UK Sole Representative Visa: eligibility, visa fee & requirements, interview question

UK Sole Representative Visa

Are you looking to apply for a UK sole representative visa? This article is for you.

No businesses despise growth of any kind and it is growth that the UK sole representative visa offers. It offers businesses outside the UK the chance to develop and grow. The UK is the 5th country with the largest economy in the world and as a result, has great and lucrative investment options for businesses. For this reason, businesses take this advantage by applying for a UK sole representative visa through a senior employee to help in their growth.

Also, this visa allows businesses to test the market either with little or no cost. It does this by sending a senior employee of the business as a representative in the UK. However, there are procedures and requirements needed to be met by an applicant for the UK sole representative visa.

Once the applicant’s application is accepted, the applicant is invited for an interview and this is one of the most difficult stages of getting the UK sole representative visa. We will recommend you read on if you are looking to apply for this visa

In this article, we will discuss more about the UK sole representative visa, eligibility, visa fee, requirements and the possible questions you will encounter and how to answer them.

What is a UK Sole Representative Visa?

A sole representative is simply a representative of an overseas business visa. It is a UK visa classification primarily designed for businesses or companies seeking UK market expansion and business migration.

It allows an individual who is either a senior executive or manager of an overseas company outside the UK to set up, stabilise and register the company’s first branch or complete subsidiary in the UK.

The UK sole representative visa is usually applied for by a senior employee of a business who holds a high job position and has some authority to make changes and decisions in the company. However, this applicant must not own over fifty per cent of the business. Also, the main business must not be moved to the UK and it should be larger than the branch or subsidiary in the UK.

The Applicant:

This applicant must be planning and is willing to establish his/her employer’s overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK either as a registered branch of the business or a completely owned subsidiary.

If you hold a senior position in an overseas business and you’re looking to get into the UK to set up a branch of your employer’s company, you would be allowed the permission to get into the UK and remain for about three years initially.

However, you will be required to submit an additional application. This is to retain your leave which would be valid for only two years.

After that (5 years in total), you would have automatically gained the permission to reside in the UK permanently. However, this will be primarily based on not breaching the UK sole representative visa rule – that is, you will have to remain at the branch or subsidiary through the five years and that the branch continues to thrive.

A person applying for a UK sole representative visa may include their partner and children who are under 18 years old.

Who Can be Granted a Sole Representative Visa?

The truth is, many businesses submit applications for the UK sole representative visa category but only a few got called back for an interview.

If you are looking to apply, you might need to hold on for a second and go through this list of things you have/do/be for your application to be approved.

To apply for the UK sole representative visa, you must:

  • Have been enlisted and employed overseas – outside the UK.
  • Be a top or senior employer of the overseas company/business. And also, you must have full authority to make active decisions over the business.
  • Have already decided and is willing to work full-time for your employer when you are in the UK.

However, you must not:

  • Attempt to take any other employment while you are in the UK.
  • Be a primary shareholder of the employer’s company or business. That is, you cannot work for yourself or any other business/company.
  • Continue to stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is terminated by your employer.
  • Get public funds!

Also, your employer needs to know that there’s no established requirement for him to have any legal entity or premises in the UK before your application. However, if eventually, your employer does, they must not have transacted businesses in the UK.

However, an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK can also apply for a UK sole representative visa.

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Apply for a UK Sole Representative Visa?

Here are the requirements for applying for this visa:

  • An applicant must meet the English Language proficiency requirements.
  • An applicant must score at least, A1 in English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). It must be tested by an approved English language test provider. Also, it must be the UKVI version of the test.

Or,

  • You must have a university-level qualification taught in English. However, this must be equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree and evaluated by UK NARIC.

Applicants must have to meet all of those requirements for their visa to be granted.

Also, you will need to demonstrate that you:

  • Are a legitimate Representative of an Overseas Business
  • Are a standing senior employee of the business.
  • Possess the abilities, experience and knowledge of the business needed to take on the role of sole representative of the overseas business branch or subsidiary in the UK.
  • Possess a great power to negotiate and take some active decisions on behalf of the overseas business.
  • Ready to work full-time as a representative of the overseas business.

For your overseas company, you will need to ensure that the company/business:

  • Is active as thriving and is trading overseas.
  • Does not plan to establish a branch or send a sole representative mainly for the basis of facilitating the entry of the sole representative.
  • Aims at establishing a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK that will vigorously trade in a similar business activity as the overseas business.
  • Has its headquarters and principal place of business overseas – outside the United Kingdom.
  • Has no additional active branch, subsidiary or representative in the United Kingdom.

What do I Need to Apply for the UK Sole Representative Visa?

When applying, here are the documents you will be needing:

  • A current passport of you and other travel documents.
  • You must provide evidence of maintenance funds for you and your family.
  • You must provide the details of where you and your family will live in the UK once you move.
  • Also, you are required to prove that you meet the English language requirement.
  • You must provide clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter.

How Long Will it Take to Apply for a UK Sole Representatives Visa?

