What is a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application?
*Note: making initial applications under this route is no longer available – prospective entrepreneurs will have to make an application under the innovator visa. Follow the link for more information on how we can help you meet the new requirements.*
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application process permits individuals to enter and relocate to the UK with the purpose of establishing a business in the country. The entrepreneur visa is most suitable for High Net Worth individuals who are intending to start a new business in the UK or to take over an existing UK business.
Eligibility criteria for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application
In order to make a successful a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application, you must meet the following criteria set out by the Home Office:
- You must have £200,000 (or in rare cases £50,000) available to invest in the UK
- Beyond your investment capital, you must have sufficient funds available to support yourself and any dependants who come to the UK with you
- Your must have good command of the English language
- You must be at least 16 years of age
- You must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- As part of your application, you have to pass the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’
- Score at least 95 points in the points-based system
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application funding requirements
To satisfy the funding requirements for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you must demonstrate that you have access to funds to invest in the UK of either:
- At least £200,000 OR
- At least 50,000 from
- One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is/are listed as endorsed on the Department for International Trade (DIT) page
- One or more UK Government Departments or Devolved Government Departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
- One or more registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); please note that this is not apply to those switching from a Tier 4 category)
The funds must be held in a UK-regulated financial institution or be transferable to the UK and convertible to pound sterling.
If the money is available to your business, rather than to you as an individual, then the business must be a company or a partnership. The money used in your application must remain available to you or your business until it is spent for the purpose of your business or businesses.
Documentary evidence required for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application
In order to make a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application you must pass the Genuine Entrepreneur test. The test supplements the overall application and it is a way of proving your credibility as an entrepreneur. A comprehensive business plan is a key component towards assessing your suitability to be an entrepreneur as their knowledge and market research will be assessed.
Additionally, part of the test will include an interview conducted by the Home Office where you will be asked about yourself and your aforementioned business plan. The result of your performance on the Genuine Entrepreneur test can heavily impact your overall application. For more information on the Genuine Entrepreneur test, visit the following:
You will be expected to provide detailed documentary evidence demonstrating not only how you meet the points-based criteria such as access to funding, the ability to maintain yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funding and meeting the English language requirement (if relevant).
Can my dependants join me on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
- If you have successfully obtained a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, your dependent family members can join you. Your family members must have a visa if they are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- You must have £1,890 to support each dependant if you are applying from outside the UK or if you have been in the UK for less than 12 months. If you have been in the UK for more than 12 months, you must have £630 for each dependant.
- Your dependants are also required to pay an additional healthcare surcharge as part of their application.
What’s the difference between a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and a Tier 1 Team Entrepreneur visa?
Two applicants instead of one can form a team and share the burden of meeting the stipulated funding criteria when applying for a Tier 1 Team Entrepreneur visa, provided that all of the following requirements are met:
- Your team has an equal level of control over the funds and (where relevant) equal status as owners or members of the business
- Your team are both shown separately by name, passport number and (where relevant) PBS reference number in each application and in the specified evidence required
- Neither member of your team has previously been granted leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant while relying on the same funds as in the current application
Your team members do not need to contribute equally to the stipulated funding criteria but both need access to it. Your team members do not have to apply from the same location. If you think the Tier 1 Team Entrepreneur visa may be more suitable for you, click here for more information.
How long can you stay in the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
You can stay in the UK on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for 3 years and 4 months after which you can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension.
The amount of time the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can be extended for depends on which visa category you are in when applying for your extension. If you are switching to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa from another category, you can extend the visa for an additional 3 years. If you already hold a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa when applying for an extension, you can only extend your stay for an additional 2 years.
You may also be able to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) once you have been in the UK for 5 years, or via the 3-year route if you meet the stipulated criteria under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur accelerated settlement route.
How NA Law Solicitors can assist with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application
A Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application has a very high rate of refusal; therefore, it is imperative that you seek specialist legal advice at the outset of your application. At NA Law Solicitors, our team of specialist immigration solicitors can assist with the process by;
- Providing an initial assessment of your eligibility to apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
- Drafting a detailed list of documents outlining the evidence you will need to apply alongside your application. We will work with you to ensure that this meets with the format stipulated by the Home Office
- Working with your business plan drafters to ensure that the information presented demonstrates your competence, credibility and knowledge of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur process
- Helping you prepare for the Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur interview
- Assisting your preparation for the Genuine Entrepreneur test by identifying areas of concerns and working with you to ensure you provide an accurate assessment of your ability to meet the test requirements
- Drafting detailed legal representations in support of your application
- Liaising with the Home Office until a final decision is made on your application