Sections

Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

You can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and you’re either:

  • the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK
  • You must also meet the other eligibility requirements.

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years.  You may be able to extend your visa for another 2 years. After you’ve been in the UK for 5 years, you can apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • apply from outside the EEA
  • have enough money to support yourself without help from public funds
  • meet the English requirement

Sole Representatives

If you are coming to the UK as a sole representative you must:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, eg a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary
  • You may also be eligible if the company has a legal entity in the UK that doesn’t employ staff or transact business.
  • If your company has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet set up, you can replace a previous sole representative.

Newspaper, news agency or broadcast employees

As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you can come to the UK if you’re being posted here on a long-term assignment.

Knowledge of English

You will need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply,

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways and you won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of a majority English speaking country. A full list of countries is available from the Home Office website.  You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways. Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • a passport size colour photograph
  • evidence that you can support yourself and any dependants during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
  • details of where you’ll be staying during your stay
  • proof that you meet the English requirement
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Sole representatives

When applying as a sole representative of an overseas company you’ll need to provide:

  • a full description of the parent company’s activities, including details of assets and accounts
  • a letter confirming the overseas company will establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK in the same business activity as the parent company
  • your job description, employment contract and salary details
  • a letter confirming you’re familiar with the company and have the power to take operational decisions

You should also provide evidence that you:

  • are directly employed by the parent company and aren’t acting as a sales agent (ie hired by a company to sell or distribute their products within the UK, but working for yourself and providing your services for a fee)
  • were recruited to the company outside of the UK, hold a senior position and are able to make decisions on its behalf and have the authority to establish and operate a registered branch
  • will be working full time for the company for the duration of your stay and won’t carry out any other work
  • are not a majority shareholder in the company

Newspaper, news agency or broadcast employees

As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation you must also provide:

  • a full description of the parent company’s activities, including details of assets and accounts
  • confirmation that you will be representing them in the UK in a long term, full-time role

How to apply

If you’re applying from outside the UK. Then you must apply online for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.  You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

If you’re applying in the UK then you can only extend your existing visa if you’re already in the UK.

Extend your visa

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.  You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay.  You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must already have this visa as either:

  • a representative of an overseas business
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation

You must also meet the following conditions:

  • you’re still working for the same employer as when you were issued your previous visa
  • you’re still working to establish the company’s first presence in the UK
  • your employer’s principal place of business is still outside the UK
  • You must be in the UK to extend your visa.

How long you can stay

A Representative of an Overseas Business visa can be extended for up to 2 years after the original visa duration of 3 years.  Please note that your visa can be extended for 3 years if your previous Representative of an Overseas Business visa was issued before 1 October 2009.

You can apply to settle once you have been in the UK for 5 years and you have an ongoing job with the same company.

How to extend your visa

Within the UK you can download the form and apply by post - the address is on the form.  As part of your application, you’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a Post Office. Find a Post Office that offers the enrolment service - choose ‘Home Office Biometric Enrolment’ from the drop down list.

Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child under 18

If your dependants applying from outside the UK then your family members must apply online. They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of their application.

If your dependants applying from inside the UK. Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK. They should apply using the dependant application form.  It’s best to send your dependants’ applications at the same time as yours.

Please be aware that members of your family can’t apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work for your employer, full time
  • bring your family (‘dependants’) with you to the UK
  • extend your visa multiple times
  • apply to settle in the UK after you’ve been here for 5 years
  • stay in the UK if your company’s circumstances change and you’ve been here for more than 2 years (eg if they appoint a superior in the UK)

You can’t:

  • work for yourself or any other business
  • stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer
  • switch to this visa from any other visa category
  • get public funds