If you are a senior employee of a business located outside the UK which has no UK presence, you may be able to come to the UK as the ‘representative of an overseas business’ in order to set up a representative or branch office in the UK on behalf of the parent company.

The parent company must intend to continue to keep its headquarters and principal place of business overseas. Any legitimate trading company can send a senior employee to the UK on this visa but if the parent company has been established for less than a year a thorough business plan will be required and the application will be subject to deeper scrutiny.


The representative must be a senior employee and should have been working for the company for a significant period. A new employee can be recruited outside the UK for this purpose but they must be able to demonstrate a track record of having set up similar entities for other companies. The representative must have authority to act for and take operational decisions in the UK on behalf of the parent company.

The representative must not be a majority shareholder in the parent company.

The representative must provide specified documents from the parent company proving his or her position and the parent company’s sponsorship. They must also be able to show they would have adequate accommodation in the UK and would be able to adequately maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.

Representative of an overseas business applicants need to meet the English language requirement by either being a national of a majority English-speaking country, holding a degree taught in English recognised as equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or showing an English language ability to level A1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) by means of an approved English test certificate.

A representative of an overseas business visa will be granted for three years and an applicant can extend their stay in the UK if they can show they have generated business in the UK on behalf of the parent company. After five years, an applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain (subject to the ILR criteria).

Representatives of an overseas business can bring their family members to the UK as their dependants.

Our overseas representative lawyers can assist with all stages of the process and fully prepare the application on behalf of the client. We will advise on the merits at the outset and make clear the legal and evidential requirements so that the application is set up on the best footing from the very start. We of course advise on all the supporting documents and evidence required and take the client through the immigration process from start to finish.

We can assist with templates for documents specified by the Rules and deal with third parties where necessary and we aim to make the whole process as smooth as possible. If there are any issues in your immigration matter you will know before applying and we can help best overcome them. In short, we prevent mistakes and ensure any application meets the requirements of the Immigration Rules. We are here to help you safely navigate your way through the UK immigration process.