Those who want to set up, take over or be actively involved in a business in the UK can apply for this type of visa. An individual can be involved in any number of businesses and no sponsor is needed.
Anyone who wishes to enter and invest in a new/existing UK business must acquire at least 95 points. Points will be awarded if the applicant has access to at least £200,000 to invest in a new/existing UK company or to more than £50,000 from:
- One or more venture capital firm registered with the Financial Services Authority;
- One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition listed as endorsed on UK Trade and Investment’s website; or
- One or more UK government department, which must have made the funds available for the sole purpose of establishing/expanding a UK business.
Further points will be awarded for certain levels of competence in the English language and for the availability of maintenance funds. If the required number of points is acquired, entry is normally granted for a period of three years. This can be extended for a further two years if the following requirements are met:
- The person has registered as self-employed with HMRC, the new UK business has the applicant as the director, or the individual is the director of an existing UK company;
- The person must be actively involved with the business at the time of the extension application;
- The required money has been invested in a UK business; and
- Two full-time jobs must have been created within the company (this does not have to be two employees but should be at least one full-time employee for each year of operation).
Entrepreneurial Teams (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, i.e. each applicant must invest a minimum of £100,000 and both applicants must have £200,000.
Both members must be shown by name in each other’s applications, as well as in the evidence of funds. If the same funds are being used as in a previous application, neither applicant is allowed to have been previously given leave under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category on the basis of investment/business activity connected in this manner with any applicant other than each other.
If the members of the team make their applications on different dates, or are granted permission to stay on different dates, the specified dates for both applicants will be viewed as the date that is listed in the earlier application/decision.
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.
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.