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Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa 

Graduate Entrepreneur category allows the UK to retain (non-European) graduates identified by UK higher education institutions as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish or more businesses in the UK.

To apply under Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur the applicant ‘s university (higher education institution) needs to identify the applicant as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills.  The applicant will therefore first have to apply to their university for a letter of endorsement by presenting them with their business plan or you can apply through the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). Without a letter of endorsement, an application will be refused. See our study visa page for normal student visa requirements.

This route is part of the points-based system, therefore, applicants are required to score 75 points for their attributes, 10 points for their English Language skills and 10 points for their maintenance.

To score the required points for attributes under this category an applicant needs to have been awarded a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from a higher education institution that is an A-rated sponsor and is able to issue letters of endorsement, in a particular format, which confirm certain required details about the applicant and their business idea.

If an applicant scores 75 points for their attributes they will automatically score 10 points for their English Language skills. This is because they will hold a degree that was taught in English by a UK Higher Education Institution.

An applicant will also need to show that they have sufficient funds for their living costs in the UK.

If granted an applicant will initially be given one year’s leave but they are able to extend this for another year if their University provides them with another Letter of Endorsement. This route does not lead directly to settlement. However, it is possible to switch from this route into Tier 1 Entrepreneur, which can lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain).

Who can apply

Applicants for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa must be in the UK and have been awarded a degree from a participating UK academic institution at a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD level.

You can switch into the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category if you are currently in the UK under one of the following categories:

  • Tier 4 Migrant;

  • Student;

  • Student nurse;

  • Student re-sitting an examination;

  • Student writing up a thesis;

  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist; or

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant.

You will need to request a letter of endorsement from your UK higher education institution or UKTI before you make your application under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category. This letter will need to include confirmation from your institution that they have assessed your business idea and found it to be a genuine, credible and innovative business idea.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa - Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for this visa depend on who is endorsing you.

Endorsement by a UK higher education institution (HEI)

You need all of the followings to be eligible:

  • a UK-recognised bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD awarded before your date of endorsement

  • endorsement from an authorised UK higher education institution issued in the past 3 months

  • £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK, or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply

  • to meet the English language requirement

  • permission to remain in the UK from your financial sponsor if they’re a government or an international scholarship agency and have paid your course fees and living costs in the past 12 months

You can’t apply with any of the following:

  • foundation degrees

  • honorary degrees

  • qualifications awarded in the UK by overseas awarding bodies

  • qualifications are undertaken at overseas campuses of UK institutions

  • professional and vocational qualifications

  • postgraduate certificates or diplomas

Endorsement by the Department of International Trade (DIT)

You need all of the followings to be eligible:

  • a degree qualification that’s recognised as being equal to a UK bachelor’s degree

  • criteria set by DIT

  • endorsement from DIT issued in the past 3 months

  • £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply

  • to meet the English language requirement

You don’t have to provide evidence that you have sufficient savings to support yourself if you have an endorsement from DIT stating you’ve been awarded funding to cover your maintenance.

Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

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 bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

At ICS Legal, we work closely with a number of educational providers including those endorsed by the UK Border Agency. If you would like to get some initial advice, speak to us today on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us on info@icslegal.com.

 
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