and
  • they must have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage which has subsisted for 2 years or more.

All spouses/partners must intend to live with the other partner during the sole representative’s stay, and not beyond any period of leave granted to the representative. Their relationship must also be genuine and subsisting.

What are the requirements for a child of a sole representative to come to/stay in the UK as a dependant?

The child’s parent must currently have leave as a representative of an overseas business, or have just been granted indefinite leave to remain and immediately before that held leave as a sole representative.

The child must be under 18 at the date of the initial application. A child can then extend, even if they are 18 or older, so long as their leave at the time of the application was as the dependent child of a sole representative.

Children must show that:

  • they are not married or in a civil partnership;
  • they have not formed an independent family unit; and
  • they must not be leading an independent life.

Both parents should have been (or are being) granted leave to the UK, except if the parent the child is accompanying or joining is:

  • the sole surviving parent;
  • has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing; or
  • there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make exclusion undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child’s care.

Can a dependent partner or child of a sole representative apply from within the UK?

Yes. However, if a dependant is already in the UK, his/her last grant of leave cannot have been as a visitor, short-term student, or on temporary admission/release (now Immigration Bail after 15 January 2018). Generally, the dependant must also not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws. 

What are the financial maintenance requirements for a dependent family member of a sole representative?

The representative of an overseas business will have to provide evidence that they can maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants adequately, without recourse to public funds. No documents are specified to show this.

What are the accommodation requirements for a dependent family member of a sole representative?

The representative of an overseas business and any dependent family members must be accommodated adequately (without recourse to public funds) in accommodation which the sole representative and partner own or occupy exclusively.

What will be the length of the visa for a dependent family member of a sole representative?

Dependants can be granted entry clearance to the UK, by applying at the same time as the representative of an overseas business applies for entry clearance, if they intend to come to the UK together. The dependents will only be granted if the sole representative is granted.

If the sole representative only has limited leave to remain, dependants will generally be granted leave in line with the representative who they are accompanying or joining (i.e. dependants’ biometric residence permits will expire at the same time as the sole representative).

Implicitly, the rules seem to suggest that if the sole representative has already been granted indefinite leave to remain, a partner cannot be sponsored for entry clearance under paragraph 194 or 195 of the Immigration Rules. It will be essential for sole representatives to make an application for their dependent partners, before settling, in order to avoid making an application under Appendix FM, and thereby facing the more stringent specified English and financial documents required under Appendix FM-SE.

If a dependent partner is looking to extend their stay, and the sole representative is being/has been granted indefinite leave to remain or has become a British citizen, the dependent partner will be granted an extension for a period of not more than 2 years.

Under paragraph 197 of the Immigration Rules, it is possible for a sole representative who now has ILR to sponsor their child for leave to enter.  If the sole representative has been granted indefinite leave to remain, the dependent child will be granted leave to remain for a period of 30 months.

Can family members of sole representative settle in the UK as dependants?

Yes, leave as dependent family member of a representative of an overseas business, is a route to settlement.

All of the requirements as to the relationship remain the same. For family members to settle, the representative must have been (or is being) granted indefinite leave to remain or has naturalised as British.

The Rules do not specify a particular number of years that family members of a sole representative must spend on a dependent visa before applying for indefinite leave to remain; nor are there specific residency requirements. Therefore, the rules open the possibility of applying for ILR as soon as the 2-year partner or 30-month child dependent visa has been granted, so long as the sole representative has ILR.

Of course, if the entire family applies and enters the UK with the sole representative, then the family will have to wait the five years until the sole representative is eligible to settle, before they too can make their ILR application.

To be eligible for ILR, children and partners between the ages of 18 and 65 will have to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of about life in the UK (by taking what is currently the Life in the UK test) and show they meet the appropriate English language requirement through their nationality, academic qualifications or an English test.

Conditions on the dependant of a sole representative visa?

For partners and children of 18 years of age or more (at the time their leave is granted, or who will be 18 at the time it expires) there will be a condition on study to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate, if they want to undertake degrees in certain subjects.

Contact our Sole Representative Visa Lawyers

For advice and assistance regarding an application for entry clearance, leave to remain or settlement as a sole representative of an overseas business, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


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