Apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
Need help applying for your Tier 1 Entrepeneur Visa? Master Legal Services prioritizes your needs and provides the best immigration advice for your particular circumstance. For further information, feel free to contact our office to speak to an expert on 020 8935 5205 or via Whatsapp on 07710987064.
In the meantime, continue reading for further information about the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa programme.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applications
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route allows non-EEA nationals to set up, takeover or become a director of a business in the UK. An entrepreneur must either have access to £200,000 from a variety of sources or £50,000 from very specific sources.
When can I apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
The earliest you can apply for the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is three months before you intend to travel. Remember that, with regards to the maintenance requirement side of things, you should show your savings have been in your account for 90 consecutives days before you make your application.
- Generally speaking, you should get a decision on your application within three weeks of submitting it.
- You can come to the UK with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for a maximum of three years and four months.
- You can extend your status for another two years if you’re already in the same visa category, subject to eligibility. If you are switching from another visa category to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you can extend your status for three years.
- You could also apply for settlements- or ‘indefinite leave to remain’ once you’ve been in the UK for five years.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – General
You are required to score 95 points to be eligible for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. You can score points for having access to the £200,000 or £50,000, having the funds held in a regulated financial institution and whether the funds are available to use in the UK. You also score further points for meeting the relevant English language requirement and having the relevant amount of maintenance available. The funds can also be shared between two individuals who can form an Entrepreneurial Team. As an Entrepreneurial Team you will need to make two separate applications but you can use the same documents in relation to the business and the funds.
You must also have an effective business plan that will not only show how the funds will be used but also one that will evidence how genuine the business is and how it will meet the relevant immigration rules. Your business plan will have to explain how you will invest the money and how the business will create two full time jobs for settled workers that will last for 12 months.
If you are successful with the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa application you will be granted leave to remain for 3 years and 4 months. You can then extend this visa for a further 2 years. An entrepreneur can apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years of being in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category. If certain requirements are met, and entrepreneur could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave after just 3 years through Accelerated Settlement.
If you are in the UK with valid leave, you can switch into this category only if you are currently in one of these categories:
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur);
- Tier 1 (Investor);
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur);
- Tier 2;
- Tier 4 student – Special requirements apply;
- Highly Skilled migrant;
- Tier 1 Post-Study Work – Special requirements apply;
- Tier 1 General – Special requirements apply;
- a visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur.
If you do not fall into one of the above categories and meet the relevant requirements then you need to apply from outside the UK.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – £50,000 Route
An entrepreneur will need to show that they have access to the sum of £50,000 from any of the following bodies:
- one or more UK Seed Funding Competitions, listed as endorsed on the Department for International Trade (DIT) pages of the GOV.UK website; or
- one or more UK Government Departments, or Devolved Government Departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and made available by the Department(s) for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK
- one or more registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – £200,000 Route
You must show that you have access to £200,000 to use in the UK for the business. If you are applying from within the UK the funds must be held in the UK. The funds can be your own personal money or it can be from a third party. An Applicant will have to show that they have held the funds in their account for at least 3 months before the application. However if the funds are made available to the Applicant through as third party then the time restriction does not apply as long as the third party confirms that the funds are available to the Applicant to use for the business.
Under the current Immigration Rules, you must have access to the investment funds of not less than £200,000 (or £50,000 in certain limited circumstances- Read More). These funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and available for you to use. Many people often overlook the other financial requirements of this application:
You need to be able to show that you will be able to maintain yourself and your dependents whilst in the UK. As it currently stands, if your applying from outside the UK, you should be able to show £3, 310 of personal savings per applicant. You need to be able to show that this amount has been in your bank account for 90 consecutives days before you make your application.
The current fee (July 2018) starts from £966 (if applying in person outside of the UK and you’re from Turkey or Macedonia), £1,021 – if you are from other countries.
If you have dependants applying with you, the fee is £1,277 per person.
The Immigration Health Surcharge [‘IHS’]:
This is the charge that an applicant is required to pay that goes towards their use of the National Health Services [‘NHS’] in the UK.
This is generally £200 per year per person- so each dependant will be required to pay this also. As entrepreneur visas are 3 years and 4 months, this is £700 per person.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa: Language Requirements
You will need to prove your knowledge of English language by either passing a Home Office approved English Language Test; or by having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD.
