UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

UK is helping people around the world make their entrepreneurship dreams a reality by allowing them to setup or run a business in the country. People who wish to start or run a business in UK can do so by applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.

Who can apply?

To apply for a UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, you have to be eligible for it. The requirements are as follows:

  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You are not from EEA and Switzerland.
  • You can invest at least 50,000 Pounds. The eligibility requirements change depending on the amount to funds you have access to.
  • You have access to 50,000 Pounds from one or the following sources:
  • DIT endorsed UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition.
  • Venture capital firm that is registered with the FCA.
  • UK Government Department.
  • You have access to 2,00,000 Pounds and can prove that the funds are:
    • Yours.
    • Given to you by 3rd parties. The 3rd party can be a partner, spouse or an investor.
    • Available in a joint account, of which you and your spouse/partner are the holders.
    • Your investment funds are free to be used on the business in the UK and are held in at least 1 financial institution that is regulated.
    • You should be fluent in English.
    • You should have enough funds to support your stay in the UK.
    • Your score should be at least 95 points.
    • You have already invested 50,000 Pounds or 2,00,000 Pounds in a business based in the UK.

    If you already have a UK visa, then you can choose to switch to this visa.

    Apply As:

    • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) - People who have a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa can switch to this visa. They can depend on investments they had received up to 24 months prior to the application without worrying about the source.
    • Tier 1 (Post-Study Worker) - People who have a Tier 1 (Post-Study Worker) visa can switch to this visa. They can depend on funds received from a DIT endorsed UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or the UK Government Department. They can also use your own funds or get funds from a venture capital:
    • If they are involved in the working process of 1 or more businesses in the UK; or
    • If they were employed as per the terms and conditions of the visa.
  • Tier 1 (General) – People who have a Tier 1 (General) visa can switch to this visa. They can depend on funds received from a DIT endorsed UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or the UK Government Department. They can also get funds from a venture capital:
    • If they are involved in the working process of 1 or more businesses in the UK; or
    • If you were employed as per the terms and conditions of the visa.

    Tier 1 (General) visa holders can apply using their own funds worth 2,00,000 Pounds only if they have been part of running at least 1 business in the UK or employed as per the rules of this visa.

    • Former Student – If someone has a Tier 4 visa, then they can apply for this visa, provided they are already in the UK. They can depend on funds received from a DIT endorsed UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or the UK Government Department.

    Note – To apply for/switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, people have to meet all the terms and conditions. They can find the details of the same on the website of the UK Government.

    Stay Period:

    The UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa allows people to stay in the country for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. They have the option to extend their stay by another 2 years if they already have this visa. If they are switching to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa from another visa, then they can avail an extension of 3 years.

    After completing at least 5 years in the UK, people can apply for settlement.

    Processing Time:

    People are advised to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa at least 3 months before the travel date. The status (approved/rejected) will be conveyed to the applicant within a period of at least 3 weeks. The processing time is not the same for every country.

    Fee:

    Application for Applying in person from outside the UK Applying online/by post
    Self £982 £1,228
    Self (from Turkey/ Macedonia) £927 £1,173
    Dependants £982 per person £1,228 per person

    Note – The fee/charges may change depending on the situation of the applicant, his/her country and type of application. The UK Government can change the rates at any time.

    Apart from the visa fee, applicants have to pay a healthcare surcharge as well.

    Documents Required:

    • A valid passport or travel identification. The passport must have a page that is blank on both the sides.
    • Business Plan.
    • Proof of funds available for investment.
    • Proof that the applicant can support himself/herself during his/her stay in the UK.
    • Proof that they fulfill the English language requirements.
    • Criminal record certificate. This has to be obtained from a country where the applicant has stayed in for at least 12 months in the previous 10 years.
    • A certified translated for documents in other languages.

    Proof of funds available for investment:

    In case of proof for funds available for investment, the documents required depend on the source of funds. If the applicant has the money in a UK financial institution, then he/she has to provide a bank statement or building society statement or an official letter.

    If the funds are sourced from a UK Government Department or a DIT endorsed seed funding competition, then the applicant has to provide an official letter from an authorized official or accountant.

    If the funds are sourced from a venture capital, then the applicant has to provide an original letter from its partner, director or fund manager and a term sheet that has signatures of all the parties. He/she also has to provide proof that the venture capital has followed the required processes and checked everything.

    If the funds are sourced from another 3rd party, then the applicant has to provide an official letter from the financial institution where the money is deposited or from an accountant. The applicant has to also get a letter from the 3rd party, which confirms that the funds have been given to invest in a business in the UK and he/she has to also get a letter from an independent (from both parties) legal representative certifying the confirmation.

    Proof of self-financial support:

    If the applicant is outside the UK, he/she needs at least 3,310 Pounds and if he/she is in the UK, he or she needs at least 945 Pounds to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. The personal savings should be present in the account for at least 90 successive days before the application. Money earned through investment funds and illegal work cannot be used to support self in the UK.

    Dos and Don’ts:

    Using a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, people can do the following:

    • Setup or takeover one or more businesses.
    • Get family members with you.
    • Work for the business and be self-employed. If the person is self-employed, then he/she must ensure that his/her work meets the requirements of a self-employed person.

    Using a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, people cannot do the following:

    • Work outside the business.
    • Employed by another business.
    • Avail public funds.

    How to Apply?

    People from outside the UK can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa online. They have to submit their fingerprints at a visa application centre to avail the biometric residence permit, which has to be collected within a period of 10 days before arriving in the UK (the date mentioned by the applicant initially will be considered).

    Extension:

    Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa holders can extend their visa before it expires, provided they fulfill all the eligibility requirements and were registered as a self-employed or director within 6 months from the date they got the visa. They have to prove that they are self-employed, a director or a partner of a business 3 months before applying. They should have created a minimum of 2 full time jobs that have lasted for a minimum of 12 months.

    Applicants should have invested in 1 or more UK business at least:

    • 2,00,000 Pounds in cash; or
    • 50,000 Pounds in cash, if they had funding from an approved source during application.

    In the extension application, they have to include dependants who rely on their current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. It includes children who turned 18 during the stay in UK.

    If the applicant is in the UK, he/she can apply by downloading the form and submitting it via post. They have to provide their biometric information at selected post office branches, which will cost them 19.20 Pounds. If the applicant is not in the UK, then he/she has to apply for a new Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.

    Extension application will be processed within 8 weeks. If the case is complex and the Department requires more information or documents, they make seek the same or call the applicant for an interview.

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