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UK Sole Representative Visa: ILR for Zero Investment

The moment comes when almost every entrepreneur starts thinking about entering the international market. To do that, they often need to open a subsidiary abroad. The United Kingdom is a popular destination. Apart from resolving the legal issues connected with registration and preparation of necessary documents, it is also required to appoint a manager of a new subsidiary. If you have worked in the company for the required period of time as a top manager, you have all the chances to become a sole representative of a UK subsidiary. You will get a Sole Representative visa that allows not only to work in the UK, but also to relocate here with your family.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa was created in 1971 to attract foreign companies to the UK. Its main advantage is that an applicant does not have to make any investment or pay for the visa. The costs are covered by the parent company. In addition, if you actively develop your subsidiary, you and your family will be able to apply for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in a few years and then, for UK citizenship and passport.

This article explains what advantages a Sole Representative visa offers, how you can get it and what you need to apply for ILR and citizenship after a certain period of time.

Advantages of UK Sole Representative Visa

A Sole Representative visa has the following advantages:

1. An applicant for the UK Sole Rep visa makes no personal investment. All the costs of opening a subsidiary are covered by the parent company.

2. Unlike other British entrepreneur visas, a Sole Representative visa does not require any investment into British economy (for example, to get an Innovator visa, you need to invest at least £50,000 into a new business).

3. If you have a Sole Representative visa, your spouse or civil partner and children can also relocate to the UK.

4. A Sole Representative visa does not only allow you to live and work in the UK, but also manage the subsidiary that will grow and develop. 

5. As a sole representative in the UK, you can stay here for good. In five years, you and your family will be able to apply for ILR; in a year after that, for naturalisation.

Who Can Become Sole Representative?

Not every top manager can obtain a UK Sole Representative visa. To become a sole representative, you need to fulfil the following requirements:

  • As a candidate for the sole representative position, you must have relevant education and experience of managing a company.
  • You must be a top manager for at least half a year. If no top manager in the company meets the requirements, you can become a sole representative in the UK provided you have sufficient experience.
  • You must be a trustworthy representative of the parent company since you will get the right to make independent decisions concerning the operation and development of the subsidiary. 
  • You, as a main applicant, and your spouse cannot possess more than 50% of the parent company.
  • Your salary must be enough to rent a flat in the UK, pay utility bills and taxes, as well as support yourself and your family during the whole period of your stay in the country. It is important because you won’t be able to apply for government support.
  • You must have at least an elementary level of English (A1 according to European classification). You will have to pass a special test to prove it.
  • You must be of good health and test negative for tuberculosis.

UK Sole Representative visa has some limitations. For example, you won’t be able to change your job or launch a new business that operates independently from the parent company.

Requirements for Parent Company

If you want to open a subsidiary in the UK, the parent company must meet several requirements. While applying for a Sole Representative visa, the company must provide the UK authorities with the following documents:

  • Business plan outlining how the UK subsidiary will be developed
  • Documents proving that it has sufficient financial assets
  • Letter explaining the reasons for opening a subsidiary in the UK
  • Documents confirming that it was registered and started operating at least a year ago
  • Confirmation that the business won’t be fully transferred to the UK.

Documents to Get UK Sole Representative Visa 

If you and your parent company meet all the requirements for opening and managing a subsidiary in the UK, next step is to prepare necessary documents. It is a long and complicated process that requires correct preparation of documents belonging to the company and the potential sole representative.

List of Documents for Sole Representative

  1. Original passport or any other form of ID
  2. Application form that contains reliable information about the applicant and is filled in in accordance with all the rules
  3. Documents confirming that an applicant has bank accounts and bank statements with sufficient resources to support themselves and their family in the UK.

List of Documents for Parent Company

  1. Documents listing all the owners of the company
  2. Bank statements, tax and other financial reports
  3. Letter confirming that it was decided to open a subsidiary in the UK
  4. Documents confirming that a subsidiary was opened in the UK
  5. Link to the official website
  6. Links to various resources (including social media) where it is possible to learn more about the company and its activities
  7. Letter with the information about the appointed sole representative. It must include the period of time that the candidate has worked in the parent company
  8. Confirmation from the parent company that the chosen candidate for the sole representative position will manage the UK subsidiary. The document must also confirm the sole representative’s right to make independent decisions on managing the subsidiary.

