- Do I qualify to come to the UK to run my own business?
- EC Association Agreement countries
- What about my family
- What about extending my Visa?
- How do I apply?
This visa category is for people wishing to come to the UK to start a business. You may start any type of business, but you must work full time in the management of the business.
If you intend to be a passive investor investing at least GBP750,000 (about US $1.35 Million).
This sort of visa application is often called a “Business Status application”.
Unless you are a national of Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Slovenia, entry to the UK as an investor will require you to invest £200,000 in the UK. If the investment is considerably greater than the minimum £200,000 the Home Office is likely to be less stringent with the other requirements of the rules and the application may be processed more quickly.
If you are a national of a country that is not covered by the EC Association Agreement, you will need to show that you will:
- Invest £200,000 in a new UK business.
- Create full-time employment for at least 2 EEA nationals
- Work solely in the business
- Have sufficient funds to accommodate and maintain yourself until the business is profitable.
- Have a controlling interest in the business.
- Take a share of the business’s liabilities
- Be implementing a business plan that looks to be thorough and viable
The money to be invested in the UK should be your own and not from any other source (e.g. bank loans). It can be held in the form of cash and share capital and the investment should give you an equal or controlling interest in the business.
If you are a national of one of the countries covered by the EC Association Agreement (Bulgaria or Romania), you can gain entry to the UK to start a business without having to fulfill the £200,000 investment requirement or create employment. However, you will still need to show that you have a realistic business plan, and sufficient funds to cover living expenses until an income can be derived in the UK.
You may apply for your spouse and children to accompany you as your dependents.
Your children entering the UK as your dependents are entitled to the same free education as British children. You may choose to send your children to a private school if you wish.
You and your family are eligible to free health care provided by the National Health Service. You are not required to take out private health insurance, although you may choose so to do.
Your spouse is entitled to take up any lawful employment.
You will initially get a visa valid for a period of 12 months. During this time you must usually make the full investment and create the required 2 jobs. At the end of this first year, the visa can be extended by applying to the Home Office. The extension application will need to be accompanied by documentation showing the progress that your business has made; as long as the business looks viable, the investment has been made, and the jobs have been created, then the Home Office will normally grant a three-year extension to your visa. After a total of 4 years in the UK, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain (Permanent Residence). A year after being granted indefinite leave to remain you may apply for naturalization as a British citizen.
The visa application should be made to a British Consulate in the country of your usual residence or the country of your nationality. If it is clear that you have a very strong case (for example, where the sum to be invested is significantly more than £200,000), it may be approved quite quickly by the consular officials. However, if your case requires more careful assessment, it will be referred to the Home Office in the UK. Irrespective of the strength of the application, it will be referred to the Home Office for security clearance if you are a citizen of Russia, North Korea, Liberia, or Iraq. When applications are referred to the Home Office, processing will normally take 9 months.
The application should be accompanied by:
- Visa fee of £50
- 2 passport photos for each applicant
- A business plan which should include:
- Evidence of the funds to be invested
- The object of the business
- A detailed description of the employment created.
- A projected balance sheet, including:
- The financial outlay
- Any loan to the company
- Profit and loss projection
- Overheads including:
- Establishment expenses
- Admin expenses
You may be asked to justify the assumptions made in the business plan for example with market research.