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Switching From A Tier 4 Student Visa To A Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

When you are at the end of your study period in the UK you are likely going to be wondering what you can do next. The Tier 4 Student Visa is clearly very useful for studying in the UK, but it is not a long-term solution if you want to remain in the country for several years after your studies. One option is the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa allows would-be entrepreneurs with seed funding to start a business in the UK. It gives you an initial period of 40 months to get your business off of the ground, and even offers the opportunity to extend and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this article, we will look at the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and the process that is involved in switching to it from a Tier 4 Student Visa.

What Visa Routes Are Available For Tier 4 Student Visa Holders?

There are several options available to Tier 4 Student Visa holders. These include the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for those with a business idea and appropriate seed funding. Outside of this specialised route, there is the option to apply for a Tier 2 General Visa. This visa is for more generalised occupations and relies on the applicant being offered a job (and crucially gaining a Certificate of Sponsorship) from a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holding company.

Many people worry that the end of their Tier 4 Student Visa signals the end of their stay in the UK - this is not necessarily the case. There are significant options for those in this predicament and the UK is certainly actively trying to keep talent that has been developed in the UK in the country.

Can I Switch To A Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa From A Tier 4 Student Visa?

Yes, though there are very specific eligibility criteria to meet. If you can meet the criteria, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is one of the more generous on offer and a quick route to gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain. In the next section we talk about the eligibility criteria for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa if you’re switching from a Tier 4 Student Visa. Do not give up hope if you do not fit it, there are other options available. If you would like to discuss your options, please get in touch and our team will be happy to help.

What Is The Eligibility Criteria For A Tier 1 Entrepreneur?

To apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa as a Tier 4 Student, you must fit the eligibility criteria framework. This includes the following:

  • Meet the eligibility criteria for the £50,000 seed funding route and this funding must be coming from either a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by DIT or a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business.
  • You will also need to prove your English language skills - if you have graduated from a British higher education institution, this will be no problem.
  • You’ll need to show that you can support yourself during your stay.

As you can see, the criteria is pretty stringent for a former Tier 4 Student Visa holder. This doesn’t make it impossible - far from it. You will, however, be expected to meet this specific criteria before making your application.

What Businesses Are Suitable For A Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

As you will require a very specific type of seed funding to switch from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, it is important that you have a suitable business.  Clearly your business will need to be legal and have high growth potential. Outside of that, it can be almost anything you can imagine. The most lucrative option for funding sources is likely to be seed funding from a so-called “accelerator”. These “accelerators” help to get start-ups off of the ground. Your business will need to have high growth potential to qualify.

It will be extremely wise to put some time into learning as much as you can about seed funding options before considering an application. Of course this will be secondary to having a strong potential business. But as long as your idea is good, you should have options for gaining the seed funding that you need to satisfy the eligibility requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

Are There Any Alternatives To A Tier 1 Entrepreneur For A Tier 4 Visa Holder?

Yes. You can also switch to a Tier 2 General Visa. You will have to meet quite stringent criteria for this also (eligible qualifications are needed), but on the whole, it is much easier to switch to a Tier 2 General Visa from a Tier 4 Student Visa than any other way of staying in the UK after finishing your studies. But looking at the restrictions, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is an excellent option to switch to at the end of your studies.

You can also opt to leave the country and apply via an alternative route. In some situations, this may actually be a better way of doing things. But if you are keen to remain in the UK and not return to your country of origin, there are these options available. If you would like to discuss your options for remaining in the UK after your studies, get in touch today and our team will be happy to talk you through your options.

Where Can I Get More Help?

If your studies are about to end and you’re not sure what your next move should be, get in touch today and talk to our team of experienced immigration specialists. Each year we speak to numerous students who are looking to stay in the UK and we have vast experience of helping them to do so. So for more information or advice, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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