Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is designed to enable entrepreneurs to come to the UK in order to establish or join a business.
In order to qualify for an initial Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:
- they are a genuine entrepreneur meaning they have a credible business plan and the relevant skills/experience to successfully establish or join a business;
- they have access to at least £200,000* to invest in the business;
- they meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR);
- they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves; and
- they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.
It is also possible to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category if you are already in the UK under Tier 1, 2 or 4 of the points-based system.
*Minimum investment funds of £50,000 can be used:
- if provided by a registered venture capitalist firm, UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or UK Government Department; or
- if the applicant is currently in the UK with leave under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post Study Work) routes.
Length and conditions of stay in the UK
Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. Those who are eligible to switch into this category from inside the UK will be granted an initial period of leave of 3 years.
Applicants may apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 2 years providing they meet a number of strict requirements including the following:
- they have formally registered as a director of a business or as a self-employed person within 6 months of either entering the UK or being granted permission to stay in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur);
- they have created at least two full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months;
- they have invested the required funds into the business or businesses in the UK; and
- they are able to demonstrate that they continue to be a genuine entrepreneur.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) status for a period of at least 5 years*. In order to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, applicants must demonstrate that they continue to meet the requirements as listed above.
Applicants must also demonstrate that:
- they have spent a continuous period of 5 years* in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
- they have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days in any of the qualifying years relied on for the application; and
- they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test.
*Applicants may qualify for accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years if they have created 10 new jobs or their business received at least £5 million in income from business activity throughout the 3 years.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applications: How we can help
The Home Office will carefully scrutinise applications under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. If it does not consider that the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur or if it considers that any of the other requirements have not been met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore essential that the application is prepared thoroughly and carefully.
We are experienced in preparing Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications to ensure a successful outcome and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
For further advice, please contact us.