The United Kingdom Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa aims to make the UK entrepreneurial scene more inclusive and more diverse. If you are outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, consider applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa to set up or run a business in the UK.
The countries within the EEA are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are territories also included in the EEA.
The earliest you can apply for the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is three months before you travel. One you apply, you should get a decision on your visa within three weeks. There are different prices depending on your situation, where you are and how you apply. You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
You can come to the UK with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for a maximum of three years and four months. You can extend your status for another two years if you’re already in the same visa category. If you are switching from another visa category to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you can extend your status for three years. You could also apply for settlements- or ‘indefinite leave to remain’ once you’ve been in the UK for five years.
So What Can You Do With The Entrepreneur Visa?
- Set up or take over the running of one business or more
- Work for your business, including being self-employed.
- Bring family members with you
What Can’t You Do With The Entrepreneur Visa?
- Do any work outside your business, for example be employed by another business
- Get public funds
How Do You Know If You’re Eligible?
To be eligible for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply. There are different eligibility requirements based on the level of investment funds you have access to, e.g. £50,000 or £200,000.
Your Funds Must Be
- Held in one or more financial institutions
- Free to spend on business in the UK
You Must Also
- Meet the English Language requirement
- Be able to support yourself during your stay
- Be at least 16 years old
You can also form an entrepreneurial team with one other Tier 1 entrepreneur applicant and share the same investment funds. You and your team member will have to meet all the application requirements and:
- Not use the same funds on another application with a different entrepreneurial team
- Provide all the documents needed for evidence of the funds with your own applications
Knowledge Of English
When you apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you may need to prove your knowledge of the English Language. You can prove your knowledge of English by either:
- Passing an approved English Language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
- 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
You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
The £50,000 Investment Fund Entrepreneur Visa
- To apply for the £50,000 investment fund visa, you can apply if you have access to £50,000 in investment funds from:
- A UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by the Department for International Trade (DIT)
- A government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
- A venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Applying Outside The UK
You must apply online for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. You’ll also need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application. You will need to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK, even if you arrive at a later date. You might be able to get your visa faster depending on the country you’re in – just check with your visa application centre.
You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).
You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.
If You Want To Extend Your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, You’ll Need To:
- Meet the eligibility requirements
- Be registered as a director or as self-employed no more than six months after the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
prove you’ve been self-employed or working as a director of a business three months before you applied
- Have created at least two full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months
You must have invested into one or more UK businesses either:
- £200,000 in cash
- £50,000 in cash if your initial application was based on having funds from an approved funding source
After applying to extend your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, a decision will be made on your application within eight weeks. If your application is complex, it might take longer and you’ll be contacted to perhaps arrange an interview, verify supporting documents or question previous criminal convictions. Once you’ve applied to extend the visa, you can stay in the UK until a decision has been reached, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.
When it comes to family, your dependants can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the EEA or from Switzerland. A dependant can be your partner, your child under 18, your child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as a dependant. You’ll also need to show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK by showing that each dependant has a certain amount of money available to them in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself. You must have proof of funds, and the money has to have been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.
Family members must apply online and have their fingerprints and photographs taken at a visa application centre as part of their application to get a biometric residence permit. The permit will then have to be collected within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK, even if they actually arrive at a later date. Dependants might be able to get their visa faster depending on the country they are in when they apply. Just check with your visa application centre.
If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply for permission for them to stay if you want to travel in and out of the UK with them. To do this, when you apply send a full UK birth certificate for each child showing the names of both parents.
Final Words: The UK’s Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The UK is an exciting high-tech hub for entrepreneurs and welcomes innovation and modernisation. So make sure you know all there is to know about the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa before applying to ensure that you can take part in the UK’s startup scene! As entrepreneurs ourselves, Linkilaw can give you information on how to successfully apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. Get in touch so we can give you cost-effective and efficient advice and support.
Got any questions about immigration laws or a visa for entrepreneurs? Then book a free Startup Legal Session and get all your most pressing questions answered. Click the image below and book your call.