The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category allows business people with between £50,000 and £200,000 in funds available for investment to enter the UK in order to establish or take over a UK business – either exclusively or as a partner. The funds must be held by a regulated institution, such as a bank or venture capital firm, and must be free to spend – not tied up in securities, shares, or similar arrangements.
You also need to create two new jobs for settled workers. This includes British citizens, EEA and EU Citizens and their dependents, and those who have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. When applying for an extension the jobs should have existed for at least twelve months.
Please note that in most cases applicants based outside the UK will probably need to invest £200,000. To be able to invest the smaller amount of £50,000 you will need to have funding from a venture capital firm in the UK or have some form of UK Government funding. Please see further details below. Another option is if you can come under the entrepreneurial team requirements. with each member of the two member team investing £100,000.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Points System
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications are assessed using a points system, applicants must score a full 95 points to be granted a visa. The following table gives a detailed breakdown of how points are awarded.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur points table
|Having access to at least £200,000 of disposable investment funds OR
having at least £50,000 from one of the following:
|Having investment funds that are held in a regulated financial institution||25|
|Having investment funds that are free to spend||25|
|Having access to the required maintenance funds||10|
|Meeting the required level of English language proficiency||10|
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
This is an important part of the application. There should be a credible business plan and information and documentation should be provided to show that the applicant has the necessary skills and experience to run a business. The applicant should be able to explain where the funds were obtained. In addition, it may be worth including academic qualifications. Many applications are refused because the applicant does not pass this test.
English Language Ability
If the applicant does not have a degree taught in English and is not a national on the list of majority English speaking countries, the applicant will need to successfully complete an English language test at B1 or above.
If an English language test needs to be passed it needs to be equivalent to B1 level or above; it can be either academic or general skills training. You need to reach the appropriate level in all 4 components of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Criminal Record Certificates
You will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any Country that you have lived in for at least twelve months over the last ten years. This is needed for the spouse or partner and any dependents over the age of eighteen years of age. The certificates should have been issued within the six months of the UK visa application.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants must have funds available to support themselves during their stay; the amount of maintenance funds required depends whether the applicant is making an initial visa application, or applying for an extensions. Initial applicants must have funds of at least £3,310, while those applying to extend their visa must have funds of at least £945.
All applicants must have had this amount consistently for ninety days or more.
Length of stay granted
Up to 3 years and 4 months initially, and up to 6 years and 4 months in total with extensions.
The length of the visa extension depends on the applicant’s visa status. Those switching to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa from another category can extend their visa for 3 years. All others can only extend it for 2 years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
This is also known as settled status and is a form of “permanent residence”. Usually, you can apply for this twenty-eight days before the end of five years stay in the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, as long as you have not spent longer than 180 day a year outside the UK during this period of time. There are exceptions to the required period of stay in the UK under limited circumstances.
There is a shorter three year requirement for indefinite leave to remain (minus 28 days) if you have created ten jobs or have created a business that has had a gross income of £5 million over three years, or if you had taken over an existing business that has seen an increase in gross income of £5 million over three years. You will still have to meet the other residence requirements mentioned above.
Documents required for application
Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants must provide several documents with their application, which include:
- Current passport and/or other travel documents
- A separate passport photograph
- Proof that they have access to between £50,000 and £200,000 of funds to invest
- Their business plan
- Proof that they can support themselves financially during their stay, such as bank statements
- Proof that they meet the Tier 2 English Language requirements, such as coming from a majority English language Country or having a degree taught in English or achieving B1 level in an English language test.
- A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office’s TB testing list, found here (link)
- A criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for more than one year in the past ten years
Other activities and restrictions
Workers on this visa can work for the UK business they are running in a salaried or self employed role, but cannot take another job outside of the business.