The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is designed for non-European entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in the UK either by setting up, taking over and/or been involved, actively in the day to day running of a business(es) in the UK. For the purpose of this application, a business means an enterprise, such as:
The major distinguishing element of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is that applicants must be show that they have access to at least £200,000. There had previously been a £50,000 route for certain visa categories which has now been closed apart from the Graduate Entrepreneur route (discussed briefly below).
With regards to the £200,000, the money should be owned by you and disposable in the UK. Disposable in the UK means that the money should be kept in such a state that that it would be available to you to invest in the UK as and when you need it. If the money is held in your personal bank account, this may prevent the need for you to serve a third-party declaration for access to another person funds. That said, you still can rely upon third party funds not promised for use of anybody else. Third party funds as well as personal funds for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route will need to also be disposable in the UK.
The bank where the money is held must be regulated and must provide a specific bank letter in confirmation of some key factors. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is a point based system route. This means that decisions as to the acceptance or rejection of applications are based on predefined points rather than on other subjective elements, although the introduction of the genuine entrepreneur test adds the need to be able to evidence a credible witness as an additional factor to the points. The genuine entrepreneur test is discussed in later parts of this page. Applicants must score a total of 95 points in order to meet the eligibility criteria of the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa initial application.
Eligibility Criteria £50,000 Seed Funding Route:
You can use the £50,000 seed funding route for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application as long as your funds are from the following sources:
You will also need to ensure that you meet the following:
You can also use this route in the following circumstances:
Eligibility Criteria £200,000 Seed Funding Route:
The vast majority of applicants will not have the special circumstances that allow for application under the £50,000 seed funding route. For these individuals they must use the £200,000 route criteria instead as laid out below:
The distinctive characteristics of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is that applicants must have access a minimum of £200,000 (£50,000 for PSW or Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneur switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category). Applicants must be aware that the funds need to be either under the direct control of the applicant or accessible to the applicant. Where the money is not owned by the applicant, 3rd party declarations should be provided explaining the funds ownership and that the fund will be readily accessible to the applicant and that it wont be available to someone else
An advantage (relatively) of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route is that it is a point based system. This reduces the level of subjectivity in the determination of the outcome of such applications. Applicants needs to score a total of 95 points to be able to obtain a successful application. However, recently, the Home Office have now introduced an element of subjectivity to the entire Tier 1 entrepreneur visa process. Prospective entrepreneurs will now need to pass a genuine entrepreneur test to determine the credibility of the entrepreneur.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa allows would-be entrepreneurs to come to the UK to live and work on their business for an initial period of 40 months (can be extended). The visa is designed to put the UK at the forefront of technical innovation by encouraging entrepreneurs to move to the UK. As a natural hub between Europe and the USA, Britain is an ideal place to conduct business and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is an ideal way to exploit your business idea. In this article we are going to look at the application processand fees involved for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
Applications for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa need to be made online. You will need to fill in the application form completely and then submit it online. You will also be able to use the new UKVCAS system for application and this allows you to submit your critical documents online. If you are based outside of the UK, you will likely need to apply in person. You will then receive an appointment at a local processing centre so that you can give your biometric data and have an interview to ascertain any information as required about your business. If all is satisfactory, you'll be given leave to remain in the UK and will be required to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) upon arrival in the UK.
The cost to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa depends on where you have come from and more importantly, where you apply from. The costs for application are as laid out below:
|Who You Are Applying For||Online Or Post||Outside Of UK|
|You (from Macedonia or Turkey)||GBP1,222||GBP966|
These fees only cover your application cost and do not factor in the cost for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is currently GBP200 per applicant per year, nor does it cover your costs if you have used legal advice such as ours. We will inform you about any costs that we charge in advance.
Processing for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is usually 8 weeks, this can be sped up by the use of premium processing options, but these are at a further cost. The 8 week processing time is also only a guide and times may vary depending on the complexity of your individual case. For this reason you must ensure that any documents and business plans are accurate and well researched. Failure to ensure this will likely end in a failed application.
If you need help or advice on applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, get in touch today and we can help. From business plans and correct documents, to moving to the UK and employment law, we can help with all facets of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. So if you have a question or would like to start using our services, call us today and we'll be happy to help.
As a general rule, it is possible to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur provided you can show that you meet the requirements for entry clearance and that you are already in the country on a valid visa.
You may be able to make an initial application to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa categories if your current leave in the UK is as one of the following: -
Please note that the rules for switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur are so strict that they do not allow switching from any other category save the ones mentioned above unless there are exceptionally compassionate circumstances.
The UK immigration rules allows for holders of the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa to remain or more appropriately switch to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs are allowed to make an in-country Tier 1 Entrepreneur Initial application if they can show that they have access to at least £50,000 and have held a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visas are usually issued for between one and two years and require the endorsement of a higher education institution.
