10 tips for making a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application
Here are our top 10 tips for making a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application:
1. Prepare early
The date that your visa expires in the UK is the deadline for when you must either apply to extend your stay or leave the UK. Since the introduction of paragraph 39E in the immigration rules, an application which does not meet this deadline will only be accepted if it is submitted within 14 days of the date of expiry of leave and there is a good reason outside your and your representative’s control as to why the application was late. This means that it is really important that you are able to apply on time, and so making the application at the last minute should be avoided. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is one of the more paper intensive applications and you will require many documents from third parties, so it is important to allow others time to prepare the documents that you will need from them.
2. Keep documents as you go
In order to show that you are a genuine entrepreneur, it is helpful to include some evidence of what the business has been doing since you first entered the category, although this is not mandatory. Some of these documents you will be required to keep for accounting purposes in any event, but you might also want to think about some of the key documents you might want to show the Home Office as your business develops. Gathering and filing theses at the time will make the extension application process much simpler.
3. Do your sums
A lot of the information that you need for the extension application is numerical – whether this is number of hours worked for your employees or amount of funds invested, it is important that you do your calculations properly (in the way that the Home Office will) to ensure you will be able to meet the requirements before making your application.
4. Make sure your accountant knows what you need
The Home Office have a list of accountant qualification/regulations from whom they will accept accounts for the purpose of a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application. This includes:
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales,
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland,
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland,
- the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants,
- the Association of Authorised Public Accountants,
- the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy,
- the Institute of Financial Accountants,
- the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants,
- the Association of International Accountants, or
- the Association of Accounting Technicians.
In addition to checking that your accountants have a regulator which is accepted by the Home Office, you should also check that they are able to assist with the documents that you require. For example, they may also hold documents relating to your corporation tax and your payroll which you will need to submit with your application. Ensuring that your accountant understands the Home Office requirements will be key to ensuring a successful application.
5. Remember maintenance funds
Maintenance Funds must be held for 90 days. There is no discretion in the rules to hold them for a shorter period. While it can be easy to focus on the business aspects of the application, it is important to remember that a single flaw, such as holding your maintenance funds for 89 days rather than the required 90 could cause your application to refused, no matter how great your business is. In order to avoid this, decide which personal bank account you will rely on for the maintenance funds more than 90 days before you wish to apply and check that the balance is sufficient for yourself and any family members also relying on this account. This account should either not be touched for the 90 day period, or if this is not an option, the balance carefully monitored.
6. Check how much notice your bank will need
The Home Office have strict requirements for the format of documents that they will accept from banks and different banks meet these requirements in different ways. In some cases, banks will be happy to stamp a statement that you have printed at home, while others will permit you to print original statements in branch. Other banks, however, will not provide instant access to original statements in the required format and will instead invite you to order these in advance to be collected or delivered to you by post. It can be helpful to speak to your bank in advance to find out what they will permit, so that you can prepare for when you are ready to make your application.
7. Consider any travel abroad
The standard processing time for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension application is 8 weeks, however it is common for processing by the Home Office to take much longer than this in some cases. Therefore, if you are required to travel frequently for business reasons, making the application has the potential to interrupt your international travel. You may want to consider making the application earlier than required or delaying travel to fit around the application. For any important trips, evidence of these can be submitted with the application to explain that you are required for travel on a particular date, so that the the caseworker is aware of both the need and the reason for travel from the date that the application is submitted.
8. Think about your route to settlement
Before making an application to extend, it is always worth looking to see if you might meet the requirements to settle on the accelerated route, if you have increased turnover by £5 million or have created 10 jobs for the settled population. However, even if not, it is worth considering what your ultimate route to settlement might be. This might include considering other categories, such as the long residence route, if you have been in the UK continuously and lawfully for 10 years. However, it might also just include matters such as ensuring that your next extension will take you to complete the full five years as an Entrepreneur, so as to avoid having to make a second extension application. This will be particularly important for individuals who want to make their application early to ease travel arrangements or those with a large number of absences, particularly at the start of their five year period.
9. Check your documents meet the specified evidence requirements
The Immigration Rules contain a number of specified requirements for the form and content of the documents that you submit to prove that you have met the substantive requirements of the Rules. If you fail to meet one of these requirements, you could find that your application is refused. It is therefore very important to check each individual document meets the requirements of the Immigration Rules prior to submitting your application.
10. Present your application professionally
If you present your application properly, this can help the Home Office make the correct decision on your application. With an organised application, it will be easier for the Immigration Officer to find the documents. It can also help to include an explanation of exactly how you meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules and what documents have been submitted for each requirement. The policy guidance for Entrepreneur applications suggests that providing such a letter will assist the processing of the application and can speed up consideration where the situation is unusual or complex.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
If you would like any further advice or information about the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category or would like help extending your stay then please email Gillian McCall. Alternatively, you can reach our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.