You may be reading this because your objective is to apply for a sole representative visa to set up a branch or subsidiary of your company in the UK in 2020. If so, you would apply for a visa as the overseas representative. No investment funds are required and you would be able to apply as soon as we had prepared the relevant documents.
The idea behind this visa route is that you can apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business if you are planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company.
Requirements for the sole representative visa
We would need to show that:
- The company has its headquarters or principal place of business outside the UK. In terms of evidence, we will need to provide a full description of the company’s activities. This includes details of the company’s assets and accounts and the company’s share distribution for the previous year;
- The applicant is a senior employee of the overseas business. The supporting documents would be the contract of employment (appointment letter), together with confirmation of salary. We would also need to provide a separate job description for the UK company, which we can review.
- There is an intention to work full-time as the representative of the overseas business. This does not need to be linked to a set number of hours a week.
- The applicant is not a majority shareholder of the overseas business.
- The overseas company does not already have a branch or subsidiary in the UK. I would not recommend finding premises, incorporating or starting trading in the UK before the visa is granted.
- The applicant has been engaged by a business outside the UK on a long-term assignment in the UK to represent that business. We can evidence this through a new appointment letter to the UK.
- There is full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business for the purpose of representing it in the UK. We would need to provide a written confirmation by the company.
- The UK branch will be concerned with the same type of business activity as the overseas business. We will need to provide a letter which confirms the company will establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK in the same business activity as the parent company.
- There is no intention to take up any other employment (i.e. other than for the overseas business). You could only work in the UK as a representative of the overseas business.
- The financial position (including the ability to support the family) is such that there would not be recourse to public funds. I understand that this is not an issue.
After the application is granted
The overseas representative visa is granted for three years, then extended for a further two years to the five year point, at which point one can apply for indefinite leave to remain. One year after that, you would have the option to apply to naturalise as a British citizen. Dependents follow the same pathway to settlement and citizenship.
Permanent residence and citizenship
The pathway to permanent residence in the UK (indefinite leave to remain) under this route is 3+2 years. This means that you will need to apply for an extension after your initial visa is granted. It is very important that you comply with the conditions of your visa. I can help you with everything you need to know about taking steps to ensure that you secure your extension, and can then apply for permanent residence at year 5. My banking and other contacts are very useful in this connection. You can then apply to naturalise as a British citizen at year six.