If you are from a majority English speaking country, you are exempt from this requirement. You will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa: Extensions
- registered as a director or as self-employed no more than 6 months after the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa
- can prove you’ve been self-employed, a member of a partnership or working as a director of a business 3 months before you apply
- created at least 2 full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months
You must have invested into 1 or more UK businesses either:
- £200,000 in cash
- £50,000 in cash if your initial application was based on having funds from an approved funding source
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – The Genuine Entrepreneur Test
If you are making an extension application, you will be subject to a genuine entrepreneur test. The Home Office should be satisfied that you:
- have established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and have genuinely operated that business;
- have genuinely invested the money into one or more genuine businesses in the UK;
- intend to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK; and
- do not intend to take employment other than under the terms of paragraph 245DE of the Immigration Rules.
A migrant who has been in the UK as an entrepreneur may be eligible to apply for settle in the UK if the meet the following criteria:
You should have 5 years continuous leave in the UK. You can start counting from time your initial application was approved.
You cannot have had more than 180 days’ absence from the United Kingdom during any consecutive 12 months of the qualifying period. You will need to list details of your absences from the United Kingdom, including the reasons for those absences, on the form but you will not need to provide any specified evidence to support this. Whatever the reason for absences from the United Kingdom, they will still be counted towards the maximum 180 days ( but see delayed entry to the UK below). This includes any absences for work reasons, or serious and compelling reasons.
You have invested, or caused investment to be made by one or more third parties totalling at least £200,000 (or £50,000 if you were awarded points for £50,000 funding or investment in your last grant of leave) in cash directly into one or more UK businesses.
When you apply for settlement you are required to show that you have knowledge of life and language in the United Kingdom before you can be granted (unless you fall under an exemption). You can demonstrate this by passing both the Life in the UK Test and holding an English speaking and listening qualification at level B1 or above (please note: both Academic and General training are acceptable).
Ironically, the Home of Guidance only very briefly mentions the business plan by simply stating that:“If the applicant is making an initial application, they must provide a business plan, setting out their proposed business activities in the UK and how they expect to make their business succeed”. In practice, it is far from this simple- and the business plan should definitely be as detailed and comprehensive as possible as it is the core of the application.
In assessing that you are genuine, the Home Office may wish to interview you. This is something that has become a common practice. The interviewer will ask questions about your background, your expertise, finance, why you have chosen the UK to do your business and the business plan. It is vital that you know all aspects of your proposed business as the interview can be quite thorough and rigorous.
If the Home Office does invite you for an interview, it is mandatory for you to attend. The Home Office also have the right to request further documents from you, which must be provided to them within 28 calendar days of the of their request- So preparation is essential!
Conditions of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa- The Do’s & Don’ts
What you can do:
- Set up or take over the running of one business or more
- Work for the business you specified in your application, including being self-employed.
- Bring your family members with you as dependants
What you can’t do:
- You will not be permitted to work outside your business, i.e. be employed by another business
- You are not permitted to access public funds
What should your Business plan include for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applications?
A business plan is compulsory when applying for a Tier 1 visa, this will be a vital document when making your application. The main purpose of your business plan is to communicate how successful and attainable your business idea is to the Home Office. We have created a short guide on putting together a successful business plan for your Tier 1 application.
1: Executive Summary
An executive summary should be at the beginning of your business plan, this should provide a snapshot of what your business plan contains. For example; you could use your executive summary to speak about key points, focus on your unique selling point and relevant data related to your business.
2: Company Information/Description
This section should focus on any information about the company, the industry, the present outlook and future. If you are opening a franchise or an existing organisation; try to speak about the history, profits and revenue and any other relevant information.
3: Marketing Strategy
This should look at your market in detail, focus on the industry, competitors and market performance. Your business plan should focus on your competitors; try to compare your business to potential competitors, analyse their strategies and look at their strengths and weaknesses.
4: Management And Operations
This section will show how your business will function, in this section you should discuss logistics, your background, experience and the necessary training needed for staff
5: Financial Implications
Show how your aims and objectives can translate into measurable goals. This section should include the costs of running your business, a profit and loss forecast and your budget and pricing.
6: Risk Management
Consider any risk associated with your business, any licences that need to be obtained and authorities that need to be contacted.
This should conclude all your findings in your business plan, this should focus on the opportunity, the key strengths of the business and why it will be successful.
You should list the resources that you used to collect information for your business plan. This will show that you used reliable sources and that you are genuinely interested in starting your new venture.
This should include supporting documents such as bank statements, contracts, cash flows and anything that can support your business plan.
More specific, in order to satisfy the Home Office requirements your business plan must include the following:
-Your background including previous experience and qualifications in interrelated industries
-Financial summary and analysis
-Your service or product description, including prices
-A comprehensive market research
-A competitive analysis of the market
-Cash flow forecasts
-Management and staff structure
-Your professional registration and licenses
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