Tier 1 Entrepreneur: An Overview
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route is now officially closed to new applicants as of 29th March 2019. The following information is retained for historical interest only.
If you are hoping to come to the UK to start a business, please see information regarding the Innovator visa or the Start-up visa. If you have any questions regarding business visas in the UK, please contact us directly.
What is the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is a category designed for individuals who wish to establish themselves in self employment within the UK. Applicants can either set up a new business within the UK, or take over and develop an existing business, including franchises.
There is no requirement to show previous experience of running a business, however applicants need to show that they are capable and committed to this path.
How do you qualify?
To be eligible for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Investment Funds - access to cash funds of at least £200k (£50k in limited circumstances) which will be invested into the UK company. Two entrepreneur applicants can come together as a team and share funds eg/ both bring £100k or one applicant brings £175k, the other £25k. Funds can also be provided by a third party, however this must be evidenced carefully.
- Knowledge of English Language – Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants must demonstrate English Language of at least B1 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), evidenced by taking an appropriate test, being a nationals of a majority English speaking country or holding a degree which was taught in English.
- Genuine Entrepreneur Test. In addition to the above, it is vital for applicants to demonstrate their intention and ability to establish a business within the UK. The primary way in which this is shown is by provision of a business plan, which includes accurate market research, competitor analysis and financial predictions. Most applicants will be required to attend an interview with Home Office case workers, in which they will be questioned on the details of their business plan and their proposed company.
How long is Tier 1 Entrepreneur granted for?
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas are initially granted for three years if applying within the UK, or 3 years and 4 months if applying outside the UK. After this applicants may apply for an extension for a further two years.
In order to qualify for the extension, applicants must be able to show that the required amount of money has been invested, and that a minimum of two full-time jobs have been created from their business activities. They must also have registered as a UK company director or as self-employed no later than six months after the visa was granted.
It is not a requirement to have established the exact business outlined in the initial business plan, as the Home Office accept that plans may have changed over the duration of the visa.
What restrictions are there?
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders are not permitted to work for any other organisation besides their own business.
Whilst almost all business varieties are accepted within this category, an exception comes within the area of property management and development. It is permitted for Entrepreneur holders to operate these companies, however investment and job creation within them will not be accepted in terms of the extension requirements. Please note however that this does not apply to companies involved with construction.
It is worth taking care when planning absences from the UK, as Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders will not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if they spend more than six months a year outside the UK.
Can you include family members in this visa?
Applicants can include partners and children aged under 18 on this visa, they will be granted the same length of time as the main applicant. These family members will be able to work or establish their own businesses in the UK.
Does this visa lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?
Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders will become eligible to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after five years provided that they continue to meet job creation requirements. They will also need to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement and ensure that UK absences are within permitted limits.
Family members will also usually be eligible for ILR after completing 5 years as a dependant.
There is an accelerated route to settlement available to those who have made a significant investment in the UK or have created at least full time 10 jobs.
How can we help?
Here at White Rose Visas we offer both a Standard Entrepreneur Package and an Enhanced Entrepreneur Package to comprehensively support all Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications. These services can be provided for both single applicants and team applications.