If you are switching from Tier 1 Graduate to Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you can rely on either fresh funds of £50,000 or previously invested funds. This can be evidenced by audited/unaudited accounts, share capital or director loans agreement. If you partially invested the funds you must provide the evidence of the same and show that you still have access to any balance of money needed to total £50,000. It was previously possible for Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants to apply to switch to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category with an initial application. They used to need to show that they have access to £50,000 as with the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur above. In addition, Tier 1 Post-study work migrants were expected to show the following:
For applicants switching from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa or a Tier 1 post-study work visa category to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, they may need to prepare and submit their application whilst in the UK. However, where an applicant is not in the UK and cannot switch in-country, the initial application for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa should be made from the country of origin of the applicant or where they hold leave to remain. An unsuccessful application may be challenged through an administrative review request to the Entry Clearance manager.
Such request is reviewed by the Entry Clearance manager and is either accepted or rejected.
The main challenge with this application in addition to having access to the necessary funds, is to get the documents right and that includes the 'specified Evidence' as well as the Genuine Entrepreneur Test. Bank letters from a regulated financial institution as well as third party templates are essential. Your business plan (the visa officers actually read it!) and evidence to support it are essential to the credibility of your application. Moreover, knowing your business plan and being able to answer to it are essential in the event that you are invited to the Home Office or embassy for an interview.
The decision maker, that being either the Entry Clearance Officer or Home Office official representing by the Secretary of State, will usually consider the specified evidence before the deciding whether the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur. We take the position of a decision maker when establishing whether the specified Appendix evidence has been provided. It is then the turn of proving that the business is to be operated by a genuine entrepreneur and that they have the ability to present this in an interview that we work on.
It is important that applicants show that they have enough funds to cater for themselves whilst in the UK. As a result, applicants need to meet the maintenance requirement by having a certain specified amount in their bank account for the last three months prior to making the application. The maintenance funds must be held and treated as separate from the required £200,000 for investment in the UK business.
It has been established that in making the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application, the applicant would need to have access to £200,000 disposable in the UK. However, the applicant need not solely rely on his own funds for the purpose of this application, he may also rely on 3rd party funding from the following categories:
It is for this reason that the monies need to be in such a state that is accessible and disposable in the UK.
After a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur initial application, holders of this leave to remain will only be allowed to work in the business in which they have invested the money. They are not allowed to work in any other establishment or take up any other paid job. Their dependants however will be allowed to work full time or be self-employed throughout the duration of their visa. The only work restriction they are faced with however is that they cannot work as trainee doctors or dentists or professional sportspersons or sports coaches in the UK.
A practical note of consideration is that the Home Office understand that entrepreneurs may sometimes change their business or perhaps invest in more than a single business. This is acceptable as long as one always keeps in mind that the Home Office will scrutinize the possibility of the applicant having not been a genuine entrepreneur if they have frequently switched from business to business. For examples sake, if the applicant registers a business within 6 months and then later decides that he or she wants to open an IT solutions company to replace his or her cake shop. This will be in line with the rules as he registered a company within 6 months of his specified date and then went on to open a new but genuine business.
If you currently hold a leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant, you may be able to make a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension application as you approach the tail end of your initial application visa. It is important that during your initial leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant, you have created jobs and invested the required sum in addition to meeting the other conditions of your visa.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa initial application is usually granted for 3 years, after which the applicant may apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension to extend his leave to remain under the same visa category.
It is important to note that your activities during the initial period of 3 years counts towards if the Home Office will grant your extension application or not. We have created a list of a few things we believe you must do to further position your extension application for success.
Please note that Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension applications can only be made by post and the Home Office do not allow the same day service for visa applications under this route. Successful applicants under this visa category will be granted a leave for up to 2 years.
Please note that applicants will need score 95 points in addition to meeting other requirements in order to be eligible or extension.
Required Investment for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa Extension:- 20 points
Recall that in the initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur application, applicants would have needed to show that they had access to a minimum of £200,000 or £50,000. In order to ensure a successful extension application, applicants would need to show that they have indeed invested the required amount into a UK business.
In the event that the business was funded by a director's loan, this would need to be evidenced in the application by way presenting the director's loan agreement. Applicants should take note of inconsistencies that tend to arise where the dates on the director's loan agreement do not precede the date of the fist transaction. Importantly, the ideal situation is to have the director's loan coming first before business transactions.
It is also important to note that only investment funds that were injected into the business within the past three years as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur will be taken into consideration, investments before this period will be ignored.
We would also recommend that the accounting books are prepared by regulated accountants who is regulated by and is a member of a recognised supervisory body.
The monies invested in the business must be real investments in every sense of the word. Entrepreneurs should avoid situations where the accounting books suggest that the entrepreneur has injected his personal funds into the business for the sake of it. The financial records must visibly suggest that the monies invested into the business were actual business investment.
The records must also show for every chunk investment, who, when and how much investment in total was made.
You have become a director or self-employed in a UK business:- 20 points
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension applicants must be able to demonstrate in their application that they had become a director of a business, or were registered as self-employed within the first 6 months of their entry into the UK.
Still engaged in a business activity:- 15 points
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension applicant will need to show that they are still engaged in business activities. It is important to note that the rules are silent on whether or not it is the same business that was started in the initial visa application that applicant still need to be in during the extension. However it does states the need for the applicant to show that s/he actually engaged in a business activity in the UK. The applicant also need to show that s/he is still engage in a business as at the time of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension application.