Sole Representative Visa Processing

An application for a Sole Representative visa is processed for a long time. Before it can be submitted, a large number of documents for the applicant and the parent company must be prepared thoroughly. To avoid mistakes and any risks of refusal, it is better to get professional help from the immigration advisors.

It roughly takes 4–8 weeks to register a subsidiary in the UK, collect all necessary documents and prepare and submit an application. After the application is submitted, you will need to wait for three weeks till it is processed. If immigration authorities have no questions, you will get a Sole Representative visa that will be valid for three years.

Extending UK Sole Representative Visa

After three years when your Sole Representative visa expires you can extend it for two more years. It is possible if:

  • You remain a sole representative of the UK subsidiary
  • The UK subsidiary offers the same services as the parent company
  • You can prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your family for two more years of stay in the UK without any government support.

As a result, a sole representative can live and work in the UK on a Sole Representative visa for five years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

After five years of work in the UK on a Sole Representative visa, you will be able to apply for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR). For this, you need to fulfil the following requirements:

  • You must be the only sole representative of the UK subsidiary and have no plans to change the job;
  • You must be absent from the UK for less than 180 days in any consecutive 12 months of your five-year stay in the UK;
  • You and all adults in your family who also apply for ILR must pass an English test to confirm at least B1 level according to European classification and the Life in the UK test.

An application for ILR is processed within 4–8 weeks. Dependants who are added to the application get ILR automatically. Dependants can be minor children and children who have turned 18 during five years of the main applicant’s stay in the UK on a Sole Representative visa and who are financially dependent on them.

UK Citizenship

You can become a UK citizen after six years of your arrival to the UK on a Sole Representative visa, including a year of living here as a settled person.

To get a British passport for you and your family, you must apply for naturalisation. Your application will be approved if:

  • You have been absent from the UK for less than 450 days in the last five years of your stay in the UK and for less than 90 days in the last year;
  • You have no administrative or criminal offences;
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test;
  • You can speak English fluently that is confirmed by a special test.

Your application for British citizenship will be processed within 30–45 days. After that, if it is approved, you and your family will get a certificate of naturalisation and then, will be able to obtain UK passports. 

It is difficult to get a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa without any professional assistance since you must not only collect the required documents, but also prepare them correctly, as well as register your subsidiary in the UK.

With Imperial & Legal, you will be able to get a UK Sole Representative visa, and then potentially citizenship, in six steps:

  1. Contact Imperial & Legal immigration advisors who have years of experience of applying for entrepreneur visas and offer professional assistance with any immigration-related issue, including registering a UK company, opening a bank account, accounting services and even tax planning. Our advisors will explain in details the peculiarities of UK Sole Representative visa, summarise the requirements, analyse your case and prepare the contract.
  2. After you sign the contract with Imperial & Legal, our immigration advisors will compile a list of documents that you will need to apply for a Sole Representative visa, help to prepare them correctly, have the documents professionally translated into English, draft necessary letters, write a cover letter, and fill in all forms in accordance with the immigration rules.
  3. Once you obtain a Sole Representative visa, you can go to the UK with your family. Our expects will help you to find a flat and a school for your children and solve all the issues concerning relocation to the UK.
  4. If you need to extend your visa, our immigration advisors will be glad to assist. At first, they will check whether all the requirements are met, then help to prepare, translate and notarise all the documents. They will also fill in and submit all the required online forms.
  5. After five years of stay in the UK on a Sole Representative visa, our experts will help you to collect and submit all the documents confirming that you and your business comply with the requirements and you are eligible to apply for ILR in the UK. Our specialists will also count how many days you have been absent from the UK and arrange for you to take a language test and the Life in the UK test.
  6. After a year of stay in the UK with ILR, Imperial & Legal advisors will help you prepare necessary documents and apply for UK citizenship. When the application is approved, our specialists will schedule the citizenship ceremony where you will swear an oath or pledge allegiance. After the ceremony, you will get your certificate of naturalisation. You can use it then to apply for UK passports for yourself and your family. Our advisors will be glad to help you in this matter as well.

 

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