Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Please note that Tier 1 Entrepreneur is now closed for new applications.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category, is a very advantageous immigration category available to non-EU citizens. Applicants need to invest in the United Kingdom by setting up, or take over, and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the UK.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders enjoy a good degree of flexibility in terms of settlement. You cannot be outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 month period. If you break this continuous residence criteria, it can affect your right to settlement.

Another advantage is that this immigration category leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years. It is, however, possible to settle after only three years, should the entrepreneur create 10 jobs or have a turnover of £5 million in 3 years.

How to qualify for Tier 1 Entrepreneur

The applicant has to be 16 years or older. If the applicant is younger than 18 years of age, there are specific requirements that need to be fulfilled by the applicant’s parent/s or legal guardian, regarding the support of the application.

It is possible to form an entrepreneurial team with one other Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicant. The investment funds can thus be shared, subject to strict criteria.

There are different eligibility requirements depending on whether you have access to investment funds of £50,000 or £200,000.

You must have access to at least £200,000 in investment funds; This money must either be;

  • Your own.
  • Made available to you by third parties.
  • In a joint account with your spouse or partner, but only if they are also applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.


You must have access to at least £50,000 investments funds. This funds must be in one or more regulated financial institution. It must also be disposable on business in the UK. The £50,000 investments funds must be from one of the following sources;

  • A UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition, endorsed by the Department of International Trade.
  • A UK Government department that is making the funds available for the purposes of setting up or expanding a UK business, or
  • A venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

It is possible to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category from various other immigration categories from within the UK. In such cases, there are different criteria for attributes depending on the category from which the applicant is switching. Please speak to your BIC consultant for more information in such circumstances.

Applicants will have to fulfill an English Language requirement, as well as a maintenance requirement.

Length of stay and right to work for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is granted for a period of three years and four months. Thereafter, the applicant can apply for an extension of stay of two years. He/she has to fulfill all the relevant, strict requirements for the extension.

You cannot take up employment other than working for the business or businesses established, joined or taken over.

You cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

The visa holder may study,  subject to certain conditions.

There is no recourse to public funds.

Spouses and dependents of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur

You can apply for your spouse /civil partner /unmarried partner and dependent children to join you in the UK.

The dependents will receive the same period of leave as the main applicant. They will be able to work without restriction in the UK.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

At the end of successful completion of a five-year period on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa the holder can qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, subject to very strict criteria.

Entrepreneurs may be able to settle sooner should the applicant manage to create 10 jobs. For example, three job positions during the first year, three during the second and four during the third year or have a turnover of £5 million in 3 years.

They will also enjoy flexibility regarding settlement. Visa holders can spend up to 180 days in any 12-month period outside the UK.

How to apply as Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holder

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have a highly trained and experienced team of consultants dealing with Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications. Contact us today to speak to our Tier 1 team.