Immigration – Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

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 and full-time assignment as a representative of their overseas employer

All of the following requirements also have to be met for those who wish to establish and operate a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary of the overseas business in the UK:

  • 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.

How can Setfords help you with your Representative of an Overseas Business visa application?

For further information, please get in touch below.

Discuss your Representative of an Overseas Business visa application with our Immigration Experts now

Nicola Anne Wilkins

Senior Consultant Solicitor – UK Immigration Law


Direct dial: 020 8103 2006
Head office: 0330 058 4012 then dial ext 2752
Email: nwilkins@setfords.co.uk
Form: Complete form now
Connect on LinkedIn

Quotes from previous clients

“Nicola has great strengths in handling clients and in communicating to clients in a practical and understandable manner that delivers business driven solutions. She has an outstanding ability to deliver legal advice that is moreover practical and deliverable for clients, which is a key advantage when working with her as a client. Nicola demonstrates a can-do attitude to all matters that come her way and performs tasks to a very high standard against strict deadlines. Not only is she an extremely capable individual, but she is also very hardworking with outstanding interpersonal skills and builds client rapport with ease. I would thoroughly recommend Nicola to any business or individual looking for legal advice”.

“Nicola has proven to be a fantastic asset both in dealing with my personal immigration case, and to my company in general, which she consults on all immigration issues. Her knowledge of all of the latest UK laws and regulations is thorough, her understanding of potential trouble points is profound, and her attention to detail is exceptional. I am very grateful to Nicola for working on my case and making it such a smooth and painless process. I gladly and wholeheartedly recommend Nicola’s services to my colleagues, clients, and friends and I look forward to working with Nicola again in the future”.