Job Creation:- 20 points
The aim of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa would be defeated if it doesn't created jobs. Importantly, extension applications must demonstrate that they had created 2 new job for two settled workers during the course of their initial application as a result of their business activities. This would normally be evidenced using payslips, etc. It is important that payslips show the number of hours worked per month. We do understand that not all payslip show this, in such cases, the employment contract may also serve in some cases as a valid evidence.
For applications where the initial leave was granted before the 6th of April, the applicant can rely on the scenarios described below to make up the creation requirement.
As mentioned earlier, the point based nature of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa allowed for some form of objectivity. However, with the introduction of the genuine entrepreneur test, it has added a layer or subjectivity to the application process. Entrepreneurs will now have to prove to the Entry Clearance office or the Home Office as the case may be that they are "genuine entrepreneurs" and not just individuals with money looking to enter the UK before they are granted the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. We recommend the applicant consider operating in a business that they are able to show that they have worked in before. This way, in both real evidence and live evidence, the applicant should face less problems in proving genuine skills as an entrepreneur in the desired sector.
Another challenge here is the inclusion of a business plan. Applicants now need to prepare a business plan in addition to their application and specified evidence. Applicants should not be mistaken that the business plan is just a tick box exercise, the visa officer actually do read it and critically access it. In interview, they make specific reference to figures, terms and forecasts that are included. Therefore, take your business plan with you to an interview and make sure that you know it well enough to answer questions. Another soft issue here is that applicants in addition to their applications will also need to show the source funds. These additional hinges are designed by the Home Office to reduce fraudulent applications.
The genuine Entrepreneur test is a test introduced by the Home office to ascertain that the applicant has the intent and is able to set up and manage the business in the UK. The Home Office applies this strictly and would normally expect to see large volumes of documents demonstrating that the entrepreneur is a genuine entrepreneur. The applicant may even be invited for an interview.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa Business Plan
As mentioned earlier, in line with the genuine entrepreneur test requirement, the applicant will need to prepare a decent business plan to support the application. We have good business plan writers who understand the relationship between the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and business plans. They know what to look out for to make sure that the business plan is immigration and/or Home Office compliant.
Tips for passing the Genuine Entrepreneur Test
From 1st September 2015, you and adult dependants must provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have resided in continuously for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application.
Who can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
Anyone is: -
Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants would normally qualify for applying for an indefinite leave to remain after they have spent 5 years in the UK as a Tier 1 entrepreneur migrant. Please note that the qualifying period for settlement under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route is not restricted to 5 years. The accelerated routes will be discussed in the subsequent parts of this web page.
Obtaining an Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK or Permanent Residence provides holders with the rights to remain the UK without immigration restrictions. Importantly, the earliest you can apply for a permanent residence in the UK is 28 days before your qualifying period.
The qualifying period is seed as the length of stay required to be able to qualify for making an application under a visa category. For instance, an Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant looking to extend his/her stay in the UK would need to have lived in the UK for 3 years to fulfil the qualifying period. Such a migrant don't have to wait till the expiration of their visa to make a new application, they can apply after 3 years.
Points to note under the qualifying period
Top 4 qualifying criteria for Tier 1 Entrepreneur ILR
A tier 1 entrepreneur migrant may be eligible for settlement after 3 years as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant if they can show that they have met the following conditions:-
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category applies not only to the main applicant but also to his dependants. A dependant is any person who relates to the main application in the following ways: -
Be informed that children who are aged 18+ can still be deemed as dependants if they became dependants in the United Kingdom.
If your application as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Dependant is refused, you can challenge the refusal of your application by way of an appeal to the First Tribunal. If you have not been granted right of appeal against the refusal of your PBS dependant application, the refusal can then be challenged by way of Judicial Review in the Upper Tribunal.
If you have had a refusal of your entry clearance application as a Tier 1 entrepreneur migrant, you can apply for an Administrative Review. Please note that the application for an admin review must be lodged within 28 days from the date of receipt of the refusal letter. The Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) makes a decision on the Administrative Review application within 28 days from the date of the receipt of the review request.
Our immigration solicitors are able to advice you on what approach is best given your particular situation. Please feel free to contact us on 02037442797 or send us an email on email@example.com.
Our profound expertise and experience in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension applications is evident from our success rate which is publicly visible in our reviews online. We boast of one of the leading Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension immigration lawyers in London. Specialising in initial application, extension as well Indefinite Leave to remain.
Contact us today for a free initial assessment on 020 3744 2797 or send us a quick email on firstname.lastname@example.org
It is possible for an International Student on a Tier 4 to swtich to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur without going back to his country as long as such an individual has access to at least GBP 50,000 pounds from any of the following:
Appointments made through one of Home Office's partners i.e. VFS, at one of their various locations, can be rearranged with them. Please see the guidance for your appointment country at: https://www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre. However where you have made your appointment using your online application you will need to make a new application.
A Tier 4 General Student without such specific funding is not allowed to make an application for switch into the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category.
A Tier 4 General Student without such specific funding is not allowed to make an application for switch into the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category.
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