The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is designed primarily to allow senior executives and managers of an overseas company to enter the UK in order to set up the company’s first UK office, branch, or subsidiary.  The representative cannot own more than fifty percent of the business and the main business should remain outside the UK.  The UK business area should be in a similar area of business as the overseas business, and the overseas business outside the UK should in practice probably be much larger than the proposed UK business.

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa can also be used by overseas journalists who are posted on long-term assignment to the UK.

Length of stay

This visa is valid for an initial period of 3 years, and can be extended for 2 years.  Towards the end of 5 years in the UK visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants for the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa must meet several eligibility requirements for their visa to be granted.

All applicants must meet the English Language requirements:

  • Scoring at least A1 in English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), tested by an approved English language test provider. Must be the UKVI version of the test. 


  • Having a university level qualification which was taught in English; this must be equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, and evaluated by UK NARIC 


Nationals of the following countries already meet the English language requirement:

  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • the Bahamas 
  • Barbados 
  • Belize 
  • Canada 
  • Dominica 
  • Grenada 
  • Guyana 
  • Jamaica 
  • New Zealand 
  • St Kitts and Nevis 
  • St Lucia 
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • Trinidad and Tobago 
  • USA

Business representatives applying for this visa must also meet the following conditions:

  • Already be employed overseas by a company based outside of the UK 
  • Have appropriate industry knowledge and experience to fulfil their role in the UK 
  • Be a senior employee of the overseas company (such as a manager or executive) but not own more than fifty percent of the shares. 
  • Be travelling to the UK in order to establish the company’s first UK office, branch, or subsidiary 

Journalists applying for this visa must be genuinely employed by an overseas news agency or broadcaster. Apart from the English language requirement, journalists do not need to meet any other eligibility requirements.


Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa applicants must supply several documents with their application. These include:

  • Current passport and/or other travel documents 
  • Proof of maintenance funds for themselves and any family members 
  • Details of where they will be living in the UK 
  • Proof that they meet the English language requirement detailed above 
  • A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office’s TB testing list. 
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