Understanding the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to explore other territories outside your country, the UK has the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. It is a visa category that lets you live in the United Kingdom while taking over, setting up, or involved in running a UK-based business. The type is under the UK Visas and Immigration division’s points-based system.

Requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application

If you plan to set up or manage a business in the UK, you fall under the entrepreneur category; thus, a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is your option. The visa category requires 95 points under the points-based system and carries several major requirements. To facilitate your visa application process, you should work with a business immigration expert.  

Investment funds 

Access to funds amounting to £50,000 or £200,000 for business investment in the United Kingdom is equivalent to 75 points. The requirements differ according to the investment funds you have, which are subject to a credibility check.

  1. Investing £50,000

You can apply for a Tier 1 visa with a £50,000 investment fund if you can secure funding from any of these sources:

  • A Financial Conduct Authority-registered venture capital fund
  • A UK devolved government department or a UK government department
  • From the approved seed fund from a Department for International Trade organisation

There are two other options to qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa based on the £50,000 investment fund:

  • You have made a previous investment of £50,000 in a UK-based business in the past 12 months
  • If you were granted leave as a Graduate Entrepreneur and are applying to remain in the country
  1. Investing £200,000

Your requirements when you have £200,000 to invest:

  • Proof that the £200,000 investment fund is your own money
  • Proof that the money is from a third party, such as an investor, partner, or your spouse
  • A joint account with your partner or spouse, provided they are not applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

English language proficiency

Tier 1 visa applications require the applicants to be proficient in the English language, under any of these conditions:

  • Passing the authorised English language test and scoring at least CEFR level B1 in speaking, reading, listening, and writing; or
  • You hold a college or university degree that was taught in English that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the UK, or you are holding a master’s degree or a PhD

Exempted from the English language proficiency requirements are applicants from countries where British English is an official language.

The requirement for maintenance funds

This requirement shows that you can support yourself while staying in the UK, and separate from your investment funds. This is worth 10 points. For entry clearance (first-time applicant from outside the UK), you should have savings of at least £3,310 in your account for 90 days before your visa application.

Other vital documents

Aside from the meeting the requirements stated above, you need to submit the following:

  • Current passport and essential travel documents
  • Proof of investment funds through an official letter or bank statements
  • Proof of maintenance funds
  • Detailed business plan
  • Test certificate for passing the English language exam
  • Criminal record certificate (from countries where you stayed for 12 months within 10 years)
  • Tuberculosis test results (if required)
  • Pass the UKVI-administered genuine entrepreneur test

Keep in mind that even if you fulfil all the requirements, there is no assurance that your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application will be approved by the UKVI.