Tier 1 (entrepreneur) Visas were designed by the Home Office as a tool to let talented entrepreneurs with access to funds to start up their business in the UK. 

When it was first launched it was praised as a straightforward route to the UK for global talent. Now, after the introduction of the ‘genuine entrepreneur’ test and the case workers being given a discretionary power to refuse, the route has become one of the most difficult, and we see a wide scope of businesses and individuals falling foul.

Requirements to enter the route

  • Access to £200,000 to invest in a business in the UK (or a reduced £50,000 if you are currently in the UK as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or the funds are provided by a registered venture capital firm, Government Department or Seed funding competition)  
  • Pass the prescribed English language test
  • Hold sufficient funds to maintain themselves and any dependants over and above the £200,00
  • Provide a valid criminal record certificate from each of the countries you have been resident in (if applying from abroad)
  • Provide a Tuberculosis test certificate, if applying from a relevant country 
  • Be a ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’

Along with the above requirements, it is important to take into account the requirements for extending your visa in the UK as well as the requirements to settle, such as employing two settled workers full time and meeting the residency requirements. 

We know that every business is different, and every entrepreneur wants to do develop their proposal in a way that is best for them. We can offer you a tailored Immigration package depending on what you need as well as having colleagues from across the firm who can assist with all aspects of getting your company established in the UK.

The Genuine Entrepreneur Test

As part of your application you will need to demonstrate that you hold the relevant skills, background and experience to meet this requirement. The Home Office require a business plan to evidence your proposals.

Extending your stay as a Tier 1

Getting a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa allow you to enter the UK and stay for an initial period of three years and four months to establish your business in the UK. If you meet the additional requirements you can extend your stay, and after 5 years you can settle in the UK, if you meet the rest of the requirements.

  • In order to remain after your first three years you will need to meet all of the requirements to extend your visa which include:
  • Investing your money into the business
  • Employing two full time settled workers for at least 12 months
  • Registering yourself as a director of the company within six months of entering the UK

These requirements ought to be considered form the outset. It is important to plan for recruitment and investment as soon as you arrive in the UK, as a delay could result in your extension visa being refused. 

We can help with business and immigration planning to give you the best prospects with both your immigration applications and your business.

Settling in the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) 

After completing three or five years in the UK, depending on how many settled workers are employed, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement). There are, as you would expect, more requirements that you must satisfy, namely:

  • Continued to employ at least 2 full time settled workers
  • Meet the requirements in relations to absences form the UK
  • Pass a life in the UK Test

After settling in the UK you can then go on to naturalise as a British Citizen if you choose. 

How can we help you? 

If you have a business idea and are keen to develop it in the UK and you think that you meet the requirements, or if you just want help taking things for word we can assist. We will meet with you, either in person, over the phone or by Skype, to get a detailed understanding of what your needs are so that we can advise you on the best way forward. 

As well as helping you get a visa we can provide compressive legal advice across a broad range of sectors. We have experienced business lawyers to help you with your corporate structure and our employment team can assist as you grow your workforce. Shepherd and Wedderburn are uniquely placed, with expert solicitors in sectors across the UK, to be on hand to help you get the best for your business.