As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holder, if you wish to remain in the UK after your visa expiry to continue with your approved business enterprise, you will be required to make an application for an entrepreneur visa extension.
Tier 1 entrepreneur visas are usually granted for a period of up to 3 years and 4 months. A successful entrepreneur visa extension application will enable you to stay in the UK for a further two years, and enable you to potentially become eligible to apply to settle in Britain after 5 years.
A refused extension application and expired visa will result in you having to leave the UK – making it critical to ensure your application is complete and comprehensive.
Entrepreneur visa extension: Are you eligible?
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route is for those individuals who will bring investment to the UK economy and create sustainable jobs, not just for themselves, but also for workers settled in the UK. Accordingly, the Home Office must be satisfied when granting a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension that the investment, business activity and job creation is genuine and that sufficient progress in these areas has been made since the initial visa was granted in line with the original business plan and visa criteria.
In an application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension, you must evidence that you:
- have established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and have genuinely operated that business.
- have genuinely invested the necessary funds into one or more genuine businesses in the UK.
- intend to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK.
- do not intend to take employment other than under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Rules.
The Home Office will take into account a number of factors including:
- the viability and credibility of the source of the money relied upon in support of your application
- the credibility of your business accounts
- the credibility of your business activity in the UK
- the credibility of the job creation for which you are claiming points.
If the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, the Home Office will also look to whether the necessary documentation has been obtained.
Under the points based system you must meet the full requirements of the Immigration Rules and score a minimum number of points determined by your particular application. For a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension you must score 75 points from the extensions applications points table and demonstrate you continue to satisfy the “genuine entrepreneur” test.
There are a number of requirements that you must satisfy in relation to investment, business activity and job creation to accrue the necessary 75 points. These are as follows:
- you have invested, or caused to be invested, at least £200,000 in cash (or £50,000 if you were awarded points under the lower investment threshold in your last grant of leave) directly into one or more UK businesses (20 points).
- you have registered as self-employed, or as a director of a UK company or member of a UK partnership, usually within 6 months of the date your leave was granted (20 points).
- within the 3 months preceding the date of your application you have been registered as self-employed, or registered as a director of a UK company or member of a UK partnership (15 points).
- you have created at least 2 new full time jobs for settled workers or the equivalent thereof (20 points).
A full time job is one involving at least 30 hours of paid work a week. The equivalent of a full time job means two or more part time jobs that add up to 30 hours a week. These jobs must have existed for at least 12 months during your most recent grant of leave, or for at least the 12 months immediately before the date of the current application.
Transitional arrangements for an entrepreneur visa extension
If you successfully applied as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant before 6 April 2014, and have continually remained in this route, you may be able to apply the job creation rules allowed under the transitional arrangements in making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application.
Accordingly, you may continue to employ and score points for job creation as follows:
- 1 worker for 24 months
- 1 worker for 6 months and one for 18 months
- 4 workers for 6 months each.
These transitional arrangements, however, will no longer apply after 6 April 2019. If you intend to make a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application (or even a Tier 1 Entrepreneur settlement application) on or after this date, you will no longer be able to rely on these transitional arrangements.
Applying for an entrepreneur visa extension
The application process can The nature and extent of the documentation submitted in support of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application will be key in determining whether or not your application is successful.
When you submit your application you must provide all relevant documentation at that stage. These documents must only be those specified in the Immigration Rules, as outlined under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension policy guidance. The Home Office will not consider unrelated evidence when calculating the points score. Any documents must be originals, not copies, unless stated otherwise.
The Home Office may also request additional information to support the assessment of your application. If you fail to provide any additional information, you risk your application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension being refused.
If you are invited for interview, you must attend or provide a reasonable explanation if you are unable to do so, otherwise you again risk your application being refused.
The interview will typically focus on whether or not you have been engaging in genuine business activity, although all aspects of your application are likely to be explored. It is therefore crucial that you are well prepared for this eventuality and can answer any questions put to you in relation to your investment, business activity and job creation since the date your leave was granted.
If you are applying for a second extension you can only score points for employment activity from your most recent extension period of leave. Any employment activity from your initial period of leave can only be used to score points for your first extension application.
Do you need help with your entrepreneur visa extension?
As an existing visa holder already established in the UK, the consequences of having your Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application rejected can be significant, both financially and professionally. If you are living here with dependants, this can also have a devastating impact on your family life.
Accordingly legal advice should always be sought. Whilst, the entry requirements and documentary evidence for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension are complicated, an experienced immigration specialist can guide you through the application process giving you the best possible chance of a positive outcome.
DavidsonMorris specialise in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications, including extensions. If you have any questions relating to your extension application, including advice on refused extensions, please contact us.