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Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

If you’re an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you may be eligible for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

For more information about UK work visas, including if you’re a foreign worker looking to come and work or settle in the UK, speak to one of our immigration advisers today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Overview of the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

    The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa allows employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies or broadcasting organisations to come to the UK if they’ve been posted on a long-term assignment.

    Note that this is a new visa route launched by the UK government in the summer of 2022 and was formerly known as the ‘Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation visa’.

    In addition to this, sole representatives who wish to open a UK branch of their overseas company or business will no longer be able to apply for Sole Representative visas. Instead, you must apply through the UK Expansion Worker visa under the Global Business Mobility category of visas.

    However, workers with existing permission as sole representatives on UK Sole Representative visas are still able to extend their stay and settle in the UK through this route.

    What Can I Do With a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?

    A Representative of an Overseas Business visa holder will be able to do the following:

    • Work for your employer full time in the UK
    • Bring your family members (also known as dependants) with you to the UK
    • Apply to extend your visa
    • Apply to permanently settle in the UK after you’ve been here for 5 years through indefinite leave to remain
    • Switch to this visa from inside the UK

    However, note that you will not be able to do the following:

    • Work for yourself or for any other business other than your employer
    • Claim public funds

    A Representative of an Overseas Business visa will initially allow you to stay in the UK for 3 years.

    After this time, you may then apply to extend your visa for another 2 years.

    However, you must still comply with the conditions and eligibility criteria of the visa itself.

    After you’ve been in the UK for a total of 5 years, you may apply for permanent settlement through indefinite leave to remain.

    Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Eligibility Criteria

    In order to apply for this visa, you must be an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation working on a mostly UK-based long-term assignment.

    Your employer must also have its headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK.

    In addition, you must also:

    • Have enough money to support yourself without having to access public funds
    • Meet the minimum English language requirement (if applicable)

    Most applicants for this visa will be journalists. However, other employees may also apply, such as the following:

    • Producers
    • News cameramen
    • Front-of-camera personnel

    However, note that secretaries and other administrative support staff will not qualify for this visa and must apply under an alternative immigration route.

    What is the Minimum English Language Requirement?

    You may have to prove that you meet the minimum English language requirement when you apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

    You may do this by either:

    • Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
    • Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by Ecctis as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

    However, you will not have to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

    Antigua and BarbudaDominicaSt Lucia
    AustraliaGrenadaSt Vincent and the Grenadines
    The BahamasGuyanaTrinidad and Tobago
    BarbadosJamaicaUSA
    BelizeNew Zealand
    CanadaSt Kitts and Nevis

    How To Apply For The UK Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

    You must apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    Here, you will fill in your personal details and details of your work and your employment.

    Note that the earliest you can apply for this visa is 3 months before your date of travel.

    As part of the application process, you will also have to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point in order to give your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and photograph.

    You will also be asked to supply a range of supporting documents with your application. To do this, you may either:

    • Upload them into the online service when you submit your application
    • Have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

    Note that you must not travel to the UK until you’ve received a decision on your application, otherwise it may be withdrawn.

    Documents Needed For The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Application

    You will need to provide the following documents with your application:

    • A current passport or other valid travel identification
      • You will need to ensure that you have a blank page in your passport where the visa will be placed
    • Evidence that you can support yourself and any dependants during your stay in the UK, such as bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
    • Proof that you meet the English requirement
    • Confirmation that you will be representing your employer in the UK in a long term, full-time role
    • Details of where you’ll be staying in the UK during your stay
    • Your tuberculosis test results, if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

    Note that this is not an exhaustive list. You may be asked to provide additional documents that are not listed here, depending on your circumstances.

    You will have to provide a certified translation of any document that is not in either English or Welsh.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

    Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Processing Time

    You should normally get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when applying from outside the UK.

    If applying from inside the UK, you will normally get a decision within 8 weeks.

    Note that your application may take longer if UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) need to contact you about your application, such as if:

    • Your supporting documents need to be verified
    • You need to attend an interview
    • Your personal circumstances need to be discussed, such as if you have a criminal conviction

    In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to pay to receive a faster decision on your visa application through UKVI’s priority processing service. However, note that this service may not be available in your country.

    How Much Does a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Cost?

    The Representative of an Overseas Business visa cost is £719 when applying from outside of the UK.

    If you’re applying from inside the UK, such as if you’re extending your visa or switching to this visa from another one, it will cost £827.

    Note that the same costs all also apply when you extend your existing visa.

    You must also pay the immigration healthcare surcharge as part of your application, which is £1,035 for every year you’ll be in the UK.

    How Can I Extend Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

    If you’re a Representative of an Overseas Business visa holder and you wish to extend your visa, you must apply online through the Gov.uk site.

    If your partner and children are with you in the UK as your dependents, they may also apply with you at the same time to extend their visa, or anytime before their visas expire.

    In order to extend your visa, you must already be in the UK as either:

    • A representative of an overseas business
    • An employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation

    Additionally, both of the following must apply:

    • You’re still working for the same employer as when you were issued your previous visa
    • Your employer’s principal place of business is still outside the UK

    If you’re a sole representative, you must also still be supervising the UK branch or subsidiary that you established for the overseas business.

    Your visa can be extended for another 2 years after your initial period of permission is granted. If your previous Representative of an Overseas Business visa was issued before 1 October 2009, you may be able to get an extension lasting 3 years.

    What Documents Do I Need to Provide When Extending my Visa?

    Sole Representatives

    When extending your visa as a sole representative, you must provide the following:

    • A full description of the UK business’s activities, including accounts, copies of invoices or letters from UK organisations you’ve worked with
    • A Companies House certificate of registration as a UK establishment (for a branch) or a certificate of incorporation (for a subsidiary)
    • Evidence that the UK business is wholly owned by the overseas business
    • A letter from your employer confirming you’re continuing work in the same role
    • Your salary details

    Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcast Employees

    When extending your visa as a newspaper, news agency or broadcast employee, you must provide the following:

    • A letter from your employer confirming you’re continuing work in the same role
    • Your salary details

    How Can I Bring My Family Members With Me to the UK?

    You will be able to bring your family members (otherwise known as dependents) with you to the UK with a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

    Dependents include the following:

    • Your husband, wife or partner
    • Your child under 18

    Note that if you’re a sole representative, your husband, wife or partner cannot be in the UK as your dependent if they own or control a majority of the overseas business you will be representing.

    Your family members must apply for their own visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    They may also have to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point in order to give their biometrics information in the form of their fingerprints and photograph.

    Your family members can also apply to or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK.

    They can either apply at the same time as you, or anytime before their current visa expires.

    Is It Possible To Switch From A Different Visa To The Representative of an Overseas Business Visa?

    If you’re already in the UK on another visa, you may be able to apply to switch to a Representative of an Overseas Business visa instead.

    In order to do so, you must be an employee of an overseas media organisation working on a long-term assignment in the UK.

    However, you cannot switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK on one of the following:

    • A visit visa
    • A short-term student visa
    • A Parent of a Child Student visa
    • A seasonal worker visa
    • A domestic worker in a private household visa
    • Immigration bail
    • Permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

    If any of the above apply to you, you must first leave the UK and apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa from outside the UK.

    Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:

    • The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
    • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months

    In order to switch to this visa, you must apply online through the Gov.uk website.

    Note that you must apply to switch before your current visa expires.

    You will normally receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks when applying to switch to a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

    How Can IAS Help?

    For those working for media or news organisations overseas, the Representative of an Overseas Business visa can be an important route to both securing work in the UK and eventually settling here permanently.

    If you’re an employee of an overseas media or news organisation and need to apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, IAS can help.

    We are experienced and professional immigration lawyers with a long history of working within UK immigration and business law.

    Whatever your circumstances, our expert immigration advisers can help. Whether you’re an overseas parent company looking to obtain a visa for an employee, a worker who’s been tasked with a long-term assignment in the UK, or if you’re simply uncertain about the eligibility criteria for this visa, we can help.

    We can also help if you’re in a sole representative arrangement or currently in the UK on the Sole Representative visa route, or if you’re a wholly owned subsidiary of a parent company with commercial presence in the UK.

    For more information about the services we provide and what we can do for you, reach out to us today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you need to prove your English language ability when applying for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you may need to do so by taking an approved English language test.

    If you’re in the UK, approved English language tests can only be found through the following providers:

    • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • LanguageCert
    • Pearson
    • Trinity College London

    If you’re outside of the UK, approved English language tests can only be found through the following providers:

    • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • LanguageCert
    • Pearson
    • PSI Services (UK) Ltd

    Note that you will have to pass your approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.

    Indefinite leave to remain is the UK’s term for permanent settlement.

    In most cases, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you’ve spent at least 5 years in the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.

    In addition, you must:

    • Have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period
    • Provide proof that your employer still needs you to do your job
    • Provide proof that you have established a UK-registered branch that is actively trading (if you’re a sole representative)
    • Have worked full-time for the overseas business or media organisation you represent, or the UK branch you have established, for the whole 5 years
    • Have established and supervised a UK branch of the overseas business (if you’re a sole representative)
    • Pass the Life in the UK Test
    • Meet the minimum English language requirements

    You must also not have undertaken work for any other business or engaged in business of your own during your 5 years in the UK.

    It may be the case that your current UK visa expires while your application for a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is being processed.

    In this instance, you will be allowed to stay in the UK while you wait for a decision on your application.

    However, you must have submitted your application before your current visa’s expiry date for this to be the case.

    You may be able to pay for a faster processing time when applying for your Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

    If this service is available to you in your country, it will cost £500 for the priority service, which will aim to process your application within 5 business days.

    Alternatively, you can pay £1,000 to pay for the super priority service, which will aim to process your application by the end of the next working day.

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