Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

What can I do (and not do) as a sole representative?

The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is a category which is intended to be used by senior employees of companies which are based abroad and are seeking to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. As with all categories of the immigration rules, there are some conditions on stay for Sole Representatives.

Sole Representative Visa Conditions

These conditions include:

  • no recourse to public funds;
  • registration with the police;
  • no employment other than working for the business which the applicant has been admitted to represent, and
  • study subject to the condition set out in Part 15.

As someone who is the senior employee of a business, the Home Office expects that applicants in this category will be paid the salary of a senior business person. It is expected that you will be able to maintain and accommodate yourself and your family members for your time in the UK and will have demonstrated this as part of your initial application to enter the UK. There is therefore no recourse to public funds. The Home Office produces a guidance document which sets out what sorts of funds are considered public funds and which are not. For example, it is possible to send children to a state funded school and this will not be considered a public fund.

Individuals of some nationalities will be given a condition that they must register with the police. When you first register you will be given a certificate which you must take to be updated at certain times, for example if you get a new grant of leave or change your address. The police registration certificate will need to be sent back to the Home Office when you next apply to extend your leave so it is important that you keep this document safe and make sure it is updated when necessary.

The most restrictive condition is that you are only able to be employed by the company on which your leave has been granted. The immigration rules define employment as including ‘paid and unpaid employment, paid and unpaid work placements undertaken as part of a course or period of study, self employment and engaging in business or any professional activity.’

This means that it is not possible to have any other business interests, part time work or consulting work in the UK on the side of your employment for the business which has sent you to the UK. You must only work for the employer that has sent you to the UK. If you wish to take on additional roles, you must change your immigration category.

Individuals in the Sole Representative category are permitted to study, and there is no specific time restriction on your study. Although, the basis of your stay in the UK would be to work for the business and the Home Office must have been satisfied that your work will be on a full time basis, so if you were to intend to study for a prolonged period or in a way which would interfere with your work, it may be appropriate to change to a new category. If you do intend to study in the UK with leave as a Sole Representative you may need to obtain special authorisation from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for some science or technology degrees.  

What can you do as a Sole Representative?

If you hold a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa you can:

  • live in the UK;
  • work for your Employer;
  • bring your family members with you;
  • extend your Stay and Settle in the UK.

Leave will be granted for a period of three years initially.  This can be extended for a further two year period. After five years, it is possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, however if for any reason the ILR requirements cannot be met, leave can be extended again and will be granted for a further period of two years. There is currently no limit on the number of times that leave can be extended without settling.

Family members who can travel with a Sole Representative include a spouse or unmarried partner and children who are under the age of 18.

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.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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