UK-Tier-1-Entrepreneur-Visa

The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – Overview

The entrepreneur category is geared toward business people who want to set up or run businesses in the UK, and have access to at least £200,000 (or in some cases £50,000) in disposable investment funds that are held in one or more regulated financial institutions in the UK.

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With the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa you can:

  • Establish or take over one or more businesses
  • Work for your business / be self-employed
  • Bring your family with you to the UK
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You cannot:

  • Seek employment or work outside your business
  • Receive public funding
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With the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you are allowed to reside in the UK for up to 3 years and 4 months. Once this time has elapsed, you can apply to extend the visa for an additional 2 years.

You can apply for British citizenship after 6 years (5 years of residency and 1 year after an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

More detailed qualifications for this program and UK citizenship by investment are described below.

Qualifications & Conditions to Apply

In addition to the investment requirements, there are other qualifications and conditions that applicants must meet in order to apply to the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Program.

To qualify as an applicant, you must:

  • Be 16 or older

  • Meet the English proficiency language requirement (detailed below)

  • Be able to fully support yourself while in the UK

  • Score 95 points (see the breakdown here)

  • Have access to at least £200,000 or £50,000 in investment funds (details below)

  • Demonstrate the source of funds

  • Provide a business plan

  • Prove to the Home Office via evidence and an interview that you have the intention and means to establish and participate in a business in the UK per the conditions of the Tier 1 Visa

Funding Qualifications

 

There are different eligibility requirements depending on whether you have access to £200,000 or £50,000 in investment funds.

£200,000

You must be able to prove that the funds are:

  • Your own
  • Put under your control by a third party (spouse, partner, investor)
  • In a joint account with your spouse/partner who is not applying for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa

You can also apply if you’ve previously invested £200,000 in a UK business within 12 months of applying.

£50,000

The funds must be from:

  • A UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by the Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • A UK government department
  • A venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

You can also apply if you’ve already invested the £50,000 in a UK business within 12 months of applying.

Regardless of which funding amount is available to you, the funds must be:

  • Held in regulated financial institutions
  • Available to spend freely on business in the UK

Joint Applications for Entrepreneurial Teams

You can form an entrepreneurial team with one other Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicant and share investment funds.

You and your partner must meet all the application requirements, and you cannot use the same investment funds on another application with a different entrepreneurial team.

English Language Requirement

Valid methods of proving your English skills include:

  1. Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and
  2. Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

There are other ways to meet the English language requirement. Please see the full visa guidance for detailed information.

You won’t need to demonstrate knowledge of English if you’re a citizen of one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and USA.

Switching from other types of UK Visas

You can switch to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa if you are currently on certain types of UK Visas. We’ve provided a list of eligible visa types below. The funding rules vary with each one, so please contact us for specific details if this scenario applies to you.

General Tier 1

Graduate Entrepreneur - Tier 1

Post-study worker – Tier 1

Former student - Tier 4

Application process and list of required documents

The application process for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa program is thorough, yet efficient.

Key Application Information:

  • The application fee varies depending on your situation, location and how you apply. Please see the breakdown below.
  • There is a healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
  • You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photo taken at a visa application center to get a biometric residence permit. You must get this permit within 10 days of when you plan to arrive in the UK.
  • Forms can be submitted online or via mail up to 3 months before traveling to the UK.
  • Application processing time is approximately 3 weeks.
  • You’ll need a double-sided blank page in your passport for your visa.
  • Required documents must be in English or Welsh.

Fee breakdown:

Apply in person outside the UK: £982/ From Turkey or Macedonia £927

Apply online or by mail: £1,228 / From Turkey or Macedonia £1,173

Documents you’ll need to provide :

  • A current passport or other valid travel identification
  • Evidence of the investment funds available to you
  • A business plan
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your stay
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • Your tuberculosis test results (if applicable)

You’ll need a certified translation for any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances

Proof of investment funds :

Since the Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Visa has many different funding options, the required evidence depends on the source and location of the funds. Please see required proof based on each situation below:

Your own money in a UK financial institution

From each institution holding the funds, provide either a personal bank or building society statement, or an official letter.

Funding from UK government department or seed funding competition

You must provide an official letter from an accountant or authorized official from either the UK government department or Department for International Trade endorsed seed funding competition that is awarding the funds.

Funding from another third party

If you’re using money from a third party (not a UK government department or seed funding competition), you must provide:

  • an official letter from an accountant or the financial institution holding the money
  • a letter from the third party confirming the money is available for you to invest in a UK business
  • a letter from a legal representative (different from those providing funds) certifying the signatures on the confirmation are valid

If your funding is from a venture capital firm, you must also provide:

  • an original letter from its director, partner or fund manager
  • a term sheet signed by all parties
  • proof that it has carried out checks and followed due diligence

Evidence that you can support yourself

You must prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while residing in the UK.

How you prove this depends on where you’re applying from:

  • outside the UK - £3,310
  • in the UK - £945

Your personal savings must have been in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.

You can’t use either of the following to support yourself:

  • money from your investment funds
  • money earned while working in the UK illegally
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The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas provides a wonderful opportunity to reside and ultimately gain citizenship in the UK. Contact us for details.

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