UK Immigration & Nationality Lawyers

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

Who can apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?

Tier 1 Entrepreneur route is for businessmen who wish to set up and run a business in the UK. They will need to invest £200,000 in the business and have to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English (B1 level).

Tier 1 Entrepreneur initial requirements

Applicants are required to have access to not less than £200,000 to invest in a new or existing UK company. The alternative to £200,000 investment is investment of £50,000 from one or more registered venture capitalist firms lent to the migrant for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants also need to meet English language and maintenance requirements.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs and Tier 1 PSW migrants may also take advantage of the concessionary £50,000 capital requirement as long as their business offers services classed at NQF level 4 or above.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants may come to the UK initially as Prospective Entrepreneurs in order to negotiate financial backing for their business project. Prospective entrepreneurs are entitled to “switch” into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category within the UK, once they have secured the funding.

Switching into Tier 1 Entrepreneur route

Switching in-country to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is permitted for holders of the following types of visa:

  • Tier 1 General
  • Tier 1 Post-Study Work
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur migrants
  • Tier 1 Investors
  • Tier 2 (both Tier 2 General and Intra-Company Transfer)

Tier 4 migrants are not allowed to switch into Tier 1 Entrepreneur route in-country. They have to return to their country of origin and apply for entry clearance.

Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can be made by entrepreneurial teams of up to two people. Both partners in the entrepreneurial team are allowed to bring with them their dependants.

Applicants for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa are required to demonstrate knowledge of English to B1 level and meet the applicable maintenance requirements.

From 1st January 2013, additional “genuine entrepreneur” test has been introduced in addition to the points scoring requirements. The test permits the UKBA to interview applicants so as to ascertain their intentions and availability of capital after the date of the application.

Entrepreneur visa (or initial leave to remain) is granted for an initial period of three years with the option of extension for further two years.

Requirements for extension of stay for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs

Requirements for extension of stay include demonstrating that a UK business was established or taken over by the migrant within six months of being granted initial visa, and that the proposed investment (of either £200,000 or £50,000) has been made; the business has created at least two full time jobs (or their equivalent to an existing business) which have existed for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Those with leave to enter or remain as Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants are not allowed to work outside the business or businesses they have set up, taken over or joined.

Indefinite leave to remain for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs

The changes introduced to the Immigration Rules in April 2011 allow Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants to apply for accelerated settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK after three years of residence, if their business has created at least ten new jobs in the UK, or has had turnover of at least £5 million during the three year period.

Otherwise, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can apply for settlement after five years of residence.

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