Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
Complete Guide to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa UK is a visa category under the points-based system that allows you to live in the UK if you’re setting up, taking over, or actively involved in running a business in the UK.
You will need to apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK if you want to set up or run a business in the UK.
One of the major requirements of the Tier 1 visa category involves having access to funds of £50,000 or £200,000 (depending on your circumstances) to invest in your business in the UK.
In addition to the appropriate investment funds, you will also need to submit a business plan of your intended entrepreneurial activity and might be asked to show that you are a genuine entrepreneur.
You can apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain) after you have lived for five years on Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. There is also a possibility of accelerated settlement for entrepreneurs who create over ten full-time jobs and have business income of more than £5 million.
This guide is for those applying for the entry clearance or a leave to remain in the Tier 1 entrepreneur category. There are different requirements if you are applying for the extension of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK Requirements
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK Requirements
- Access to Investment Funds
- English Language Requirement
- Maintenance Funds Requirement
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirements Points
- Documents Required for Tier 1 Entrepreneur
- Genuine Entrepreneur Test
- Business plan for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
- Entrepreneurial Teams Applying for Tier 1
- Making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Application
You will need to fulfil the requirements under three major categories to qualify for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The major categories include;
- Access to Investment Funds
- English language
- Maintenance (funds)
Access to Investment Funds
This is the major requirement under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category as it fulfils 75 points out of 95 under the points-based system.
The requirements depend on whether you have access to investment funds of £50,000 or £200,000.
Requirements for £50,000 investment funds
You can apply for Tier 1 using the £50,000 investment funds if are you are able to secure funding from one of the following sources.
- Funds from a Department for International Trade (DIT) approved seed fund
- UK Government or devolved government department
- Venture capital fund registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
You can also make an application based on £50,000 of investment funds if you have already invested £50,000 in a UK business in the last 12 months.
Besides, if you were last granted, leave as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and are applying for leave to remain from within the UK, you can apply based on the 50,000 investment funds.
Requirements for £200,000 investment funds
You can apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur based on the investment funds of £200,000 available to invest in the UK business.
You will need to prove the investment funds are as following;
- Your own money
- Made available to you by third parties such as your spouse, partner or investor
- In joint account with your spouse or partner but they cannot be making the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa application
The investment funds are also subject to credibility following the evidence that you submit. There are different documents you need to submit depending on the way you fulfil the investment fund requirements.
English Language Requirement
You need to meet the English language requirement for the Tier 1 visa application. This includes either of the following.
- Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
- or Holding a degree taught in English, which is equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD.
Applicants from certain nations including 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 the USA will not have to meet the knowledge of English test requirement.
There are also other ways that you could meet the English language requirement. You immigration advisor at Edmans & Co can advise you of other ways you can meet the language requirements.
Maintenance Funds Requirement
In addition to your investment funds, you will need to meet requirements for the maintenance funds.
The maintenance requirement is to ensure Tier 1 applicants can support themselves while in the UK without the need for public funds.
You will receive 10 points for fulfilling the maintenance funds requirement. The funds should be separate to that of the investment points.
The maintenance requirement amount depends on whether you are applying for entry clearance or seeking further leave to remain in the UK.
- If you’re applying for entry clearance (from outside the UK), you should have at least £3,310 of savings held consecutively for 90 days before the date of your application.
- If you’re applying for further leave to remain (within the UK), you should have at least £945 of personal savings held for 90 consecutive days prior to the date of your application.
There are additional requirements to fulfil the maintenance requirements for dependants wishing to join you in the UK.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirements Points
As a points-based system application, you will need to score a total of 95 points to fulfil the requirements of the application.
Refer to the table below to see the requirements and points allocated to each requirement.
|Access to Investment Funds||25||Access to at least £200,000 investment funds OR having at least £50,000 from i) One or more registered venture capital firms or ii) One or more UK Entrepreneurial seed funding competitions or iii) One or more UK government departments|
|Money held in a regulated financial institution||25||Investment funds held in a regulated financial institution.|
|Money disposable in the UK (for entry clearance applicant); held in the UK (for leave to remain applicant)||25||Investment funds free to spend in the UK.|
|Meet English Language Requirements||10||English language equivalent to B1 level or above.|
|Meet maintenance funds requirements||10||Entry Clearance Applications: £3,310 of savings for 90 consecutive days; Further Leave to Remain: £945 of savings for 90 consecutive days|
Despite fulfilling all the criteria, the UKVI can still reject your application on the grounds of genuine entrepreneur test.
Documents Required for Tier 1 Entrepreneur
You will need to submit several documents to fulfil the above-discussed requirements for the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa.
The required documents can vary according to your circumstances and how you meet the requirements but you will generally need to submit the following documents for a successful application.
- Your current passport or other valid travel documents
- Evidence of investment funds of either 50,000 0r 200,000 (Bank statements or an official letter).
- Evidence of maintenance funds to support yourself while in the UK
- Business Plan with details of intended business activities
- Test certificate for fulfilling English language requirement (if required)
- Tuberculosis test results if your country is included in the list where you have to take the test
- Criminal record certificate from countries that you have stayed in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years
For those documents that aren’t in English or Welsh, you will also need to submit a certified translation. You will need to submit all the original copies of the documents unless specified.
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
You will also be subject to the genuine entrepreneur test carried internally by the UKVI. As part of the process, the UKVI can request additional information to support the assessment of the application.
Additionally, to establish your genuine entrepreneur intention, you might be asked to attend an interview. You must comply with the interview request and your application can be refused if you don’t comply without providing a reasonable explanation.
Please visit our Genuine entrepreneur test guide to learn more and how you can prepare for the interview process.
Business plan for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
You will also need to submit your detailed plan for the business that you intend to start in the UK. The business plan should specify your proposed business activities in the UK and how you intend to make it successful.
It’s recommended to submit a comprehensive business plan as it is one of the common reasons tier 1 visa refusals. Your business plan is scrutinized for the genuine entrepreneur test process.
Entrepreneurial Teams Applying for Tier 1
You can apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa as a part of an entrepreneurial team. The team cannot be of more than two members and both of the members should have equal status as owners or partners.
As an entrepreneurial team, both of you can claim points in this route for the same investments or available funds and business activity.
To apply as an entrepreneurial team you must meet the following requirements.
- Both members of the team should have equal control over the investment funds and the business as owners or partners.
- Both of you should mention details in each other’s applications and provide specified evidence.
- Neither of you should be previously granted leave as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant based on the same investment and related business activity.
Making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Application
The way you need apply to the UKVI for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa depends on whether you’re applying for entry clearance or leave to remain. In both cases, applications can be made online.
Applying for Entry Clearance – If you apply from overseas, you are applying for entry clearance and most of the applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur are made online.
Applying for Leave to Remain – If you apply inside the UK, you are applying for leave to remain and you must apply online using the form on Gov.UK website.
Of course, you will be fully assisted with the application including filling online forms and submitting required documents by your immigration lawyer at Edmans & Co.