Bishop & Sewell

What is it?

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is designed to enable entrepreneurs to come to the UK in order to establish or join a business.

What are the main requirements?

To qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they are a genuine entrepreneur meaning they have a credible business plan and the relevant skills/experience to successfully establish or join a business;
  • they have access to at least £200,000* to invest in the business;
  • they meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR);
  • they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves;
  • they hold a valid criminal record certificate (if applying from abroad);
  • they have a valid TB test certificate, if applying from a relevant country; and
  • they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

It is also possible to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category if you are already in the UK under Tier 1, 2 or 4 of the points-based system.

*Minimum investment funds of £50,000 can be used:

  1. if provided by a registered venture capitalist firm, UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or UK Government Department; or
  2. if the applicant is currently in the UK with leave under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post Study Work) routes.

How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?

Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. Those who are eligible to switch into this category from inside the UK will be granted an initial period of leave of 3 years.

Applicants may apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 2 years providing they meet a number of strict requirements including the following:

  • they have formally registered as a director of a business or as a self-employed person within 6 months of either entering the UK or being granted permission to stay in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur);
  • they have created at least two full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months;
  • they have invested the required funds into the business or businesses in the UK; and
  • they are able to demonstrate that they continue to be a genuine entrepreneur.

Super Premium Service

It is now possible for those making applications in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category to use the Home Office’s Super Premium Service in certain cases. Eligible applicants can receive a decision on their application within 3-5 days. Please contact us for further information about this service.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (otherwise known as ‘Settlement’)?

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held Tier 1 Entrepreneur status for a period of at least 5* years. In order to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, applicants must demonstrate that they continue to meet the requirements as listed above.

Applicants must also demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of 5 years* in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
  • they have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days in any 12 month period throughout the qualifying years relied on for the application; and
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test.

*Applicants may qualify for accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years if they have created 10 new jobs or their business received at least £5 million in income from business activity throughout the 3 years.

How we can help?

The requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome. They will also fully advise on the requirements to be satisfied for extension, settlement and British nationality applications.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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