Entrepreneurs who want to set up, take over or be actively involved in a business in the UK can apply for this type of visa. Entrepreneurs are classified under Tier 1 of the Points Based System (High Value Migrants).

An individual can be involved in any number of businesses and no sponsor is needed.

For initial applications, you must:

  1. Have money available to invest in the existing or new UK business;
  2. Be competent in English language;
  3. Have money to support yourself and your family in the UK (maintenance)

For successful applications you will be granted a visa for at least three years. A two year extension can be provided in the UK (should you qualify) followed by indefinite leave to remain (permanent residency). Indefinite leave to remain is normally granted after spending 5 continuous years in this category although some applicants could qualify after 3 continuous years.

1. Money to invest in existing or new UK business

You should have access to at least the equivalent of £200,000 to invest in a new/existing UK business or more than £50,000 from:

  • One or more venture capital firm registered with the Financial Services Authority (please contact us in this case – transitional arrangements in place).
  • One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition listed as endorsed on UK Trade and Investment’s website
  • One or more UK government departments, which must have made the funds available for the sole purpose of establishing/expanding a UK business

You can also be eligible to invest just £50,000 (or the equivalent in your own currency) in the existing or new UK business should you already be in the UK on Tier 1 (Post Study Work) status and the core services your business are to provide are at NVQ Level 4 or above.

The funds can be provided to you by a third party. There is no requirement to show that the money has been in your own account for a certain amount of time.

Entrepreneurial Teams (Maximum of two Business Partners) 

Two individual applicants are able to claim points for the same investment/business activity if they have formed an entrepreneurial team. In such circumstances, both the applicants must have equal control over the investment funds and/or business formed.

2. Be competent in English language;

 you should either:

– Be a citizen of an English speaking country

– Have a degree level qualification that was taught in English language

– Have taken an accepted English language test to level CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening

 3. Have money to support yourself and your family in the UK (Maintenance requirement)

In order to qualify for entry clearance under Tier 1, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependants). The maintenance requirement is detailed below:

  • If you are outside the UK seeking a visa you must have at least £3,310 of personal savings which you must have held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of your application. For each dependant you must have an additional £1890 (dependant funds can be held on the dependant’s name);

If you are in the UK seeking further leave to remain you must have at least £945 of personal savings which must have held for a consecutive 90 day period prior to the date of your application. You must also have at least £1800 for each dependant unless you have been present in the UK for at least 12 months in which case the amount drops to £600 for each dependant).

You may not use any money which is included in your £200,000 investment as evidence of maintenance funds.

Other important considerations:

The Home Office can request you to provide additional information, for example business plans and evidence of market research, to confirm the genuineness of your application; and demonstrate that you continue to have access to the funds ahead of them being invested in a UK business.


Your visa can be extended for a further two years if the following requirements are met:

  • You have registered as self-employed or as a Director of a new / existing UK based business with HMRC (UK tax department);
  • You must be actively involved with the business at the time of the extension application;
  • The required money (£200,000 or £50,000 has been invested (used within) in a UK business; and
  • The equivalent of two full-time jobs for settled workers must have been created within the company during your first three years. This can be a mixture of full and part time workers. The equivalent of two full time jobs must have been for at least 12 months. Full time means at least 30 hours per week.

Indefinite Leave to Remain 

If the business has created ten or more new jobs in the UK or can show an income of at least £5 million during a period of three years while the applicant has been in the UK under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, the applicant may apply for indefinite leave to remain after three years. Otherwise, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants must spend five years in the country before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Twelve months after being granted indefinite leave to remain, they are able to apply for UK nationality.

You must also:

  1. Pass a Life in the UK test;
  2. Pass an English language test (from October 2013) if necessary;
  3. Not have any unspent criminal or civil convictions; and
  4. Not have been absent for more than 180 days for each 12 month period you are in the UK

Family Members 

The family members of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can submit an application to join their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, or parent (if the applicant is under the age of 18 at the time of application) in the UK. They may also apply for settlement at the same time as the Tier 1 migrant applicant. Family members are able to work in the UK.

Please contact us for further information.

Find out if you qualify as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur