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What is a Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

A Representative of an Overseas Business visa allows a senior employee of an overseas company to represent it in the UK by establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of that overseas business in the UK.

The branch or subsidiary must be concerned with the same type of business activity as the overseas business and the person must intend to work full-time as a representative of their overseas employer.

Once the visa is granted, the representative must not engage in business of their own nor represent any other company’s interest in the UK.

What criteria must I meet to be eligible for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

All of the following criteria must be met in order to successfully qualify for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa:

Eligibility criteria as set out in the Immigration Rules:

You must be seeking entry to the UK either:

  • a) As a senior employee of an overseas business which has no active branch, subsidiary or other representative in the UK with full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas business for the purpose of representing it in the UK by establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of that overseas business; or
  • b) As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation being posted on a long-term assignment as a representative of their overseas employer

All of the following requirements also have to be met:

  • You must have been recruited as a senior employee outside of the UK by the business
  • The business has its headquarters and principal place of business outside of the UK
  • The company must have no other active branch, subsidiary or representative in the UK
  • You will be employed full-time in the UK as the representative of the overseas business
  • You must not be a majority shareholder in the overseas business (The Home Office must refuse an application when an applicant’s shareholding is over 50 per cent)
  • You can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds
  • You meet a basic English language requirement in speaking and listening to level A1 or above of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning

The Home Office can admit a sole representative after a branch is established in the UK, as long as that branch:

  • exists only as a legal entity
  • has set up a bank account
  • has identified, and set up, premises

In this instance, the Home Office can admit them only where:

  • no staff are employed
  • the branch has not yet transacted any business

How long is a Representative of an Overseas Business visa valid for?

A Representative of an Overseas Business visa is initially valid for 3 years, but you can extend for a further 2 years subject to meeting all of the extension requirements.

You can apply for settlement after 5 years, subject to meeting all of the eligibility requirements.

Representative of an Overseas Business - Visa Extension:

You may be able to extend your Representative of an Overseas Business visa for a further period of 2 years subject to meeting all of the following requirements:

  • The overseas business still has its headquarters and principal place of business outside of the UK
  • You are employed full-time as the representative of the overseas business and have established and are in charge of its registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary
  • You are still required for the employment in question and are in receipt of a salary
  • You have generated business, principally with firms in the UK, on behalf of your employer since your last grant of leave
  • You can maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds

Representative of an Overseas Business - Settlement:

You may be eligible to apply for settlement as a Representative of an Overseas Business subject to meeting all of the following requirements:

  • You have spent a continuous period of five years lawfully in the UK as a Representative of an Overseas Business and have met all of the requirements of the visa category throughout the 5-year period
  • You are still required for the employment in question
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom

How long will my Representative of an Overseas Business visa application take to process – outside of the UK?

Typically, a decision is made within 15 working days.

However, if you pay for the Priority service which is £220, your application will be placed at the front of the queue for priority processing to facilitate a decision within 5 working days (subject to the country of application submission).

How long will my Representative of an Overseas Business visa application take to process – inside of the UK?

If you apply from within the UK, the application can take 8 weeks to process.

Why use Setfords for Representative of an Overseas Business visa matters?

  • Expert legal advice specific to your matter
  • Extensive experience in making successful applications for organisations globally
  • Excellent technical knowledge of all aspects of Representative of an Overseas Business visa applications for both multinational corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Cost effective service with upfront fixed fees so that clients know what to expect
  • Being able to contact your lawyer out of office hours
  • Unwavering commitment to delivering excellent client care
  • Meticulous preparation of all paperwork and supporting documentation to expedite the process

We are happy to answer your enquiry by email or on the telephone and can do so outside office hours if you prefer. To receive more information, please complete the form below or call our enquiries team on 0330 058 4011.

Lawyer spotlight: Nicola Anne Wilkins

Consultant Solicitor - Business and Personal UK Immigration Law

Quotes from previous clients

“Nicola assisted my partner and I with renewing our UK spouse and work visas respectively. Not only was Nicola extremely meticulous, prompt and professional, but she is also a very effective communicator. There was never any scope for misunderstanding as Nicola was always on top of the details, extremely organised, and very clear and concise, going to the extent of thoughtfully preparing extra documentation to support our applications. Nicola also diligently kept us updated of the progress throughout the entire process. We had our visas processed and returned to us in record time. Overall, we were very impressed and it was a pleasure dealing with Nicola”.

“We had the pleasure of working with Nicola in 2014 when we needed visas for my American family to move to the UK. Nicola paid lots of attention to detail, prepared everything perfectly, came up with creative ways to overcome some hurdles and had great knowledge of UK immigration law. She was always very personable and happy to explain any issues that came up. It all went seamlessly and now we are all happily living in the UK. Happy clients!”.

To receive more information, please complete the form below or telephone Nicola on direct line 020 8103 2006.