How to apply for a Tier 1 visa?

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applications are assessed using the Points Based System of the Immigration Rules, according to which applicants must obtain a full 95 points to be granted a visa. This particular visa has a five years route to settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and applicants can bring dependant family members with them, such as spouses, partners and dependant children under 18 years of age. There are certain circumstances that would allow a Tier 1 entrepreneur to qualify after 3 years in the UK, but only the main applicant.

The requirements of a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

  1. Funding – £200,000

The most common strategy is for an applicant to have at least £200,000 of their own cash available for a fresh investment into a business in the UK. Third party money can be included to the funding and it does not need to be transferred and held by the applicants for at least 90 days. Where the cash has been held for less than 90 days or held by the third party at the time of the application, then the third party must confirm that the funds will remain available to the applicant until they are transferred to the applicant or the business.

  1. Maintenance requirement

All applicants are required to show that they have adequate finances available to support themselves and any dependants. These funds are separate to the money used for the investment. For those applying to enter the UK, the main applicant will need to show they have at least £3,310 of personal savings which they have held for at least 90 days while it is £945 for those seeking Leave to Remain in the UK. Additional funds are required for other family members.

  1. Location of investment funds

The funds must be held in a regulated financial institution FCA or equivalent institution overseas. If not held in the UK, then the funds must be freely transferable and convertible to British Pounds Sterling.

  1. Business plan

For those seeking to make an initial application, a business plan is mandatory. This needs to set out what your proposed business is, how it will operate, relevant and specific market research showing who the target market is and the projected turnover and profit.

  1. Genuine entrepreneur test

This is where the majority of unsuccessful applicants fail. This test is applied to all applicants seeking to make an initial application but is a test that the Home Office will continue to consider in later applications. The Home Office will consider the application as a whole. The UKVI caseworkers will then decide whether they believe you are genuine applicant intending to start or join a business, whether the money is freely available to you.

  1. Home Office interview

As part of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, the Home Office may seek to interview you. The interviews are rigorous and may last up to 1 hour. The interviewer will ask questions about your background, expertise, funding and the business plan. It is vital for an applicant to know all aspects of your proposed business. The Home Office has a right to request further information, which must be provided within 28 calendar days or the date indicated by the UKVI caseworker.

  1. English language requirement

If you do not have a degree taught in English and or are a national of a majority English speaking countries, you will need to successfully complete an English language test at B1 level or above. You need to reach the appropriate level in all 4 components of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

  1. Criminal record certificate

You will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country where you have resided for at 12 months over the last ten years.  This is also mandatory for your spouse or partner. The certificates should have been issued within six months of the UK visa application.

  1. Tuberculosis test

You will need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in a TB listed country.


Contact Our Investment Immigration Experts

For expert advice regarding any aspect of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, or assistance in the planning and preparation of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application, please contact our investment immigration team on 0203 384 3075 or contact us here.



The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.

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