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Entrepreneur Visas, Tier 1

If you want to set up a business in the UK through an investment or you are considering the UK as one of the countries to run your business, you have an option to apply for one of the Entrepreneurs visas. If you are keen to start a successful business in the UK, you are highly encouraged to seek professional legal advice to understand the visa options open to you to build a successful plan for the future. We tailor our advice to meet your expectations and identify the most suitable visa route to enable you to successfully start your own business.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is suitable for High Net Worth individuals who have a genuine and credible business idea and wish to invest their money (£200,000 or more), skills and knowledge in the UK through setting up their own business or taking over the running of one or more businesses.

Successful Entrepreneur can work for own business as a self-employed individual, and can also bring family members and dependants to the UK.

Requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur

You are eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa if you satisfy the following criteria:

1. You are at least 16 years old.
2. You have access to at least £200,000 investment funds, which are held in one or more regulated financial institutions and free to spend ('disposable') on business in the UK.
3. You meet the English language requirement by either passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 or having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD or being a national of majority of English speaking countries.
4. You are able to demonstrate that you are a 'genuine' entrepreneur and satisfy the 'genuineness test'.
5. You can support yourself during your stay.
6. You are able to score 95 points for attributes.

If you wish to run business together with your business partner, you can form an 'entrepreneurial team' with one other Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant and share the same investment funds. You and your team member must meet all the application requirements above.

Once your visa application is granted, you will need to ensure the conditions of this type of visa are met:

• £200,000 are invested in a new or existing business in the UK within three years.
• Entrepreneur has registered himself as a director or self-employed individual within 6 months and at the end of the three years, still be acting as a director or self-employed individual.
• Applicants must have hired two new members of staff for at least 12 months within the 3 years.

Extension and Settlement

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is temporary, permitting you to enter the UK for a maximum of three years and four months. However, you can apply to extend this visa for another two years, or you can apply to settle permanently in the UK:

a. after spending five years in the UK in this category;
b. after spending three years in the UK in this category and:

  • you have created 10 new full time jobs for 12 months in the first 3 years; or
  • your business has a turnover of at least £5 million in the first 3 years.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme is created specifically for recent graduates who have been endorsed either by a recognised UK education institution or by the Department for International Trade as part of the elite global graduate entrepreneur programme (Sirius) in order to further their business plans in the UK. This is a great opportunity for recent graduates who have a genuine and credible business idea to put their skills and knowledge into practice in the UK through setting their own business.

Tier 1 Graduate Intrapreneur endorsed by a UK higher education institution.

1. In order to qualify for this visa route you need to have a Bachelor, Masters or PhD degree from a recognised Tier 4 UK educational institution, who holds 'Highly Trusted Sponsor' status.
Your educational institution has a central role in identifying whether you have developed a genuine and credible business idea and in endorsing and supporting you.


2. You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.


3. You also need to have sufficient savings in your bank account in order to prove you can support yourself without recourse to public funds.

4. You need to meet the English language requirement.


5. Certain other criteria and qualifications have to be satisfied, for example:

a. the business should have the potential to add to the UK economy rather than routine business that will compete with other traders;
b. if endorsed, you must be committed to spending the majority of your working time on developing the business idea.


Your educational institution will need to be involved with you by ensuring you continue contact with them and to assess any progression regularly to ensure you are still participating and actively developing your business.

Tier 1 Graduate Intrapreneur endorsed by the Department for International Trade

1. In order to qualify for this visa route you need to have a degree qualification that is recognised as being equal to a UK bachelor's degree according to UK NARIC.


2. You need to meet additional criteria set by the Department for International Trade.


3. You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.

4. You also need to have sufficient savings in your bank account in order to prove you can support yourself without recourse to public funds.


5. You need to meet the English language requirement.

Once you get a visa

If your application is successful you will obtain a Graduate Entrepreneur visa valid for 12 months, with the possibility of extension for a further 12 months subject to satisfactory progress. Your dependants may join you to live in the UK whilst you hold this visa.

You should only start your business once your visa application is successful. If you are switching from Tier 4 visa, it does not allow you to work on a self-employed basis before you obtain Tier 1.

As a Graduate Entrepreneur you will be required to dedicate full time in developing your business and your progress will be regularly assessed by the sponsoring institution. However, you may do additional part-time work as long as it does not exceed 20 hours a week.

After 24 months spent in Graduate Entrepreneur visa category you will be eligible to switch to Tier 1 Entrepreneur with reduced investment funds of £50,000. We strongly advise all our clients to consider this option, which will give you more freedom in conducting your business (you will no longer be dependent on your sponsoring institution) and more importantly enable you to qualify for settlement.

Prospective Entrepreneur

If you are over 18 and considering to do business in the UK, you may wish to visit the UK and explore the options available here. The Prospective Entrepreneur visa is suitable for people who are in discussions with venture capitalists or UK government departments to join, set up, or take over and be actively involved in the running of a business in the United Kingdom.

This type of visa enables you to enter the UK for a maximum of 6 months to allow you to secure funding to meet the financial criteria for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

You may apply as a Prospective Entrepreneur if your primary intention in applying as a Prospective entrepreneur is to secure funding in order to join, set up or take over, and be actively involved in the running of a business in the UK and you can show support from:

1. One or more registered venture capitalist firms regulated by the financial conduct authority; or
2. One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is listed as endorsed on the Department for International Trade website; or
3. One or more UK Government Departments.

You need to demonstrate your intention to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the period of the visit, unless you make a successful application for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) Migrant before the end of the period of the visit.

Your primary purpose must not be:

1. take employment in the United Kingdom;
2. produce goods or provide services within the United Kingdom, including the selling of goods or services direct to members of the public;
3. undertake a course of study;
4. marry or form a civil partnership, or to give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
5. receive private medical treatment.

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU

We have the experience to advise you whether you are qualified to get this type of visa and we can assist you to make your application to make the process as smooth as possible.

Please contact our firm on 020 81 44 55 88, via email on info@LSLegaLUK.com or use the contact box to discuss your matter or make an appointment.