Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is an ideal visa category for business people who wish to set up a new business in the UK, or invest into growing an existing UK business.
There are 2 routes available, depending on your access to the level of investment funds of either £200,000 or £50,000.
- Who can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
- Overview of Requirements
- Investment Funds Requirement
- Genuine Entrepreneur Test
- English Language Requirement
- What documents are required?
- The Application Process
- Visa Extension & Visa Routes
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much do I need to invest to get residence in the UK under Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
- Is it possible to share the same investment funds with other Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants?
- Am I allowed to work on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
- Can I study on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
- Can I bring my family with me to the UK?
- What rights do my Family Dependents have in the UK if I hold Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
- Can I apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa while being present in the UK or do I have to apply in my country?
- How early can I apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
- How long can I stay in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
- How much will a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa cost?
- How long does it take to get a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
You can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa:
• With another person sharing the funds, as part of a Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Team
• To bring your Spouse or Partner, and Children under the age of 18
The UK is often regarded as one of the best places in the world for Entrepreneurs due to its business-friendly regulations and diverse workforce. There are two options available and the visa route depends on the level of investment funds and other relevant criteria.
What are the requirements to obtain a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
There are numerous requirements in order to obtain a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, depending on your personal and business circumstances. The following are some key requirements:
- You must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
- You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds from specific investment vehicles. Alternatively, you must have access to at least £200,000. In both cases, these funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and be free to spend on UK business.
- You must meet the English language requirement.
- You must be able to support yourself during your stay and your dependents if any. You will need to show that you have adequate personal savings for 90 consecutive days before your application.
- You must be at least 16 years old.
- You must provide a clear business plan.
- You might need to attend an interview at the Home Office or Embassy.
As a QC Immigration client, you will benefit from our thorough guide for any interview, document checks and ongoing advice.
You have access to £50,000 in investment funds from one or more of the following:
• a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by the Department for International Trade (DIT)
• a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
• a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
• you can also apply if you’ve already invested £50,000 in a UK business. You must have invested the funds less than 12 months before you apply.
More details about this type of investment funds can be found in our blog post titled, How do you prove the investment funds in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications?
If you have access to £200,000 in investment funds and you can prove that the money is either:
• your own
• made available to you by other people (‘third parties’), such as a spouse, partner or investor
• in a joint account with your spouse or partner but only if they aren’t applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
The investment funds can be held in one or more bank accounts from one or more regulated banks or financial institutions such as venture capital firm. It should be held in cash and liquid, so that it can be freely withdrawn to spend or dispose on a business in the UK.
Note: If you have invested some or all of the £200,000 in a UK business, you must have invested the funds for less than 12 months before you apply.
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
You are expected to justify a business plan and may be interviewed. The business must be:
• A new business or an existing UK business
• Relevant to your experience or qualifications
• Any business where there is a gap in the market, except property investment, property development and property management
More tips about the Genuine Entrepreneur Test interview can be found in our blog post titled, The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa interview: What you need to know.
You would need to provide evidence for self-sufficiency. In addition to the above investment funds, you would need to show additional cash funds held in your account for over 90 days.
You need to pass an English language test, unless you have a UK degree or a qualifying degree taught in English. More details about how to meet the English Language requirement are explained in our blog post titled, Proving your English knowledge when applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.
What documents are required for UK visa?
Generally, the documents a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicant will need to include but are not limited to the below:
- Current passport or other valid travel identification
- Evidence of investment funds available to them
- Business plan
- Evidence of ability to support themselves financially during their stay
- Proof of meeting the English language requirement
- Tuberculosis medical certificate if they are from a country where they are required to take the test
- Criminal record certificate from any country they have stayed in for more than one year in the last ten years
- Other relevant documents
The Application Process
From outside the UK
If you are applying from outside the UK, you must apply online. You will be required to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application in order to obtain a biometric residence permit which is part of your application. Thereafter, you will have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you initially stated that you would arrive in the UK.
