Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

representative of overseas business visa

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The Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation visa — also commonly referred to as a Representative of an Overseas Business visa — is a visa for employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies or broadcasting organisations who are being posted by their employer on long-term assignments to the UK.

In they guide, we explain what the visa is, who is eligible and how to apply.

 

What is the Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

With a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you will be allowed to come to the UK to work in the media role for which your visa was sought. You will be able to stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years, although you may be able to extend your visa for another 2 years.

Under this visa, you will not be permitted to work for any other business or for yourself. You will also not be allowed to claim state benefits or public funds while you are in the UK.

The visa is limited to use in certain media roles. You must be an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation and you must be being posted on a long-term assignment to the UK.

If you are applying as a representative of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK, and you are coming to the UK to set up its first branch or subsidiary, you should instead apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa.

 

Eligibility requirements for representatives of an overseas business

A person applying as a Representative of an Overseas Business must either be a Media Representative or applying for an extension or settlement as a Sole Representative.

A Media Representative is an employee of an overseas media organisation posted to the UK on long-term assignment, while a Sole Representative is a senior employee of an overseas business who has been assigned to the UK for the purpose of establishing a new branch or subsidiary.

To be eligible for entry clearance on the Representative of an Overseas Business visa route, you must be coming to the UK as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation on a long-term assignment. This is because initial applications can no longer be made as a Sole Representative on the Representative of an Overseas Business route, although a Sole Representative can apply to extend their stay in the UK.

If you are already in the UK, you can apply to switch to this visa if you are an employee of an overseas media organisation, including newspapers or broadcasters, and working on a long-term assignment in the UK. You can also apply to switch into this visa category if you are currently in the UK on a Student visa and you have completed the course you were sponsored to study or have completed at least 24 months of a PhD.

You cannot switch to this visa if you are a Sole Representative of an overseas business, although you will be eligible to apply to stay in the UK as a Sole Representative who already has, or was last granted, permission in this capacity. In this context, you must continue to be a senior employee of an overseas business assigned to the UK to establish and supervise a branch or subsidiary which will actively trade in the same type of business.

To be eligible for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you must be aged 18 or over and coming to the UK as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation on a long-term assignment. You must also have enough money to support yourself without help from UK public funds and meet an English requirement.

Under the rules, these requirements can be broken down into:

  • the work requirement
  • the genuineness requirement
  • the financial requirement
  • the English language requirement.

 

Work requirement

Under the work requirement, the overseas business or media organisation that you represent must be active and trading outside of the UK, with its headquarters and principal place of business remaining overseas. Additionally, you must have been recruited and taken on as an employee outside of the UK by the business that you will be representing.

You must intend to work full-time as the representative of this business in the UK, and must not intend to undertake work for any other business or to engage in a business of your own.

 

Genuineness requirement

Under the genuineness requirement, the Home Office must be satisfied that you are a genuine representative of an overseas business. This essentially means that the Home Office caseworker deciding your application must not have reasonable grounds to believe that the business is being established in the UK by the overseas business or media organisation — or that you have been appointed as a representative of that business — mainly so that you can apply for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK on this visa route.

 

English language requirement

Under the English language requirement, you will need to demonstrate an English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages in speaking and listening of at least level A1. You can prove your knowledge of English by:

  • having an academic qualification taught in English and recognised as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, or
  • passing an approved English language test to the required standard.

However, you will not be required to prove your knowledge of English if you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, such as Australia or the USA.

 

Financial requirement

Under the financial requirement, you must be able to show that you can adequately maintain and accommodate yourself, and any dependants, without access to public funds.

 

How to apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa

To apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you will need to file an online application on the Home Office website. You will also need to prove your identity and submit a number of documents in support, including a current passport or another type of travel document.

Additional evidence in support will include:

  • a full description of your employer’s activities, including details of any assets and accounts
  • confirmation that you will be representing that company or organisation in the UK in a long-term and full-time role
  • proof that you meet the English language requirement to the requited standard
  • evidence that you can support yourself and any dependants during your stay, for example, payslips or bank statements for the last 6 months
  • details of where you will be staying during your stay, if applying from overseas
  • your tuberculosis test results, if you are from a country where you have to take the test.

