If you work for a foreign organisation with plans to set up a new branch, or are an employee of a news media company, you may be eligible to apply to come to the UK as a representative of an overseas business.
WH Solicitors are expert immigration lawyers that regularly assist the representatives of overseas businesses with UK visa applications. We provide a complete service that allows our clients to make an informed decision about their immigration status, and provides them with the best chance of getting approved for a UK visa.
Who Can Apply For A Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?
You can apply for a visa as a representative of an overseas business if you are either:
- the sole UK representative of an overseas business that plans to set up a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary
- an employee of a foreign newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organisation that has been posted to the UK on a long-term assignment
If your visa application is approved, you will usually be able to stay in the UK for a period of three years with the option to extend that for another two years. Representatives of an Overseas Business may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain after spending five years in the UK.
What are the Eligibility Requirements?
The eligibility criteria for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa vary depending on whether you are applying as a sole representative of a foreign organisation, or as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcaster.
Applicants who intend to come to the UK as their employer’s sole representative will need to:
- Have been recruited outside the UK by a business that is actively trading
- Have the skills, knowledge, and experience required to perform the role
- Hold a senior position and have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the business
- Not own or control the majority of the business
- Plan to establish the business’s first UK commercial presence as a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary
To come to the UK as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organisation, you will need to show that you will represent your employer in the UK through a long-term, full-time role. You will also usually need to provide a full description of your employer’s activities, including details of their accounts and assets.
English Language Requirement
You may be required to prove your knowledge of the English language to qualify for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa. This could involve taking an approved English language test in speaking and listening at CEFR level A1 or above. This is commonly referred to as ‘beginner’ English and involves (amongst other things) showing that you can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases, introduce yourself and others, and interact with other people in a simple way.
As an alternative, you may be able to satisfy the English language requirement by having an academic qualification that Ecctis (previously UK NARIC) recognises as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a PhD.
You will not need to prove your knowledge of the English language if you are a national from any of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Conditions
Once a visa has been granted, migrants are permitted to:
- Work in the UK full time for their employer
- Bring an eligible partner, spouse, or children to the UK as dependants
- Apply to extend their visa
- Apply to settle in the UK after spending 5 years in the country
Visa holders in this category are not permitted to:
- Be self-employed or work for themselves
- Work for any business other than the employer stated in their application
- Access public funds or apply for most benefits
- Stay in the UK after the end of the sole representative arrangement
Extending a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
A Representative of an Overseas Business visa will usually be granted for an initial term of three years. Towards the end of this period, you may qualify to apply for a further two-year extension.
To qualify for a visa extension, you will need to be able to show that:
- You’re still working for the same employer as their representative in the UK
- You have established, and are supervising, a UK subsidiary or branch of their overseas business
- Your employer’s main place of business is still outside the UK
How We Can Help?
The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa provides overseas professionals with a convenient route to living, working and settling in the UK.
WH Solicitors’ highly experienced immigration lawyers can provide the help, advice, and support you need to secure visa clearance. Our practice is recognised by The Law Society, meaning we are permitted to assist with your application to make the process as smooth as possible.
For more information, help, and support, contact our team today by calling (+44) 01483 608 786 or by emailing email@example.com.
Representative of an Overseas Business Visa – FAQs
How long is a Representative of an Overseas Business visa valid for?
A Representative of an Overseas Business visa lasts for an initial period of three years. You may then be able to extend your stay for a further two years. You could be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (settled status) after spending five years in the country as the representative of an overseas business.
Can you switch to a Representative of an Overseas Business visa?
No – you cannot usually switch to a Representative of an Overseas Business visa. If you are considering switching visa categories whether from inside or outside of the UK, contact our team to gain a better understanding of your options.
Can I replace a previous Representative of an Overseas Business?
Yes, provided you meet the other eligibility criteria, you may be able to replace another representative of an overseas business if your employer has already started working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary.
Can you bring your family to the UK with a Representative of an Overseas Business visa?
Yes, representatives of an Overseas Business visa holders can bring their partner, spouse and/or children to the UK as dependants. They will typically need to prove their relationship with the Representative of an Overseas Business visa holder, and adults must provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country they have lived in for at least 12 months during the last 10 years – along with Tuberculosis testing certificates if they are coming from one of the countries listed on the following page of the government website.
Your spouse or partner cannot come to the UK as a dependant if they own or control a majority of the overseas business you will be representing.
The contents of this webpage are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice. All information is correct as of the date of publication, and any individual or organisation should be careful to seek qualified advice from a specialist immigration lawyer before acting on any of the topics referenced by this content.