Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
This 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.
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)
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.
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.
There are restrictions as to the types of business that can be created and invested in. There are also minimum time limits that the investment funds and the maintenance funds should be held for. If you think this visa route could be for you, contact us to discuss the requirements and how best we can assist you with the process.