The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is designed for individuals planning to start a UK business from scratch, take over an existing business or invest in a business they are already involved with in some way. The most important requirement to qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is access to a minimum of £200,000 (£50,000 for some applicants) which must be held by a recognised and regulated financial institution in the UK.
In order to qualify for settled status (aka indefinite leave to remain), the Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant must spend a minimum of five consecutive years in the UK. However, it’s possible to reduce this requirement to just three years if the business established generates a minimum annual turnover of £5 million for three consecutive years, or creates a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for a period of one year.
Most Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas provide the recipient with a standard three years and four months of leave to remain in the UK. After which, there is the option of applying for an extension, which can grant a maximum of two more years’ leave to remain. The combined leave will subsequently satisfy the requirement to apply for indefinite leave to remain, granting successful applicants settled status in the United Kingdom.
Please note that this two-year extension of the original Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is neither automatic not guaranteed. As a result, it’s important that individuals living and working in the United Kingdom on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur abide by the terms and conditions of their visa at all times. It is typically on the basis of their compliance with all applicable Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules that their eligibility for an extension and subsequent settled status is determined.
Immigration legislation for entrepreneurs has been overhauled and modified several times over recent years. As of 2019, a basic overview of the most important rules and regulations by which Tier 1 Entrepreneurs must abide is as follows:
The above list is far from exhaustive and the complexities surrounding qualification for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur must not be underestimated. For more information or to discuss your case in more detail, contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today.
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
As already touched upon, individuals seeking entry to the UK by way of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa are required to pass what’s known as the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’. The test was introduced by the Home Office to ensure that those applying for such a visa have the genuine intention and ability to launch a new business in the UK, rather than simply gain access to the country for more general purposes. The Genuine Entrepreneur Test examines key elements of the applicant’s business strategy, existing assets and the general viability of their entrepreneurial intentions.
If you are unable to provide sufficient evidence of your past, current and intended business activities, you may struggle to qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.
Switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
There are various visa categories that allow individuals already in the United Kingdom to switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. You may be eligible to switch if your case is of sufficient strength and your previous leave to remain was assigned on the one of the following categories:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas are granted by way of a points-based system, requiring a minimum of 95 points to be earned on the part of the applicant. There are various factors considered by the Home Office and points awarded accordingly, which include the following:
A. Access to £200,000 or £50,000*
Every applicant must be able to provide evidence of access to a minimum of £200,000 (or £50,000 in some circumstances) held at a recognised and regulated financial institution in the UK. For applicants already residing in the UK, it is necessary for the funds to be held in their personal/private bank account.
Applicants are entitled to rely on third-party funding sources to raise the required £200,000 or £50,000, which may include spouses, civil partners and other third parties located within the United Kingdom and overseas
*Individuals already in the UK under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant scheme who intend to switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa need only provide evidence of £50,000 of accessible funds at the time. If the £50,000 is already invested in the applicant’s business, sufficient evidence must be provided to verify this. Likewise, if part of the £50,000 has been invested in the business and the remaining funds are held elsewhere, evidence of both must be provided to verify sufficient total funds to cover the £50,000 requirement.
Applicants in the UK as Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrants interested in switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas are also subject to the lower £50,000 requirement. Further evidence must be provided to submit such applications as follows:
B. English language requirement.
In accordance with Appendix B of the Immigration Rules, Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants must score a minimum of 10 points by satisfying formal English language requirements.
Documentation must be provided as evidence of competent English language skills to the specified standard. Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants can formally verify their English language skills in three ways as follows:
It’s also possible to fulfil all formal requirements for competent English language skills without the provision of evidence, if the applicant’s previous leave to remain in the UK was granted:
No formal evidence of English language skills is required in the event that the applicant was previously given leave to remain in the UK:
You can also meet the English language requirement without the need to provide evidence if you have ever been given permission to stay:
C. Maintenance Requirements
Maintenance refers to the amount of money the applicant must have access to, in order to satisfy Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa requirements in accordance with Appendix C of the Immigration Rules. A minimum of 10 points must be scored for maintenance for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application to be successful.
It is essential that the applicant provides evidence that they are able to support their activities and their lifestyle for the duration of their stay, with no requirement to claim benefits under any circumstances. They must also show that they have enough money to support any dependants who rely on them financially (where applicable).
Current maintenance requirements imposed by the Home Office are as follows:
Please note that it is not acceptable for the same savings/funds to be used to satisfy the requirements for £200,000 or £50,000 business funds and the maintenance required to finance your lifestyle and support your dependants. The requirements are completely separate and will be considered as such.
D. Genuine Entrepreneur Test
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications will only be considered where the applicant successfully passes the Genuine Entrepreneur Test.
The test is a mandatory requirement as part of an initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application, conducted by the Entry Clearance Office and designed to consider a variety of factors/indicators such as:
By taking into account these and other important factors, the Entry Clearance Officer will seek to determine whether or not:
As of September 1, 2015, the applicant and any adult dependants they intend to support financially must submit a criminal record certificate from any overseas country in which they have resided continuously for 12 months or more, during the 10-year period prior to their application.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application Form
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can appear complex and daunting at first glance. It’s important to remember that as the information you provide will play a key role in determining your eligibility, its completion should be approached with extreme care and attention. In order to complete and submit your application, you’ll need to visit the Home Office website by clicking the link below. It’s always useful to take a look at the application form to see the kind of information required, bur we also strongly advise speaking to an experienced immigration lawyer before completing and submitting your application.
Applicants interested in extending their Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas must score a minimum of 75 points, which can be earned as follows:
You must score at least 75 points for the above-mentioned attributes (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules).
– In order to qualify, the applicant must provide evidence of personal savings of at least £945 held for a minimum of 90 consecutive days before submitting their application.
– Where an applicant has lived for more than 12 months in the United Kingdom, they also need to provide evidence of personal savings totalling £630 or more for every dependant they support financially, held for a minimum of 90 days. Family members (dependants) are entitled to rely on their own personal savings to fulfil this requirement.
As you will have already provided evidence of your English language skills as part of your initial application, it is not necessary to provide further evidence when applying for an extension.
To qualify for an extension, it will be necessary to pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, which sees the Home Office scrutinise your status, your intentions and the viability of your business in the following ways:
In order to determine your eligibility for an extension, the Home Office will consider the following factors as part of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test:
Learn more about the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application by visiting the Home Office website and inspecting the online application form. Before completing and submitting your application, contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers to ensure your case is presented appropriately.
Why Apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
There are several key benefits that make the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas an appealing basis for legal entry and residence in the United Kingdom. Examples of which include but are by no means limited to the following:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Lawyers in Luton
Once again, the importance of securing appropriate legal representation before submitting your application cannot be overstated. Along with ensuring all relevant information is provided to process your application, you must also consider the supportive documentation and hard evidence required to prove your case.
Here at Aristone Solicitors, our elite business immigration team has the experience and expertise needed to streamline and simplify even the most complex applications. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure your UK business gets off to a strong and prosperous start.
For more information or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact a member of our business immigration team to book your obligation-free consultation.
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