The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is a very advantageous immigration category available to non-EU citizens who are investing in the United Kingdom by setting up, or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the UK.
Advantages of this category include the fact that Tier 1 Entrepreneurs enjoys a good degree of flexibility in terms of settlement, as they are allowed to be outside of the UK for up to 180 days in any 12 month period, without it affecting their right to settlement.
Another advantage is that whilst this immigration category leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, it is possible for the Entrepreneur 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
You have 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 and consent regarding travel, and reception and care in the UK.
You will have to fulfil the following requirements under the Attributes requirement:
- You have to have access to at least £200,000, OR
- You have to have access to at least £50,000 from
- One or more registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or
- One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions, endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), or
- One or more UK Government departments or devolved government departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and made available for the specific purpose of expanding or establishing a UK business.
In all the above cases the money must be held in regulated financial institutions and must be disposable in the UK.
Entrepreneurs will be allowed to enter the UK with a business partner (entrepreneurial team of two persons), as long as they both have access to the joint funds of £200,000 or £50,000.
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 your unique circumstances.
In addition to the criteria above, applicants also have to fulfil an English language and maintenance requirement.
Length of stay and right to work
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, provided he/she fulfils all the relevant, strict requirements for the extension.
You are not able to take up employment other than working for the business or businesses established, joined or taken over. You are also not allowed to work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
You may study subject to certain conditions.
You have no recourse to public funds.
Spouses and dependants
A Tier 1 Entrepreneur can apply for their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or same-sex partner and dependent children to join them in the UK.
The dependants will be granted the same period of leave as the main applicant and will be able to work without restriction in the UK.
Permanent Residence 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, as they can spend up to 180 days in any 12-month period outside the UK without affecting their right to settle in the UK.