Tier 1 Entrepreneur guidance


Eligibility Requirements

You can apply under the Entrepreneur category if you:

  • Have access and intend to invest at least £200,000 or £50,000 see below* into a new business or an existing business
  • Can meet the English Language requirement
  • Prove you have additional funds to meet the maintenance requirement
  • Pass the genuine test

The rules above are fairly straightforward, you either have the funds and can speak English. If you don’t, there is no point applying as it’s an immediate fail………..however can you pass the genuine test?

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa has been available for many years and when the Points Based System (PBS) was introduced in 2008, the Home Office stated that one of their objectives was to make our immigration rules objective.

This objectivity appears to have evaporated and all Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants must now also demonstrate that they and their business intentions pass the Genuine Test.

The Genuine Test

You must be able to demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer or a Home Office Official if applying in-country that you have a genuine intention and ability to establish or invest in a business.

How do you establish that you are legit?

UKVI has advised that they expect applicants to submit business plans, CV, portfolio of previous business, website ideas for the new business, qualifications, ideas for where the business will be located, how the funds will be invested, when will you employ people, references from prospective customers, business angels etc etc etc …………….


Additionally, once you have submitted your application, you will be interviewed in connection with your application.

For those with long memories this is exactly the same requirement that was in operation pre 2008. We can only hope that on this occasion the UKVI have given lots of training to their Officials as we’ve sat in some very strange interviews, where it was immediately evident that the person interviewing our clients did not have the foggiest idea of what to ask……………maybe the Home Office have made watching Alan Sugar on The Apprentice compulsory viewing!

Below are the rest of the requirements.

If you would like assist with your application, please contact us. Anne Morris, our Principal has drafted numerous applications since she began working in immigration law 20yrs ago and is more than capable of working with you to ensure that you pass the Genuine Test.


The money to support your application can be money made available by one or more people known as third parties who may include family members as well as other investors or corporate bodies.

You must show that you have at least £200,000 (or £50,000 if in the last grant of leave you were awarded points for funds of £50,000 from one or more venture capital funds regulated by the FSA; one or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition; or one or more UK Government departments).

What type of business

You can establish or invest in any type of business except residential accommodation, property development or property management, or be in the form of a directors loan unless it is unsecured and is unsubordinated in favour of a third party creditor.

How do I apply?

You must score 95 points as follows;

75 points – Attributes

10 points – English Language

10 points – Maintenance

Additionally, your application will be reviewed by the Entry Clearance Officer who will decide if you pass the “genuine test”.


You must score 75 points as follows;

  • 25 points is awarded for proving you have access to at least £200,000 (GBP)
  • 25 points is awarded if the money is held in a regulated financial institution
  • 25 points for proving that the money is disposable in the UK

English Language

You must score 10 points by demonstrating one of the following;

  • You are is from a majority English-speaking country; or
  • You have passed a recognised English-language test; or
  • You have done a UK degree or above (or equivalent)

Maintenance (10)

You must score 10 points by demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to cover you and any dependents for at least 90 days on arrival in the UK.

If you would like any further information, please contact us.


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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