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Requirements for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur seeking Visa Extension

If you are currently in the UK on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and are coming to the end of either your initial year, or perhaps the end of your second year, then you may be wondering what your options are next. In this article, we will look at the process for applying for an additional year on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and what to do if you can no longer extend your visa.

What is the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa was created so that a graduate with a "credible" and "genuine" business idea can be endorsed by an appropriate authority to come to the UK to live and work for one year. This single year period can be extended for an additional year. The limit for the visa is two years at the end of which the holder will either need to return to their country of origin or switch to an alternative visa route.

What is the eligibility for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

To be eligible for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, your business idea will need to be endorsed in either one of two authorised ways: Endorsement by a UK higher education institution (HEI) or endorsement by the Department for International Trade (DIT). In addition to the endorsement, you will also need at least a bachelor's, master's or PhD awarded before the date of your endorsement for the higher education institution (HEI) route, or a degree that's recognised as being equal to a UK bachelor's degree if using the Department for International Trade (DIT) route.

You will also need to satisfy the criteria for how much money you have available in savings. This is £945 if you are applying from inside the UK, or £1890 if applying from outside of the UK. This is to prove that you can sufficiently support yourself during your stay in the UK and it must have been in your bank account for 90 days. Like almost all the other visa routes in the UK, you will also need to prove that you have a reasonable level of English language skill and may be required to take an exam to prove it. For more information on the English language requirement please get in touch and we can help to point you in the right direction.

How long does a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa last for?

The visa period is initially one year and that can be extended to a second year. You will need to apply online for your initial application (you will also need to apply for an extension online if applicable) and you will need to pay the fees as necessary to make the application. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the same time as you make your application so please ensure that you take this additional cost in to account.

Can I bring dependents to the UK with me on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

Yes, similar to other visas, you can bring dependents to the UK with you on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. It will of course change the amount of money that you need to have available in your savings (£1,260 extra for each dependent, or £630 if you have been in the UK for more than 12 months). They will also have to apply online and provide biometric data for their Biometric Residence Permit - this is normally done at a branch of the Post Office and currently costs £19.20.

If they are already in the UK, your dependents may be able to apply to either extend or switch their visa to remain with you. In this instance they will need to fill out an online application for either an adult dependent or child dependent visa and apply. Also, if you go on to have children while you are in the UK then you will be able to apply for permission for them to stay in the UK - for more information on this process please get in touch and we can help.

What are my options after the second year has run out?

After the second year runs out, you will have the option to convert your visa to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa with a lower limit of £50,000 investment. This is ultimately the ideal route to pursue with the visa and by far the easiest once you have a going concern that is up and running. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is granted for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months and is also extendable up to the 5 year period that you would require if you were looking to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Is there a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain from having a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is unfortunately unable to be used for Indefinite leave to Remain (ILR), but it does allow you to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa at a later date that is eligible to be used towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This is the standard route used by those on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, but if you want to discuss your case in greater length then please get in touch and we'll happy to assess your case.

Where can I go for more help?

If you get in touch with our immigration solicitors, they can look at your case to assess your options and eligibility for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. They can also offer you support and advice on dependent visas, savings and indeed any other issue that may affect your application. So for more information on our services, or to discuss your case, please get in touch.

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