✅ 1. The Sole Representative Visa is best for those who:
- Are a senior employee of an overseas company;
- Are not a majority shareholder, if one does have a majority, then it would be necessary to divest or dilute your shares in order to qualify for this visa;
- Do not already have a presence in the UK;
- Works for a company, whose HQ is abroad and not looking to establish the company’s HQ in the UK;
- Have a solid business plan which legitimately explains the case for expanding your business to the UK. Here, the decision-making lies with the Home Office and will look at your accounts to judge whether or not there is a compelling reason for you to expand;
- If you are accepted, you will be able to 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.
- Since the judgment comes from the Home Office, there can be an adverse impact on you if your application for this visa is rejected in terms of hampering with your plans on expanding your business. With this in mind, it might be best to see if you are instead, eligible to apply for the Innovator visa.
✅ 2. The Innovator Visa is best for those who:
- Will have an active role in your business. Unlike the Sole Representative visa, it is possible to have several people to apply for this visa for the same company;
- Have a solid business plan that will likely get an endorsement from approved bodies including higher education institutions and incubators;
- You can stay in the UK for three years and there is no limit to how many times you can extend your stay afterwards. You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.
- Are able to get at least £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business. This amount of financial investment is not required in either the Sole Representative visa or the Start-up visa;
- You do not need funds if your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa.
✅ 3. The Start-up Visa is best for those who:
Are a new entrepreneur, with little/ no previous business experience.
- This visa can be seen as a precursor to the Innovator visa. This visa may be useful in helping you establish a relationship with an endorser before you apply for an Innovator visa. It is important to note that unlike the other two visas, this one does not create a pathway to settlement in the UK.