 
You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

As part of the application process, in addition to proving your identity and providing supporting documentation, you may need to schedule an appointment to enrol your biometric information. This will include a scan of your fingerprints and a digitised photo of your face. You will be told if you need to schedule an appointment when you apply. If you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to make an appointment at an overseas visa application centre. If you are applying from the UK, your appointment will take place at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.

The cost to apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa will depend on whether you are applying from overseas or to switch from a different visa category from within the UK. From 4 October 2023, if you apply from outside the UK, the fee is £719. If you apply from inside the UK, the fee is £827.

You will also need to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge as part of your application to allow you to access the UK’s National Health System.

 

How long does the application processing take?

You should get a decision on your Representative of an Overseas Business visa within 3 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK, or within 8 weeks if you are applying from inside the UK. You can stay in the UK until you have been given a decision on your visa application, provided you apply for this visa before your last visa expires.

 

Can you bring dependants on the Representative of an Overseas Business route?

It is possible for a partner and dependent children to apply on the Representative of an Overseas Business route to accompany or join you in the UK. If your partner or child’s application is successful, their visa will usually end on the same date as yours.

To be eligible for a dependant visa on this route, a partner or dependent child must meet a qualifying relationship requirement and a financial requirement. However, if you are in the UK as a Sole Representative, your partner cannot be in the UK as a dependant if either they own and/or control a majority of the overseas business you are representing.

If you are applying to switch to the Representative of an Overseas Business visa, your partner or child’s existing visa will not automatically switch to this visa. If they do not apply to switch their visa, it will be valid until its specified end date, where they can either apply at the same time as you or at any time before their existing visa expires.

 

Can you renew a Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

The initial grant of leave under a Representative of an Overseas Business visa will be for up to 3 years, although you may be able to extend your visa for up to 2 years, so long as you apply prior to expiry of your existing visa and continue to meet the relevant requirements. This means that you must still be working for the same employer as when you were issued your last visa and your employer’s principal place of business must still be outside the UK.

If you are applying to extend your stay as a Sole Representative on the Representative of an Overseas Business route, you must be able to show that you:

  • have established and registered the new branch or subsidiary of the overseas business that you were sent to the UK to represent
  • are engaged in full-time employment and responsible for supervising the new branch or wholly-owned subsidiary that you have established in the UK
  • are required by your employer to continue in your UK-based role
  • do not have a majority stake in, or otherwise own and/or control a majority of the overseas business that you represent.

 
In either scenario, you must be in the UK to extend your visa. You will also need detailed documentation in support to show that the extension requirements have been met. You will also be liable to pay the healthcare surcharge for the duration of your period of leave.

 

Does the Representative of an Overseas Business route lead to settlement?

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa is a route to settlement. This means that after you have lived in the UK for a period 5 years in a row, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, also known as settlement.

To be eligible to apply for ILR on this route, you must have an ongoing job with the same company. You must also satisfy a more advanced English language requirement to at least least CEFR level B1, as well as a knowledge of life in the UK requirement. This may mean taking an additional English language test. You will also need to take a Life in the UK test.

 

Representative of an overseas business visa FAQs

What is a Foreign Media Representative visa UK?

A Foreign Media Representative visa is for employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies or broadcasting organisations who are being posted on long-term assignments to the UK. This is known under the rules a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

What is Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

A Representative of an Overseas Business visa is the permission from the UK Home Office needed by an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation who is coming to the UK on a long-term assignment.

Who is eligible for Sole Representative visa in the UK?

Initial applications can no longer be made as a Sole Representative on the Representative of an Overseas Business route, although a sole representative already in the UK can apply to extend their stay or to settle.

How long does it take to get a UK Representative of an Overseas Business visa?

If you apply from outside the UK for, you should get a decision on your Representative of an Overseas Business visa within 3 weeks, while an application made to switch from in the UK could take up to 8 weeks.

Last updated: 21 September 2023

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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