The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is closing to new applications from 29th March 2019. New applicants should look at the Innovator or Start Up visa.
When applying to enter or remain in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, the information you provide in your submission to the Home Office – both the Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form and the supporting documents – will be critical in securing a positive outcome.
With 48% of Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications refused, applicants should not underestimate the level of preparation needed to collate all the relevant documents and details to sufficiently evidence eligibility and to meet Home Office standards.
We share insight into the key requirements on Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants and the type of information you will need to complete your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form.
What is the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?
Tier 1 of the UK’s 5-tier points-based system is the immigration route for nationals of non-EEA countries wanting to relocate to the UK either as an entrepreneur, investor or under the ‘exceptional talent’ classification.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is specifically for non-EEA nationals who wish to make an investment in the UK through setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, one or more businesses in the UK.
Entry requirements on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form
Under part 6A of the Immigration Rules, to be granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you must score a minimum of 95 points. These are made up as follows:
- 75 points for attributes
- 10 points for English language
- 10 points for maintenance (funds)
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – attributes section
When completing a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form, you must have access to funds of either £200,000 to invest in one or more businesses in the UK, or £50,000 where funding is provided from an approved source, for example, a registered venture capital firm. The money must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions. It must also be disposable in the UK.
In addition to completing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form, you will need to have prepared a detailed business plan setting out your proposed business activities in the UK and how you expect to make your business succeed. You will also be required to provide detailed documentation in support of your investment or funding.
The Home Office will scrutinise the viability and credibility of your source of funding and your business plan under the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’. Your previous educational and business experience will also be taken into account to satisfy that you have the skills and expertise to deliver on your business plan.
Under the genuine entrepreneur test you must show the following:
- you genuinely intend and are able to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within 6 months.
- you genuinely intend to invest the requisite money in a UK business or businesses.
- the money is genuinely available to you and will remain so until such time as it is spent for the purposes of the UK business or businesses.
- you do not intend to take employment in the UK other than working in your business.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – supporting documentation
The nature and extent of the documentation submitted in support of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form will be key in determining whether or not your application is successful. The rules however are complex. In addition to a current passport or other valid travel identification, you will be required to provide evidence of the investment funds available to you that are forming the basis of your application and planned entrepreneurial activity. The required documentation will depend on where your funds are currently being held.
You must ensure that all of the necessary supporting evidence is provided at the time the application is submitted. The Home Office will not consider unrelated evidence when calculating the points score.
Further, any documents must be originals, not copies, unless stated otherwise. Print-outs of bank statements for example will not be accepted. Documentation that is not in English or Welsh must be provided as a certified translation.
If your situation is unusual or particularly complex, it can be helpful to include a covering letter with your Tier 1 entrepreneur application form to provide an explanation of how you are claiming points, providing clarification on matters either unsupported or unclear from the documentation. Proceed with caution however as you must still ensure you are meeting the stipulated application requirements.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – maintenance (funds) section
You will need to satisfy the Home Office of your ability to support yourself on arrival in the UK without use of state benefits. If you are outside the UK seeking entry clearance you must have at least £3,310 of personal savings, which you must have held for 90 consecutive days prior to the date of your application. If you are in the UK seeking further leave to remain, you must have at least £945 of personal savings.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – general grounds for clearance
In addition to being assessed under the Tier 1 entrepreneur criteria, you will also be considered for general grounds for clearance, which includes good character requirement.
For example, you will need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have been present in continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application.
Unless you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to satisfy the Home Office of your knowledge of English. This can be achieved by providing evidence of an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD. Otherwise, you will need to pass an approved English test prior to completing your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – fees to pay
If you are submitting a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form from outside the UK the fee is £1021. When applying from inside the UK the fee is currently set at £1277 (as of April 2018).
In most cases you will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. This will allow you to use the NHS in the UK once your visa has been granted. Unless you are exempt, you still need to pay the surcharge even if you have private medical insurance.
When completing your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form, you will need to include your IHS reference number.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form – biometric information
Along with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form, you may also need to provide biometric information. This will include having a digital photograph taken, together with a scan of your fingerprints and providing your signature.
If you are applying from within the UK, you can provide this information at a post office branch offering Home Office biometric enrolment, for which you will be charged a handling fee.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to provide this information at a visa application centre.
Do you need help with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form?
DavidsonMorris specialise in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications. We work with applicants from across the globe who are seeking to enter or remain in the UK by establishing or taking over a business here.
We provide advice from the initial stages, advising on eligibility and suitability of the Tier 1 visa route and visa options for any dependants, through to detailed support with compiling your supporting evidence, completing the Tier 1 entrepreneur form and guidance on the interview.
We also have specific expertise in entrepreneurial team applications, appealing refusals and Tier 1 renewals, and our advice for the initial application will ensure the foundations for any future application to renew your Tier 1 visa.
If you have any questions relating to your application, please contact us.