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Tips For A Successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Application

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a visa category designed for international entrepreneurs looking to invest in the UK. This investment can be in the form of setting up a business or taking over a business (either exclusively or as a partner).

Individuals applying for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas are required to have between £50,000 and £200,000 in a regulated financial institution in the UK (for example a Bank or Venture Capitalist firm). However, these funds should be readily accessible and not held in shares or bonds, etc.

In addition to the financial requirements, the applicant (or applicants, where entrepreneurs are applying as a team) also need to show English language proficiency. This can be met if the applicant is a national of a major English Speaking Country (see list of majority English Speaking Countries), possess an academic degree from an English speaking country, or pass an English language test approved by the UKVI (IELTS or Trinity College) at B1 level of CEFR. Furthermore, the applicant would need a maintenance fee of £3,310 if applying from outside the UK and £945 for those within the UK.

Genuine Entrepreneur Test

A key aspect of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application is the Genuine Entrepreneur Test. This test was introduced by the home office in January 2013 to establish that the candidate is a genuine entrepreneur capable of setting up or running a successful business in the UK. Therefore, entrepreneurs have to provide relevant documents showing their credibility and viability such as a well-detailed business plan.

The business plan has to evidence that they have done their research and feasibility study in relation to the business they intend to start. A tier 1 Entrepreneur business plan is quite different from a normal business plan. The differences begin from the purpose.

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur business plan is not just written because you want to set up a business in the UK but to show the Home Office that you know what you are really planning to do in the UK. Certain details that a normal business plan may do without can be key in demonstrating to the Home Office that you have indeed done your homework.

At the end of the three years, you are expected to have generated 2 full time employment for 2 years (one year for each employee) for persons present and settled in the UK. Your business plan also has to reflect this point. Persons present and settled means people who are in the UK and do not need visas to come in or go out.

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur business plan is therefore more detailed than a normal business plan. Importantly, it has to reflect your credibility in starting or running the business.

It should contain in detail the proposed business, location, market or sector, target market, marketing strategy, and weaknesses (actual or prospective). It should also include recruitment policy, financial projections and proper competitor analysis. Note that since you are not just writing your business plan to raise money, and are writing to show that you have done your homework and know what you are talking about, the competitor analysis is a good place to show the Home Office you have done your research. Hint: Keep this as detailed as possible.

The figures quoted should be correct, realistic and consistent with the documentary evidence provided.

An applicant could be called for an interview or have their application refused if the documents are not well prepared. A report by the Office of National Statistics revealed that the home office refused 51 percent of Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications between 2013 and 2014.

An applicant may wish to seek professional help with preparing the business plan, it is however important that they are involved in the process. It provides the applicant with an opportunity to know the business plan and prove their credibility if called for an interview.

When deciding genuineness of an entrepreneur, the home office will be looking certain factors such as

  • The evidence submitted
  • The credibility of your business activity in the UK
  • The viability and credibility of the source of the money
  • The credibility of the financial accounts of the business
  • The credibility of employment creation
  • Your previous academic and business experience

If the documents submitted do not satisfactorily reflect any of the above points, there is a high likelihood that your application will be refused. However, if an application is refused, your options are an administrative review or a reapplication.

For further advice or professional assistance in preparing a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, contact our specialist immigration solicitors today for a free initial assessment on 020 3744 2797 send us an email on

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