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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Tier 1 Entrepreneur is to attract people to invest in the United Kingdom by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, one or more businesses. Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is ideal for Entrepreneurs with some money to invest in the UK. If you have at least £50,000 to invest, you may be able to apply for this visa. In practice, most people who apply will need to have £200,000 of available funds held in a regulated financial institution.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur sub-category is perfect for those individuals wishing to start a business in the UK who can meet the criteria. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) is for non-European migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of a business.

A 'business' means an enterprise as:

  1. a sole trader

  2. a partnership, or

  3. a company registered in the UK

You can apply under the Entrepreneur category if you are:

  1. in the United Kingdom and want to make an initial application as an Entrepreneur;

  2. already in the United Kingdom as an Entrepreneur and want to extend your permission to stay within your existing category;

  3. already in the United Kingdom as a business person or innovator and want to extend your permission to stay in the entrepreneur category;

  4. applying for permission to enter the UK (known as entry clearance) under the Entrepreneur category.

Eligibility Criteria

For your application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to be successful, you must score a total of 95 points and meet all the other requirements under the Immigration Rules.

Who should apply?

This visa is designed for foreign nationals who would like to play an active role in the UK’s economy, either by setting up or taking over an existing business.

If you are an EU national you will not need to apply for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. Commonwealth Citizens with UK ancestry and British Overseas Territories citizens are also exempt from the Visa requirement.

The Entrepreneur Visa  Requirements:

To qualify for the Entrepreneur Visa, you must fulfil certain requirements:

  • Access to £200,000 – this can be your own funds or from a third party.

  • English language requirement.

  • Financial maintenance for yourself and any family members.

  • Genuine Entrepreneur Test - you must show that you genuinely seek to set up a viable business in the UK. This is subjective test, the Home Office will take into account, previous experience, qualifications and examine your credentials.

There are specific conditions and extensive documentations needed to satisfy each requirement. Extensive documentation is needed to prove each requirement; applications made with insufficient or wrong documentation will be refused. With ICS Legal you can be fully confident that you will receive a quality service, you can be assured that we will handle all documentation required and assist in compiling an impeccable business plan to secure the visa. Your initial visa is then granted for 3 years and 4 months. 

You must score:

  • 75 points for your attributes; and

  • 10 points for the English language; and

  • 10 points for available maintenance (funds).

Entrepreneur visa duration

Entrepreneur visas are initially granted for a period of three years and four months. This visa can be extended for an additional two years provided specific requirements are met. See the section below regarding Entrepreneur visa extensions for more information.

Extending your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

 If you are already in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you can extend your visa by meeting the following criteria:

  1. Investment in UK business. You have invested no less that £200,000 cash directly in one or more UK businesses.

  2. Become a director or Self-Employed in a UK Business. You have become a director or self-employed in a UK business no more than 6 months after being given a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and entering the UK.

  3. Engaged in Business activity. You can prove that you are engaged in the business activity at the time of your extension application and that you are still registered as self-employed or as a Director in a UK business.

  4. Created new Jobs. The new business as created 2 full-time jobs for people settled in the UK for a period of 12 months. 

  5. English Language. You can speak English to the required standard and evidences in line with the Immigration Rules must be provided. 

  6. Maintenence for both you and any dependants applying with you at the same time. Specified evidences would need to be provided. Both Appendix C and E of the Immigration Rules sets out the maintenance requirements. 

ICS Legal can also help you apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension. Please get in contact with us if you would like to arrange this. 

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

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Once you have been in the UK for 5 years as an Entrepreneur visa holder you will be eligible to apply for Settlement in the UK, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To qualify for ILR you must:

  • Have lawfully resided in the UK on this visa for 5 years. Note that in order to qualify you can have no more than 180 days absence from the UK in each of these years.

  • Be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Alternatively, ILR status can be achieved after 3 years if the following criteria are met:

  • You have invested £200,000 in the company.

  • The company has been registered within 6 months of the date you were granted permission to stay in the UK under the Entrepreneur category.

  • You have created at least 10 full-time positions for settled workers. For a new business, this means that an aggregate of two positions, full time or equivalent, must have been created with each lasting for at least one year. In cases where an applicant has taken over control of an established UK business, their investment and presence in the company must have created 10 positions similar to those outlined above; or

  • Established a new business with income activity of at least £5m during the 3 year period.

British Citizenship

Once you have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain you then have a pathway towards qualifying for British citizenship.
Typically, Entrepreneur visa holders are eligible to apply for British citizenship after having spent 6 years in the UK, however, there are faster routes available for those responsible for creating businesses with a high turnover or a high number of jobs.

Switching into the Entrepreneur visa category

You can apply to switch to the Entrepreneur visa if you are already in the UK under one of the following categories and you satisfy the necessary eligibility requirements:

  • Tier 1 (Investor)

  • Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur)

  • Business Person

  • Investor

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

  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme

  • Tier 2

  • Prospective Entrepreneur

  • A visitor who has been carrying out permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur

You can also switch from one of the following categories if you have specific types of funding:

  • Tier 4

  • Student

  • Student re-sitting an examination

  • Student nurse

  • Student writing up a thesis

  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist

Please note that if you are a holder of another UK visa not listed above you will need to leave the UK and make your Entrepreneur visa application from abroad.

Entry Clearance For Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa For UK

An application for entry clearance (UK visa) as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant is submitted to the British Embassy / High Commission in the country of nationality/residence of the applicant. The application can be submitted either online or by completing the paper application. The online application option is available in only in certain countries.The British Embassy / High Commission will decide the application according to the waiting times/processing times for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

The dependants of Tier 1 Entrepreneur can also apply at the same as the main applicant (Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant) along with the main applicant to accompany the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant to the UK. Alternatively, they can apply subsequently as PBS Dependents to join the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant in the UK.

If your application for UK visa as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur is successful, you will be issued with a UK visa for 3 years and 4 months. An application for extension of stay can be submitted before the expiry of the visa.

Entrepreneur Visa Application Fee

Get in touch with us to confirm the fees applicable to you. 

At ICS Legal we can advise, provide expert support in preparing your application for the Tier 1 visa, and we will ensure the legal requirements are met. Call our team today on 0207 237 3388 or email us your details on

You may also like:

  1. Investors

  2. Graduate Entrepreneur

  3. Intra Company Transfer

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