You will be able to apply while being in the UK if you switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. You will be able to switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you are already in the UK under one of the following categories:
• Tier 1 Visa (General)
• Tier 1 Visa (Investor)
• Tier 1 Visa (Graduate entrepreneur)
• Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
• Tier 2 Visa
Additionally, you can also switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa if you have specific types of funding and you are on Tier 1 (General) or Tier 4.
From the UK
You may apply online. You also need to provide your fingerprints and a photo (biometric information) for your biometric residence permit.
Visa Extension & Visa Routes
Second Extension application
Before your First Initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa expires, you should apply for the Extension Visa. You will need to demonstrate that you have:
• Registered as self-employed or director of a UK company within 6 months of initial visa granted
• Invested the £200,000 or £50,000 funds
• Created 2 new full-time jobs
Further information that explains how to meet the Job Creation criteria can be found in our blog post titled, Tier 1 Entrepreneur – Job Creation.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur (Extension) Visa would normally be granted for 2 years and you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain before it expires.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Indefinite Leave to Remain would be the final visa once you complete all requirements under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route.
You can apply for ILR:
a) After 5 years if you:
• Created 2 new full-time jobs
b) After 3 years if you:
• Registered as self-employed or director of a UK company within 6 months of initial visa granted; and
o Created 10 new full-time jobs, or
o Your business has had an income (new business) / net increase of income (existing business) of at least £5 million during your time as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant
You cannot have spent more than 180 days outside the UK during any consecutive 12 months. Be sure to read our blog post, 6 Tips For A Successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applicant.
A subsequent British Citizenship application is the final option available although at this stage it is possible to remain via your ILR. If your Naturalisation application is successful, you may qualify for a British Passport.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do I need to invest to get residence in the UK under Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
You have to invest at least £200,000 or £50,000 if the funds come from specific investment vehicles.
Can I share the same investment funds with other Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants?
You can share the same investment funds with only one other Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicant. This can be done by forming an Entrepreneurial Team of two Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants.
Can I work on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
You can work for your business, including being self-employed or Director of a company. To fulfil the purpose of this visa, you are usually not allowed to take full-time employment in another company.
Can I study on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
You can study on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, although it should not be your main activity which is to carry out your business. You might need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in relation to your course/research and present it to your institution prior to commencing your studies.
Can I bring my family with me to the UK?
Your family members (partner or child under 18) can join you as a Points-Based System Dependent.
What rights do my Family Dependents have in the UK if I hold Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
If you are on Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, your family members (dependants) have the right to undertake most employment (with the exception of Doctor or Dentist in Training unless certain conditions apply), self-employment and be a professional sportsperson.
They can also study at both private and state school or university, but they may need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS). Additionally, they can be self-sufficient in the UK.
They cannot claim public funds.
How early can I apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
The earliest you can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is 3 months prior to traveling to the UK.
Can I apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa while being present in the UK or do I have to apply in my country?
You can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa while being in the UK if you have a valid UK visa that allows you to switch to Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, please see here if you qualify https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-entrepreneur/switch-to-this-visa. Otherwise, you will need to apply from your home country. At QC Immigration, we can help with planning your timeline and prepare your application in advance.
How long can I stay in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
You can come to the UK with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. You can apply to extend the visa for another 2 years if you are already in this category and 3 years if you are switching to it from another category. Additionally, you might be able to apply for Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) once you have been in the UK for 5 years.
How much will a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa cost?
The current Home Office fees will depend on where you are and the way you apply:
|Who you’re applying for||Apply online or by post||Apply in person outside the UK|
|You (if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia)||£1,222||£966|
|All dependants||£1,277 each person||£1,021 each person|
You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application which is currently £400 a year. The Home Office has proposed an increase from December 2018 onwards.
How long does it take to get a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
A decision on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can take at least a week. You can check the Home Office guide processing times to find out how long obtaining a visa might take in your country here https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times
Looking for more tips and advice? See these blog posts for more information:
There is also more information on entrepreneurs available on the Home Office official website.
How can QC Immigration can help?
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application, please call 02036378633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today. Our fee is fixed and affordable.
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