This section explains how you can come to the United Kingdom as a sole representative of an overseas firm without a work permit. In most cases you will need a work permit and this section explains how you can apply for one if you need to. You are not allowed to switch into this category from another.
If you are outside the United Kingdom you will need entry clearance before entering the United Kingdom and you should see the visa services website. Permission to enter the United Kingdom under the sole representative of an overseas firm scheme will normally be granted for an initial period of two years. You will then be able to apply for an extension of stay for up to another three years. For further information on this see the further leave to remain pages.
To come to the United Kingdom as a sole representative of an overseas firm without a work permit you should:
To apply to come to the United Kingdom as a sole representative of an overseas firm you will need to provide the following:
You also need to show evidence that:
You should be establishing a commercial presence for the company in the United Kingdom in the form of a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary. You are expected to work full-time for one firm. You may not do business of your own or represent any other company's interests.
You must be able to demonstrate a very good track record in the same or closely related field of work, to show why you have been appointed.
If the company's circumstances change and you have been in the United Kingdom for two or more years, you may continue to stay here as a sole representative even if your company appoints a superior. You may also eventually qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) as long as you continue to fill a genuine vacancy and the company wishes to retain your services.
If more than one individual is required to enter the United Kingdom on behalf of the same company, it may be possible for the admitted sole representative, after arrival, to apply for a work permit for another senior or skilled employee to also enter.
Where either party terminates a sole representative arrangement, a replacement will normally have to apply for a work permit. Such applications can either be made by the outgoing representative or by a solicitor on behalf of the company.
How do I apply?
If you are already in the United Kingdom you will need to use the BUS application form and guidance, which you can easily download from the home office's website. You must read this guidance article before completing the application form.
The guidance gives details of the documents you will need to send with your application and important information on the photographs which you will also need to send with your application.
When you make your application you need to make sure that you apply before your existing permission to stay in the United Kingdom runs out. The date of application is the day you post your application. If the existing permission requires you to complete a certain period, in order to qualify for further or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, you shouldn't apply more than 28 days before you complete the relevant period.
Your application may be delayed or refused if you apply too early in a category in which you have to complete a set period, e.g. in categories leading to settlement in the United Kingdom.
Applying from outside the United Kingdom
If you are outside the United Kingdom you will need to apply for entry clearance before making your application.
You can also check with the British missions overseas to find out about ways in which you can apply for entry clearance.
If you would like a copy of the guidance notes in Braille, on audio tape and in large print, please write to:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
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