Personal Immigration

TIER 1 ENTREPRENEUR

TIER 1 ENTREPRENEUR VISA

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route closed to most new applicants on 29 March 2019.   However, if you currently hold Tier 1 Entrepreneur leave, you can continue to apply to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur until 5 April 2023 and apply to settle in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur until 5 April 2025.

If you are a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur migrant or you previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and have since switched into the Startup category (or you were in one of these categories in the last 12 months) you can switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category until 5 July 2021.  You will be able to apply to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur until 5 July 2025 and apply to settle in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur until 5 July 2027.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is for non-EEA nationals who want to set up or invest in a business in the UK.

What are the main eligibility requirements for switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category from a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up visa?

In order to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category from a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up visa (having previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur migrant), you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have access to £50,000;
  • You have a business plan demonstrating how your business will succeed;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • You have enough additional money to support yourself without relying on public funds.

Historically, all applicants applying to enter the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category (including those switching from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur) had to satisfy the Home Office that they genuinely intended and were able to be actively involved in the running of a UK business and that they had a viable and credible business plan.

While the requirement to provide a business plan remains in the Immigration Rules, the rules relevant to the assessment of whether or not an Entrepreneur applicant is genuine, credible and if their business is viable have been removed for those switching from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up categories.

If applying from overseas, you and any adult dependants will need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country that you have lived in for at least 12 months in the last 10 years.

What else do I need to know about switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category from a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up visa?

Switching into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category (rather than the Innovator category) has the following advantages:

  • There is no requirement to obtain an endorsement before making an application;
  • There is no limit on the number of places available;
  • You can work in any industry and not just those with an endorsing body available;
  • You only need to create two jobs in order to extend your leave and settle in the UK;
  • You can potentially apply to settle after three years if you create 10 jobs;
  • You can change your business type without having to obtain a new endorsement;

Your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa will be valid for either 3 years and 4 months (if applying from overseas) or 3 years (if applying from within the UK).

You will need to register as a director of a UK company or as self-employed within 6 months, then invest your £50,000 and create at least 2 full-time jobs for members of the settled population that last for at least 12 months.

You will be able to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur for a further 2 years, before qualifying for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after 5 years. There is also an accelerated route to settlement as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur after 3 years if you create at least 10 new full-time jobs or your business has a turnover of at least £5 million.

In order to settle in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you will need to spend not more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12-month period and, unless aged 65 or over, have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK.  For settlement applications made from 11 January 2018, the Home Office will consider absences from the UK on a rolling basis, rather than in separate consecutive 12-month periods.

Your partner and any children under the age of 18 may accompany or join you as the Family Member of a PBS migrant.

As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holder you will not be permitted to take any employment other than working for the business or businesses that you have established, joined or taken over.

What are the main eligibility requirements for extending a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?

In order to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you will need to show that:

  • You registered as a business director or as self-employed within 6 months of entering the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category;
  • You are still registered as a business director or as self-employed within the 3 months prior to your date of application;
  • You have invested at least £200,000 or £50,000 (as appropriate) in a business or businesses in the UK;
  • You have created at least two full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK and these jobs have existed for at least 12 months;
  • You have established, taken over or become a director of a genuine UK business, genuinely operated that business and genuinely intend to continue operating the business;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • You have enough additional money to support yourself without relying on public funds.

What are the main eligibility requirements for settlement as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur?

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

  • You registered as a business director or as self-employed within 6 months of entering the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category;
  • You are still registered as a business director or as self-employed within the 3 months prior to your date of application;
  • You have invested at least £200,000 or £50,000 (as appropriate) in a business or businesses in the UK;
  • You have created at least two full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK and these jobs have existed for at least 12 months;
  • You have established, taken over or become a director of a genuine UK business, genuinely operated that business and genuinely intend to continue operating the business;
  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK with leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant, with not more than 180 days absent from the UK each year;
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom.

There is also an accelerated route to settlement as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur after 3 years if you create at least 10 new full-time jobs or your business has a turnover of at least £5 million.

How our immigration barristers can help

Richmond Chambers is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading immigration practices for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.  Our immigration barristers were awarded ‘Business Immigration Chambers of the Year in England’ at the 2018 Corporate Intl Magazine Global Awards,  ‘UK Business Immigration Barrister of the Year’ at the ACQ5 Law Awards 2018 and ‘Business Immigration Set of the Year’ at the Global Law Experts Awards 2017.   The work of our immigration barristers on behalf of entrepreneurs has also been recognised through membership of the Investment Migration Council and the Department of International Trade’s Investor Support Network.

Our team of immigration barristers has experience in assisting all types of entrepreneurs. Whether you are considering setting up and running a new business in the UK or looking to invest in an established business, our barristers are experts in the immigration options for entrepreneurs and will guide you through the complex Home Office rules and policies.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to entrepreneurs as part of a professional and friendly service.

We can also assist with

  • Identifying a Tier 1 Entrepreneur compliant UK business to invest in

    If, rather than setting up a new business, you would like to invest in and become a director of an existing UK business, we can put you in touch with investment management firms that maintain portfolios of Tier 1 Entrepreneur compliant UK businesses that are actively seeking foreign investment.

  • Drafting a Tier 1 Entrepreneur compliant business plan

    As part of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application, you will need to include a detailed business plan.  Our immigration barristers can assist you to identify a suitably qualified professional business plan writer, instruct the business plan writer on your behalf and then liaise with the plan writer to ensure that your Tier 1 Entrepreneur business plan satisfies the requirements of the Immigration Rules.

  • Genuine entrepreneur interview preparation for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants

    Our Genuine Entrepreneur Interview Preparation sessions include:

    • Advice as to potential interview questions;
    • One-to-one interview practice with an immigration barrister;
    • Constructive feedback on all aspects of your performance;
    • Advice and tips on further preparation and how to improve on any weak areas;
    • Time for you to ask questions and/or address any other concerns that you have about your genuine entrepreneur interview.
  • Applications for extension of stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur

    In order to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you will need to show that:

    • You registered as a business director or as self-employed within 6 months of either entering the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or being granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur;
    • You are still registered as a business director or as self-employed within the 3 months prior to your date of application;
    • You have invested at least £200,000 or £50,000 (as appropriate) in a business or businesses in the UK;
    • You have created at least two full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK and these jobs have existed for at least 12 months.

    You will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you have established, taken over or become a director of a genuine UK business, genuinely operated that business and genuinely intend to continue operating the business.

  • Applications for settlement (including accelerated routes) as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur

    If you have invested in a new or existing UK business and your investment has created at least two new full-time jobs, you may apply for permanent residence in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur after five years.

    You may qualify for accelerated settlement as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur after 3 years if you have created 10 new jobs or your business has received at least £5 million in income from business activity.

    In addition, unless you are aged 65 or over, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK.

    You will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you have established, taken over or become a director of a genuine UK business, genuinely operated that business and genuinely intend to continue operating the business.

    You can spend up to 180 days (six months) outside the UK each year and still qualify for indefinite leave to remain.  For settlement applications made from 11 January 2018, the Home Office will consider absences from the UK on a rolling basis, rather than in separate consecutive 12-month periods. If your qualifying period includes time before this date and you believe that this change would cause you exceptionally harsh consequences, you must set out the reasons.

  • Fresh applications, Administrative reviews and Judicial reviews for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs

    If your application for entry clearance, leave to remain or settlement as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the decision.

    If the decision-maker failed to apply the Immigration Rules or Home Office policy correctly, we can bring Administrative Review proceedings to challenge the decision.

    If the decision to refuse your application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.

WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?

To arrange an initial consultation meeting with one of our immigration barristers, contact our Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

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