If you are applying from overseas – outside the UK, the quickest you are expected to apply is 3 months before you travel. By the next 3 weeks after application, you must have received a decision on your visa. If not, make enquiries about paying for a faster decision.

If applying from outside UK, a Representative of an Overseas Business visa costs £610.

However, if you are in the UK already and you apply from within, you are sure to receive a decision in about 8 weeks. But if there’s ever a change or a delay, or new information, you will be contacted by the UKVI.
And, if you are applying from inside the UK, you’ll need to pay a fee of £704 for the visa

Also, there’s the £19.20 fee to have your biometric information; fingerprints and a photo, taken.

There’s also an immigration health surcharge fees of GBP £624/per year/ per person OR GBP £470 per year / per child under 18 years old.

How Long Does a UK Sole Representative Visa Last?

The UK sole representative visa is valid for a period of 3 years with a possibility of being extended for an extra two years with a further application. Afterwards, the applicant can apply for an indefinite leave to remain or settle in the UK.

What are the Advantages of a Sole Representative Visa? 

The UK has fast become an outstanding destination for small and large businesses and organisations. It is with a fast-growing economy and as a result, businesses or companies striving for UK market growth and business migration go for it through the UK sole representative visa category.

Aside from business, this visa provides a quite accessible, affordable, fast and easy path to UK residence which the applicant can gain after 5 years of being a sole representative of his/her employer’s business.

What are the important interview questions for a UK Sole Representative Visa?

Your job

This is one of the most essential questions that will be thrown at you. You would be asked about your current position at the business or company you intend to represent in the UK.

Here, you will need to recall everything about your job; from how long you have been at it, your experience in the field or position you hold and why you were selected for the UK sole representative visa over the other top employees.

Remember, there is no wrong answer to this question neither is there a better way to answer it than to tell your story.

About the company:

For you to assume one of the top positions at your job, you must know every detail about your company.

For this question, be prepared to tell about the company’s management styles, the board of directors, the senior management and the rest.

Is the company clear of major debts that might pose as threats later in the future? Your company must have avoided this before your application.
However, if there are no debts, you will need to mention that in your answer.

A subsidiary or Branch in the UK?

What is the company’s plan for its entity in the UK – a branch or a wholly subsidiary?

You have to prove that you are familiar with the company’s plan. Ensure you make no mistakes as answering a different plan from your company’s will cause a lot of damages and possibly, the termination of the sole representative visa.

You will need to have an in-depth insight into this plan at your interview. This will help you to demonstrate the authenticity of your application.

We will recommend you don’t deviate or contradict whatever is in your application once your allocation has been granted. Unless however, you can explain with credible evidence for changes.

Your financial status

This is another important question that plays a big role in getting your application approved. Your financial status will need to be ascertained.

Your interviewer wants to know if you have the ability to financially support yourself as you won’t be having access to public funds as a sole representative.

Here, you must have to; in words and in fact, demonstrate that you are financially stable and will not be a financial burden on the state.
 

English Language

This can pose a great challenge for applicants from non-English speaking countries. It is a deciding factor for your application getting approved. You may wonder why.

The Home Office wants to be sure you can successfully and clearly negotiate commercial deals in the UK as it is an English speaking nation.

Criminal Records/ Civil Offence

Having a criminal or civil office simply tells that you are of a bad character or that you are reckless in your financial management. You need to be of good character. You need to be believed of being of good character.

Your family

The authorities want to know about your family and if you intend to come to the UK together. If you answer in the affirmative, you will need to prove that you will be responsible for the additional financial stress. Also, you will need to prove the care and accommodation arrangements for any minor defendants or family member.

Any previous applications?

If you have ever applied for a UK sole representative visa before and got rejected, the authorities will want to know the reason you were. Also, they will want to know if the reason is still applicable. If not, you are good to go!

Conclusion

This is a complete article on the UK sole representative visa; eligibility, requirements and the important interview questions. We hope you go through this article very well and ensure you meet all the requirements before you apply.

Also, we hope you understand and keep by the rules in order to increase your chances of getting your application approved.

We wish you the best!

FAQs

What is a UK sole representative visa?

A sole representative is simply a representative of an overseas business visa. It is a UK visa classification primarily designed for businesses or companies seeking UK market expansion and business migration.

Am I eligible to be a representative of an overseas business?

Yes, you are if you are a senior employee at the company.
Meet the English Language proficiency requirements.
Score at least, A1 in English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). It must be tested by an approved English language test provider. Also, it must be the UKVI version of the test.

How long do I need to have been employed by the company?

There’s no requirement for a period of time to be employed by your company before you are eligible to apply for a UK sole representative visa. However, you must be a senior employee I qualify to apply.

When should I apply for a UK sole representative visa?

If you are applying from overseas – outside the UK, the quickest you are expected to apply is 3 months before you travel.

Can a sole representative bring family members to the UK?

Yes, a UK sole representative may bring their family member; partner and children under the age of 18.

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