Information for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa Applicants
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is for non-European nationals who want to invest in the United Kingdom by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses in the United Kingdom.
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In order to qualify to come to the United Kingdom as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), you must be able to satisfy the following requirements:
(1) Access to investment funds
- You must show that
(a) You have access to £200,000
(b) You have access to £50,000 from
(i) one or more registered UK venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority,
(ii) one or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which are listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment website, or
(iii) one or more UK Government Departments, and made available by the Department(s) for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.
- The money is held in one or more regulated financial institutions within the United Kingdom or overseas
- The money is disposable in the United Kingdom
(2) English Language
If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, then you must:
- Pass an approved English language test at CEFR level B1 (equivalent to 4.0 IELTS) in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening; OR
- Hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a United Kingdom bachelor's degree or above.
- You must have at least £3,100 in personal savings (plus £1,800 for each dependent) which has been held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of application.
In order to qualify to extend your stay in the United Kingdom as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), you will need to satisfy the following requirements:
(1) Investment in UK business
- You have invested, or had invested on your behalf, not less than £200,000 (or £50,000) in cash directly into one or more businesses in the UK.
- The investment should not include the value of any residential accommodation, property development or property management (but may include investment in commercial property and/or construction).
(2) Registered as a director or self-employed
- Within 6 months you have registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed or registered as a director of a new business or existing business.
(3) Engaged in business activities
- You are engaged in business activity at the time of your extension application.
(4) Create new jobs
- You have created a new business or businesses or taken over or joined an existing business that has created the equivalent of at least 2 new full-time jobs (30 hours per week) for members of the settled population for at least 12 months.
(5) English language
- You will automatically meet this requirement.
- You have at least £900 of personal savings (plus £600 for each dependent) which has been held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of application.
Frequently Asked Questions
(1) Can I apply with another person?
Yes, a maximum of 2 people can apply together in an entrepreneurial team using the same investment funds. The funds must be available to both of you.
(2) Can a third party provide me with funding?
Yes, you may rely on money made available to you by one or more family members, corporate bodies or investors. The third party will need to provide their contact details and confirm that the money is available for you to invest in a United Kingdom business.
(3) What is the duration of my visa?
If your initial application to come to the UK is successful, you will be granted a visa for 3 years and 4 months. You can then apply to extend this visa for a further period of 2 years. Depending on your level of investment and business activity in the UK, indefinite leave to remain (settlement) can be applied for after 3 or 5 years, and British citizenship thereafter.
(4) What are the conditions on my visa?
You are not allowed access to public funds and you cannot take any employment other than working for the business or businesses that you have established, joined or taken over. You must register with the police if required.
(5) Can I leave the UK during the validity of my visa?
Yes, although if you wish to settle in the UK then you must spend at least 185 days in the UK in any consecutive 12 month period. If you would like to apply for British citizenship then you may spend on average no more than 90 days outside the UK each year, and no more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before you apply for citizenship.
(6) What should I do once I have been granted a visa?
(1) You should register as a director of a UK company or register as self-employed with the UK tax authorities within six months of arriving in the UK.
(2) You should invest your funds in a business or businesses in the UK (other than investment in residential accommodation, property development or property management). The investment must be made before the end of your initial three years and four months stay.
(3) You should ensure that at the end of three years and four months you are either acting as a director, or self-employed.
(4) You should create the equivalent of two 12-month, full-time jobs for people who are settled in the UK.
(7) When can I apply for settlement/British citizenship?
You may apply to settle in the UK after 3 years if EITHER: You create 10 new full time jobs OR You establish a new business that has an income of £5 million over a 3 year period or you have increased the income of an established business by £5 million over a 3 year period. In all other cases, you may apply to settle in the UK after 5 years. If you settle in the UK after 3 years, then you may apply for British citizenship and a British passport after 2 more years living in the UK. If you settle in the UK after 5 years, then you may apply for British citizenship and a British passport after 1 more year living in the UK.
(8) Can I bring my family with me to the UK?
Yes, your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner and/or children under the age of 18 years may apply for United Kingdom visas as your dependents. They may take employment during their stay in the United Kingdom. Their permission to live in the UK will depend on yours.
(9) If I have leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrant, can I switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category?
Yes, it is possible for Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category provided that they have access to £50,000 in investment funds and various other requirments are met. For further information, please see the section on Post-Study Work migrants.
If you would like further information about coming to the United Kingdom as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), please contact us.
Seven Henrietta Street
T: 0203 617 9173