Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

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- The UK Sole Representative Visa will be officially cancelled at 9am UK time on April 11, 2022.

- For visa holders who have already been granted this visa, applications for extension at Year 3 and permanent residence at year 5 will not be affected.

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Introduction

The Sole Representative program is targeted at companies who wish to send senior managers in the parent company to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK.


  • The main applicant is over 18 years old
  • Spouse and children under 18 can apply together as a family

Application conditions

Company Background

The parent company needs to prove that the company’s headquarter and principal country of business are outside the UK, and there are no subsidiaries, branches, or other sole representatives in the UK.

The parent company needs to provide a financial audit report of the most recent year to prove that the company has a stable revenue and net profit. Company’s bank statements are also needed to prove that the company has sufficient funds as operating expenses in the UK.

The current Immigration law does not indicate the specific financial requirements for revenue, net profit nor company deposits. The amount required varies according to individual industries.

Business plan

This visa does not have any restrictions nor limitations of the business nature. The UK subsidiary needs to engage in the same field of business as the parent company. During the five-year period, the parent company outside the UK has to remain as the company’s headquarters and continue to be actively operating outside the UK.

Sole Representative Requirements

Applicant must have been employed by the parent company, holding a senior position outside the UK, with extensive industry experience and knowledge within the relevant business scope. Applicant will hold full decision-making power in the UK subsidiary.

In addition, the applicant cannot be a major shareholder of the company. They can hold not more than 49% of the company shares.

English requirement

The applicant must show that they can meet the required English level. If the applicant holds a UK degree or above (ie. Degree/Master/PHD, please note that Diploma or Associate Degree is not recognised), they only need to submit their UK degree certificate to meet the English requirement.

If the applicant holds a degree issued by a university based outside the UK, they will need to provide certificates and transcripts, along with university letters to prove that the degree is taught in English, then apply to UK NARIC to confirm that the degree is equivalent to a UK degree or above .

If applicant does not have the above academic qualifications, they will need to meet the CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.

UK Branch or Subsidiary

After the initial visa is granted, the main applicant needs to establish a subsidiary or branch in the UK. The UK company must be 100% owned by the parent company outside the UK and engage in the same business as the parent company.

In order for the applicant to extend the visa after 3 years, the applicant needs to prove that the company headquarter and principal location of business are still outside the UK.

Residence Requirement

  • Main applicant and the dependent can apply for permanent residency in year 5. They must not have leave the UK for more than 180 days for any 12 months during the 5 year period. 
  • If you wish to apply for British citizenship in Year 6, each applicant must not leave the UK for more than 450 days during the last five years before applying for Citizenship, and no more than 90 days away from the UK in the last 12 months. 
  • They will need to pass the Life in UK test. 

Visa Benefits

  • The Sole Representative visa has become increasingly popular, and it is suitable for applicants who intend to bring an established overseas business to the UK.
  • Applicants need to ensure that both HK and UK business are maintained for the 5-year period in order to apply for permanent residence at the end of year 5.
  • Applicant’s spouse is allowed to work freely in the UK.
  • Dependent children can enjoy free local primary and secondary school education. After obtaining permanent residency in the UK, they will only need to pay local tuition fees when applying for university in the UK.

Visa application process

Provide free phone preliminary consultation, assess the applicant’s background and answer related questions. 
Arrange a face-to-face consultation to discuss the HK and UK business plans and provide relevant immigration information. 
Document preparation – business plan, drafting supporting letters and training for the potential visa interview.  
Once the preparation is completed, we can submit the application form. The normal approval time is 15 working days, and the priority service is 5 working days. 
The initial visa is valid for 3 years. Applicants must land in the UK within 90 days month after visa approval. 

Application fee

  • Visa fee: £610 per applicant
  • NHS: £624 per year for each adult applicant; £470 per year for child applicant 

Frequently Asked Questions

Under the current Immigration laws, there isn’t a specific timeframe for setting up the company. It is advised to register the company and open a UK company bank account as soon as possible after arriving in the UK.
Each parent company can only appoint one Sole Representative to work for its UK company.
If the applicant is a major shareholder of the company, it is recommended to restructure the company shares to hold not more than 49% before the application.
The business plan should include the overview of the industry in the UK, target market, staff recruitment strategy, marketing strategy, competitors and financial summary of the UK company.

From our experience, some applicants will be required for interview. Most common reasons of the interview is due to the financial situation of the company, whether it is profitable or not. Did the applicant sell their shares before applying? The relationship between company shareholders, applicants and their spouses if they are both involved in the business? All the above factors are crucial for UK Home Office to consider the application. We also offer interview trainings to all our clients.

Interviews are conducted by phone or video call. Applicants need to familiarize themselves with the business plan and all the documentation being submitted. They will be expected to provide adequate and reasonable answers to prove that the applicants are genuine when answering questions. 

The FAQs from UK Home Office generally range from 30 to 60 questions. Interview time is 1-2 hours. Applicants can choose to conduct the interview in English or Cantonese.

According to the current Immigration laws, there is no minimum turnover requirement at the time of extending the visa in year 3. However, the applicants are required to submit the financial audit report of the UK company and relevant supporting documents to prove that the applicants have set up the business in the past 3 years.

We can assist with your Sole Representative visa application and our service include:

  • Full guidance and support throughout the application
  • Case analysis and planning to identify legal basis of application
  • Preparing a business plan to demonstrate that you fully understand your business and industry in the UK
  • Provide you with a list of documents required for your application
  • Drafting personal statement and relevant legal declations to explain your background and circumstances 
  • Preparation for interview – Preparing, rehearsing and equipping you for a successful interview;
  • Completion of application forms and upload of documents
  • Liaising with the UK Visa and Immigration Department on your behalf
  • Referral service for property rental and purchase, education consultancy for independent schools, UK tax and accountancy advice, shipping and relocation, pet immigration services.