The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur Visa) was an immigration route to the UK, which allowed international business executives to establish a new business or take over an existing business in the UK.
After being in the UK on this visa for 5 years (or 3 years if you qualify for accelerated settlement), the applicant could apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK- this is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain.
UPDATE: As of April 2019, you can no longer apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. This visa has been replaced by the Innovator Visa and the Start Up Visa.
However, extension applications for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and applications for permanent settlement in the UK will remain open until 5th April 2025.
What is a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa?
You can no longer apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. The Home Office announced a closure to the scheme in March 2019. They continued to process the applications that were still waiting on decisions, but no longer began accepting new applications submitted after this date.
The visa scheme was closed after the Government re-evaluated immigration routes for business individuals. They decided that introducing Innovator Visas and Start-Up Visas was the right way to go, instead.
If you want to set up or run a business in the UK, you might be eligible for an Innovator Visa or a Start-Up Visa instead.
But let’s talk about the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa when it was open for applications.
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa allowed foreign business executives to come to the UK for around 40 months, to set up a new business in the UK, or be actively involved in running a UK business.
Applicants could apply to extend their stay in the UK for 2 years. They could also apply to settle in the UK after 5 years.
Visa holders could be fast-tracked for permanent settlement, depending on the growth of their business in the UK. Those who turned over at least £5 million could apply to settle in the UK after 3 years, rather than the standard 5 years. Additionally, those who created 10 or more full-time jobs in their UK business cold also gain accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain.
What are the requirements for an Entrepreneur Visa?
As of April 2019, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa route is no longer accepting applications.
When this visa scheme was open, the applicant had to satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
- Set up a business in the UK, or run an existing UK business, for a period of 3 years and 4 months (40 months total).
- The business was required to be trading within the UK economy, with its registered office in the UK. The business was also required to have a UK bank account and be subject to UK taxation.
- Be actively involved in working for the business.
- Create at least 2 full-time jobs in the business, which must have existed for at least 12 months.
- Be registered as a director, or as self-employed, within 6 months of being granted the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.
- Meet the financial requirements, by showing proof of the minimum amount of funding available to be invested in a UK business. Applicants were asked to have cash funds of at least £200,000.
- The money must have been held in a UK regulated financial institution, or be transferable to the UK and convertible to Sterling.
- Be able to financially support yourself and any dependents while in the UK, without relying on public funds.
- Meet the English language requirements.
- Must not have had more than 180 days’ absence from the UK during any consecutive 12 months of the qualifying period.
What is the alternative to applying for an Entrepreneur Visa?
Now that the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa scheme has closed (as of April 2019), you can apply for an Innovator Visa or Start Up Visa instead.
Read our quick summary below, to learn more about both these visas, which replaced the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.
The Innovator Visa is aimed at people who have experience in their field of business, whereas the Start Up Visa is for first-time business owners.
- A visa route for foreign business executives.
- Allows you to stay in the UK for 3 years.
- You can apply to extend an Innovator Visa.
- Aimed at experienced businesspersons looking to establish a new business idea based in the UK.
- You are required to have a scalable business idea that is likely to grow well.
- Your business idea must be completely different from anything else that is registered within the UK market.
- You cannot join a business that is already trading.
- You must be 18 years old or over, in order to qualify for the visa.
- You must speak and write English to a high standard.
- You must have an endorsement letter from an endorsing body, confirming that your business plan is genuine, original, and achievable.
- You must be able to prove that you can financially support yourself during your time in the UK. You are asked to provide evidence that you have at least £1270 in your bank account, for 28 consecutive days before your application date.
- You are not allowed to do any work other than your business activities, such as paid work for another employer, or work as a professional sportsperson.
- You cannot claim most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.
- Your partner and children can apply to come with you to the UK as your ‘dependants’.
Start Up Visa
- A visa route for aspiring entrepreneurs who are not from the UK.
- Allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years.
- You cannot apply to extend the visa.
- Aimed at talented, high-potential individuals who want to establish an innovative new business for the first time.
- Your innovative business idea could be a brand new product, service, or an original approach to an existing product or service.
- You must be able to prove that your business idea is original and innovative. The business idea must also be viable, which means that it can contribute to the UK market by creating jobs.
- The business plan must be realistic and achievable.
- You will need an endorsement letter from an endorsing body that has assessed your business plan.
- You must not neglect your business: you must keep working on it.
- You must be over 18 years old.
- You must meet the English language requirements.
- Have enough funds (at least £1270 in savings) to support yourself independently while living in the UK, without relying on public funds (benefits).
- You are allowed to work for another company alongside your own business, to support yourself. However, you are expected to dedicate most of your time to developing your business.
- Your partner and children can apply to come with you to the UK as your ‘dependants’.
- You cannot settle in the UK on this visa.
Where can I get help on my visa application?
The immigration professionals at Synergy Immigration Solutions understand the complexity of the UK’s immigration laws and the issues that can arise during the application process.
That is why we house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost, for complete support on your visa application.
We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their visa applications- whether it is a worker visa, sponsorship visa, student visa or visitor visa.
We have a high success rate of helping submit successful immigration application, so they can work or live in the UK for the short term, or for long stays.
- We will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you time, effort, workload, and stress.
- We will respond to all of your inquiries and concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success.
- We process all applications in an efficient and timely manner and keep our clients updated at every step.
Rest assured, you are in good hands if you leave your visa application to us.
It is vital that the correct documentation is in place to ensure the application is approved. We would always recommend that you appoint a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to manage this process for you.
Synergy Immigration Solutions is an OISC-registered company, offering a wide range of UK immigration visa services for both corporate and individual clients needing assistance with their visa issues and concerns.
Visit our company website here to learn more.
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