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Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa - £50,000 investment funds

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if:

  • You want to set up or run a business in the UK
  • You’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements

You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.

Eligibility

You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

Your funds must be:

  • Held in 1 or more regulated financial institutions
  • Free to spend (‘disposable’) on business in the UK

You must also:

  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Be able to support yourself during your stay
  • Score 95 points – (we will advise you on whether or not you score sufficient points)
  • Be at least 16 years old

Sharing investment funds

You can form an ‘entrepreneurial team’ with one other Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant and share the same investment funds.

You and your team member must meet all the application requirements and:

  • Not use the same funds on another application with a different entrepreneurial team
  • Provide all the documents needed for evidence of the funds with your own applications

Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways.

English language exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of an English speaking country (see the Home Office website for the full list of countries). You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances if you fall within certain categories.

Access to £50,000 investment funds

You can apply if you have access to £50,000 in investment funds and meet the conditions of one of the following categories.

Apply as a former Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

You can apply if you meet both the following requirements:

  • You’re applying to change (switch) your visa (‘leave to remain’)
  • You have or were last granted a visa or leave to enter the UK as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Apply as a former Tier 1 (Post-study worker)

You can apply if you:

  • Are applying to change (switch) your visa (‘leave to remain’)
  • Have or were last granted a visa or leave to enter the UK as a Tier 1 (Post-study worker)
  • Have registered as a director of a business or as self-employed in the 3 months before you apply
  • Are working in a job on the list of occupations at the National Qualifications Framework level 4 and above

Apply with an approved funding source


You can apply if your investment funds come from either:

  • a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
  • a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business

Your investment funds can’t include:

  • Your own money 

  • Money from any other third parties

You can combine money from 1 of the 3 sources above but not from other third parties or with your own money.

Students with financial sponsorship

You may be able to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if you’re already in the UK and you’re:

  • a Tier 4 visa holder
  • a student nurse
  • studying, writing up a thesis or re-sitting an exam
  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • an overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • a student sabbatical officer

You must have written consent from your financial sponsor to re-enter or remain in the UK without any conditions if your course fees and living costs have been paid for by a government or international scholarship agency.

You must have access to £50,000 investment funds from either:

  • a venture capital firm registered with the FCA
  • a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
  • a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business

Your investment funds can’t include:

  • Your own money 

  • Money from any other third parties

You can combine money from 1 of the 3 sources above but not from other third parties or with your own money.

Apply in the UK/Extend your visa in the UK

You can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.  You may be able to extend your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.  You must apply before your current visa expires. You must be in the UK to extend your visa.

You can apply to extend your visa if you:

  • meet the eligibility requirements
  • registered as a director or as self-employed no more than 6 months after the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa
  • can prove you’ve been self-employed or working as a director of a business 3 months before you apply
  • created at least 2 full time jobs that have existed for at least 12 months

You must have invested into 1 or more UK businesses either:

  • £200,000 in cash
  • £50,000 in cash if your initial application was based on having funds from an approved funding source

Dependants

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

Switch to this visa

You may be able to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.  Once again you should apply before your current visa expires.

You can apply to switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re already in the UK under one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Investor) 

  • Tier 1 (Post-study work) 

  • Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) 

  • business person 

  • innovator 

  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme 

  • work permit holder 

  • self-employed lawyer 

  • writer, composer or artist 

  • investor 

  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science & Engineering Graduate Scheme) 

  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme 

  • Tier 2 

  • prospective entrepreneur 


You can also switch from one of the following categories: 


  • Tier 4 

  • student 

  • student re-sitting an examination 

  • student nurse 

  • student writing up a thesis 

  • postgraduate doctor or dentist 
if you have specific types of funding

It should be noted that if you have had leave in this category in the 12 months before you apply, then you must meet the extension criteria, not the switching criteria.

Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

Savings to prove you can support your dependants

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK. Each dependant must have a certain amount of money available to them - this is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

The amount depends on your circumstances. You must have £1,890 for each dependant if you’re applying from outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months. If you’ve been in the UK for more than 12 months, you must have £630 for each dependant.  In addition you must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • Set up or take over the running of 1 business or more
  • Work for your business, including being self-employed, but you should check your work meets the conditions of being self-employed
  • Bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • Do any work outside your business, eg work where you’re employed by another business
  • Get public funds

How long you will your visa be valid for? 

You can come to the UK with a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months.

You can apply to extend this visa for another 2 years if you’re already in this category and 3 years if you’re switching to it from another category.

You may be able to apply for settlement (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.