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.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur: Extensions
To make an application to gain an extension of your leave you will need to:
- 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
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.
The Home Office will take into consideration
- the evidence you submit;
- the viability and credibility of the source of the money used;
- the credibility of the financial accounts of the business or businesses;
- the credibility of your business activity in the UK;
- the credibility of the job creation which you are claiming points;
- if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained; and
- any other relevant information.
More about Extending:
- They may request further documentary evidence and request that the applicant attends an interview.
- You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
- You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.
- You should apply before your current visa expires.
Settling in the UK as an Entrepreneur:
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:
Time in the UK
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.
Meeting investments requirements
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.
Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK
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).
Contact us for more information:
T: 020 8935 5205