There are multiple situations where you will require a visa to conduct business activities within the UK. It takes extensive knowledge and expertise to understand these processes and how to complete them correctly.

  • Tier 1– This tier visa is applicable to migrants of high-value who are outside of the EEA (European Economic Area). This includes both investors and entrepreneurs along with individuals that meet the criteria for the exceptional talent visa scheme. The exceptional talent visa is applicable to those who are outside of the EEA and Switzerland and be recognised as an exceptional talent (recognised leader) or attain exceptional promise (emerging leader) in the fields of digital technology, science, humanities, arts or medicine.
  • Tier 2– This tier is applicable for those who are skilled workers and are intending to come to the UK to take up employment from a licensed sponsor. You may have been offered a job in the UK from a current employer. To qualify for this, you will need to have worked for the employer outside of the UK for 12 months and filling a position that cannot be filled with a UK worker. The exception to that rule would be if you would be earning over £73,900.00 whilst working in the UK. Another sub-category of this tier includes graduate trainees which is applicable when an employee is offered a role under the graduate trainee programme and you must have 3 months minimum experience of working with the employer outside of the UK. Any one organisation is restricted to 20 Graduate Training migrants in a financial year. Sportspeople and ministers would also need to apply under this tier.
  • Tier 3–This tier is not currently in use however this will be applicable to low-skilled workers.
  • Tier 4 – This tier is applicable to an educational institution that is registered in the UK for example those who have been offered a place at a university or an independent school would apply under this tier.
  • Tier 5 – This tier is applicable to temporary workers from religious, charitable, porting and creative sectors. This tier is also for individuals who are subject to international agreements or exchanges which are government authorised. You would also apply under this tier if you are part of the youth mobility scheme. The youth mobility scheme is open to 18-10 years old and be from certain countries, these countries are Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic or Korea and Taiwan. Additionally, if you are applying as a national of Republic of Korea or Hong Kong you must be able to prove that you have a valid certificate of sponsorship reference number. To apply under the youth mobility scheme, you must also have £1,890.00 minimum savings and be able to show evidence of this. Upon receiving an approval for a visa under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme your visa will be valid for 2 years and you can leave and return to the UK as many times as necessary during this period should you turn 31 during the validity of your visa you may stay until the visa expires. Along with proving savings there is a charge for the visa itself and an additional healthcare surcharge. This tier also applies to those who are classed as a British overseas citizen, British overseas citizen or a British national (overseas).

An investor must make a minimum investment of £2 million to a regulated financial institution(s) to qualify for entry to the UK under an investment visa. Once an approval is given the applicant, their children (under 18) and their spouse* may initially reside in the UK for 3 years.

There are some additional requirements that need to be met once you have been granted a Tier 1 Investor Visa. You must have a home within the UK, maintain the value of your investment and should you wish to apply for settlement at any point in the future a minimum of 180 days must be spent living in the UK per year.

If your intention is to apply for indefinite leave to remain* there are further requirements to meet in relation to the amount of time you need to have spent residing in the UK. The criteria for this is dependent upon the amount of money you have invested however should you have invested over £10 million within the UK, after 3 years you may meet the criteria related to accelerated settlement.

*Spouse – There are specific requirements for a spouse to join you. The spouse must be a British citizen or be settled in the UK or have humanitarian protection or refugee status. Proof must be provided that you are married, in a civil partnership or been sharing a home for 2 years minimum or if you are engaged or proposed civil partner that you will marry or enter a civil partnership no longer than 6 months of their entry into the UK.

Additionally, a good knowledge and understanding of English is required. The spouse must be able to show proof of the ability to support themselves financially generally by meeting minimum savings criteria.  Spouse should not apply to reside in the UK unless they have the intention of living with you in the UK.

*Indefinite Leave To Remain – If this is to be your ultimate intention it is important to have a good legal team in place to help you understand the strict requirements that you must meet. If you are granted indefinite leave to remain there are no time limits to your stay however this can be revoked should you commit a serious crime or live outside of the UK for a continuous period of 2 years.

The minimum criteria that you must meet are; prove you have no criminal convictions that would disqualify you from applying, pass an English language and life in the UK test and that you have lived within the UK according to the terms of your visa.

Typically, you must be able to prove that you will invest £200,000 minimum in an existing or new UK business along with creating the minimum of 2 full time jobs within 3 years of your initial investment to qualify for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. Additionally, you must be able to show how you will financially support yourself whilst living in the UK and meet the English Language requirements. Your business plan will be assessed by UK Visas & Immigration to determine if you are a bona fide entrepreneur.

Upon being granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa you may initially reside in the UK for 3 years, once this time frame has elapsed you can apply for a two-year extension to your visa. After a total of 5 years you can apply for settlement in the UK. However, should your turnover be exceptional or you create more full-time jobs then you may qualify to apply for settlement after the initial 3 years.

By pairing with one of our specialists who understand the process you will give your application the best possible chance of being approved. You will need to ensure that you have a good business plan and properly prepare for the interview that you will need to attend.

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