Extending a Tier 1 Investor or Entrepreneur visa from abroad
While most people will prefer to remain in the UK to make their extension application in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Investor categories, there are a number of cases where it will be necessary or advantageous to leave the UK to make the application. In this article we will look at the reasons why you might want to consider doing this and how to deal with any potential problems that might arise from taking this course of action.
Why apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Investor visa from abroad?
Sometimes the need to make an application from abroad will arise for reasons outside the control of the migrant, for example due to the need to travel for either business or personal reasons near the time that the extension is due. In this case it will be unavoidable.
In other cases, individuals may choose to apply from outside of the UK. The main reason for this is that Entry Clearance applications generally are processed much quicker than applications in the UK. An extension application in the UK is processed with a standard time of 8 weeks, whereas many of the centres from abroad have priority processing in 5 business days, and in some places, such as the US, an application can be processed within 24 hours. While Entrepreneurs and Investors can use the Super Premium Service in the UK, this must usually be arranged several months in advance, and even if the application appointment is shared with others, the price is still much higher than the priority services abroad.
The other problem that a lot of people face in making their application in the UK is that for the entire time that the application is being processed, the Home Office will hold on to the applicant’s passport, until the application has been granted. For anyone who needs to travel frequently, this can cause problems. However, if the application is made from abroad, many application centres now allow an applicant to keep their passport while the application is processed.
Anyone considering these options should look at the priority and additional services offered in the place from which they will make their application, to ensure there will be the anticipated benefits before leaving the UK.
Potential Problems if the application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Investor visa is made from abroad
The first problem with making an application from abroad is that you will not be able to return to the UK while you application is pending. This may cause problems if your application is delayed or refused and you need to wait for Administrative or Judicial Review.
Secondly, anyone who is seeking to apply for ILR at the earliest opportunity will need to be careful when they apply. Paragraph 245AAA of the Immigration Rules states that during the relevant two, three or five year period:
(ii) the applicant has existing limited leave to enter or remain upon their departure and return except that:
(1) where that leave expired no more than 28 days prior to a further application for entry clearance which was made before 24 November 2016 and subsequently granted, that period and any period pending the applicant’s re-entry into the United Kingdom shall be disregarded; and
(2) where, on or after 24 November 2016, the applicant makes a further application for entry clearance during the currency of continuing limited leave which is subsequently granted, the period spent outside the UK with continuing leave and any period pending the applicant’s re-entry into the United Kingdom shall be disregarded;
This means that before 24 November 2016, if someone left the UK after the expiry of their leave, the application could still be made from abroad, within 28 days, and this would not interrupt the applicant’s continuous residence. However, this is no longer the case and an Applicant can no longer leave the UK after the expiry of their leave to make an entry clearance application, without interrupting the continuity of their leave.
A further issue is that days spent outside of the UK will count towards the 180 days absences permitted in each year. Anyone who already has high absences in the relevant year, or expects to need to travel in the following 12 months may want to avoid this action, as it may end up delaying the time that they are eligible to apply for ILR.
Making the Application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa or Tier 1 Investor visa from abroad
The application is made as normal for an Entry Clearance case using the visa4UK website. In the drop down when selecting the application form, there are different options for initial applications and extensions. Applicants should be sure to select the correct option.
The Immigration Rules confirm that any application for Entry Clearance made within 12 months of the applicant last holding leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Investor will be assessed under the extension criteria.
For Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants, paragraph 37 of Appendix A states:
Available points are shown in Table 5 for extension applications for applicants who have entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, or have had such leave in the 12 months immediately before the date of application.
While, for Tier 1 Investor migrants, paragraph 56 states:
- (a) Available points for entry clearance or leave to remain are shown in Table 8A for an applicant who:
(i) has had entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant, which was granted under the Rules in place from 6 November 2014, in the 12 months immediately before the date of application, […]
(b) Available points for entry clearance or leave to remain are shown in Table 8B for an applicant who:
(i) has had entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant, under the Rules in place before 6 November 2014 in the 12 months immediately before the date of application; […]
The basis of the application should be made clear in the covering letter to assist the Entry Clearance Officer in applying the immigration Rules correctly.
Indefinite Leave to Remain applications in these categories must always be made from within the UK.
Contact our Entrepreneur Visa Immigration Barristers
If you would like advice or assistance with making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Investor application from abroad, contact Gillian McCall. Alternatively, you can reach our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.