Visas for entrepreneurs
If you are already in the UK under Tier 1, 2, or 4 of the points-based system, you can transfer to the entrepreneur immigration category. As your dependents, your family members are welcome to join you.
Initial applications for a tier 1 entrepreneur visa in the United Kingdom
To be successful with an initial entrepreneur visa application, you must demonstrate that you have access to:
- £200,000; or £50,000 if it comes from a registered venture capital firm, a UK entrepreneurial seed investment competition, or a UK government department; or £50,000 if you’re a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or a Tier 1 Post Study Work migrant currently in the UK.
- You can use your money or money stored in a third party’s account as long as they indicate that the funds are available for business investment. The funds must be held in a licensed financial institution and be freely transferable to the UK if they are held outside the UK. As long as you and one other person have equal access to the funds, you can apply as an “entrepreneurial team.”
You must have at least CEFR Level B1 English language proficiency (equal to IELTS 4.0 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and enough extra money to maintain yourself without relying on government assistance.
You must also demonstrate to the Home Office that you genuinely want and are capable of running a UK business and have a feasible and legitimate business strategy.
UK Visas and Immigration may interview you as part of your Entrepreneur visa application (UKVI).
If you are currently a Tier 1 Post-Study Work migrant in the UK, you can only switch to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category if you started a business before July 11, 2014, have been continuously engaged in business activity since then, and are working in an occupation with a National Qualifications Framework level 4 or higher.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applications in the United Kingdom
To keep your status as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you must demonstrate that you:
- Registered as a business director or self-employed within six months of either entering the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur. Being granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, and you have invested at least £200,000 or £50,000 (as appropriate) in a business or businesses in the UK.
- You have created at least two full-time jobs for people who have settled in the UK for at least 12 months.
- You must also demonstrate to the Home Office that you genuinely want and are capable of running a UK business and have a feasible and legitimate business strategy.
Tier 1 entrepreneur visa in the United Kingdom
You may apply for permanent residency in the UK after five years if you have invested in a new or existing UK firm that has produced at least two new full-time jobs. If you generate ten new employees or your business earns at least £5 million in revenue from business activity, you may be eligible for accelerated permanent residency after three years.
You must also show that you have appropriate knowledge of the English language and life in the United Kingdom.
You can stay outside the UK for up to 180 days (six months) each year and still be eligible for permanent residency.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our immigration solicitors for help with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application or appeal.
You may be eligible to come and live in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor if you are a non-EU citizen with more than £2 million of your own money to invest in the UK.
If you are already in the UK under the points-based system’s Tiers 1, 2, or 4, you can convert to the investor category. As your dependents, your family members may join or accompany you.
Initial applications for a tier 1 investment visa in the United Kingdom
To be successful with an initial investor visa application, you must demonstrate that:
- You, your partner, or the two of you jointly own funds totaling at least £2 million; the funds are held in a regulated financial institution, such as a bank, building society, credit union, stock brokerage, or asset management firm.
- The funds are disposable in the UK, and you have opened an account with a UK regulated bank with the intention of investing at least £2 million in the UK.
- You will not be required to prove the source of money if your investment funds have been kept for a period of 90 days before the date of application. You must, however, show that the monies are yours, that you have the authority to invest them, and that they were obtained legally.
If you haven’t kept your investment funds for a period of 90 days prior to the date of application, you’ll need to show where they came from. A gift, a property sale, a will, a divorce settlement, a prize-winning, or any other source of income could be used.
If the funds were donated by a third party, you must demonstrate that there is nothing about that person’s character, conduct, or relationships that would make granting your application contrary to the public welfare.
Tier 1 Extensions
You must demonstrate the following in order to extend your stay in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor:
- Within three months of your grant of leave or entry to the UK, you invested at least £2 million of your capital in the UK through UK Government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
- You have maintained at least £2 million of your own funds, under your own control, in a permitted investment in the UK.
Tier 1 investor visa in the United Kingdom
After five years, if you invest £2 million in the UK, you can apply for indefinite permission to remain. If you contribute £10 million over two years or £5 million over three years, you may be eligible for accelerated permanent residency.
You must demonstrate the following to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as an investor:
- You have invested at least £2 million of your capital in the UK through UK Government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies; You have at least £2 million of your own funds in the UK under your control; You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.
- You can stay outside the UK for up to 180 days (six months) each year and still be eligible for permanent residency.
Please note that different restrictions apply to Tier 1 Investors who applied to enter the category prior to November 6, 2014, when the Immigration Rules were in effect. If you applied for an investment visa before November 5, 2014, your application would be judged based on the requirements of the Immigration Rules in effect at the time.
Please get in touch with our immigration solicitors for advice and assistance with a Tier 1 Investor visa application or appeal.
Graduate Entrepreneurs (Tier 1)
If you have graduated from a UK university and want to start your own business, you may be eligible to apply as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur to enter or remain in the UK.
If you have, or last had, permission to stay as a Tier 4 Student (or in various other Student categories), Tier 2 General Skilled Worker (if granted leave to work as a post-doctoral researcher for the same institution that is endorsing your application as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur), or you are looking to extend in this category, you can apply for a Graduate Entrepreneur visa from either outside or inside the UK. As your dependents, your family members are welcome to join you.
You must demonstrate that you meet the following requirements for an initial application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Graduate Entrepreneur:
- You have been given a degree qualification that equals or surpasses the acknowledged standard of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK (this may be a UK or abroad degree, however, if relying on an overseas degree, UK NARIC must validate the level of the qualification’s equivalency).
- You’ve been endorsed by a UK Higher Education Institution or UK Trade and Investment; the endorsement confirms that the endorsing body has assessed you and believes you have a genuine and credible business idea and that you’ll spend the majority of your working time developing business ventures (if applying to extend your stay as a Graduate Entrepreneur, the endorsement must also confirm that you have made satisfactory progress in developing your business since your current leave was granted).
- Each year, 2,000 spaces on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme are available, and applications must be filed within three months of the endorsement date.
Furthermore, it would help if you convinced UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You can communicate in English to a reasonable level, and you have sufficient maintenance finances to maintain yourself.
- You will be given entry clearance or leave to remain for one year if your application is approved. If your university or institution still approves you and acknowledges that you have made adequate progress in building your business before your leave expires, you might extend your stay for another year.
Graduate entrepreneurs with access to at least £50,000 can also seek additional leave to remain in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category. Tier 1 Entrepreneurs may be eligible for settlement in the United Kingdom.