Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders now face a deadline to extend their visa.
We can advise on your options to remain in the UK.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders have until 5th April 2023 to apply to extend their visa, and until 5th April 2025 to apply for UK settlement under this route.
The Entrepreneur visa has closed to new applications and has been replaced by the Innovator route.
For advice about applying to extend your visa under the old entrepreneur category, and what this means for your settlement options, or to consider alternative options to remain in the UK, speak to our UK immigration specialists.
Applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension
An initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa lasts for a total of 3 years and 4 months. Holders of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa may apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 2 years under Tier 1.
The application process for extending your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is, however, highly involved. Criteria are strict, and the requirements on you to provide full and accurate supporting documentation are stringent.
The demands can be exacerbated if, as a result of poor advice as part of your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application, your supporting documentation has not been kept up to date.
Failure to present a comprehensive and complete application can lead to delays in a decision or even refusal.
There is also the possibility that you may be invited to interview by the Home Office, to discuss in detail your application, your business and your activity during your stay to date.
If the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is closing - can I still apply to extend my entrepreneur visa?
Current holders of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa have until 5th April 2023 to apply to extend their visa. Take professional advice to understand the implications of the route closure on your status and to consider whether alternative routes may be more suitable for your needs, such as the new Innovator route.
Am I eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension?
The eligibility criteria to extend your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa require that you:
- have invested into 1 or more UK businesses either £200,000 in cash or £50,000 in cash if your initial application was based on having funds from an approved funding source;
- are registered as a director or as self-employed no more than 6 months after the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa;
- can prove you have been self-employed, a member of a partnership or working as a director of a business 3 months before you apply;
- created at least 2 full time jobs that have existed for at least 1 year each.
What are the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension requirements?
To qualify for further leave to remain as a Tier 1 entrepreneur, there are various entrepreneur visa extension requirements that must be met. First and foremost, you must satisfy what’s known as the “genuine entrepreneur test”.
Under this test, you must meet the following criteria, namely:
- You have established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and have genuinely operated that business
- You have genuinely invested the necessary funds into one or more genuine businesses in the UK
- You intend to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK, and
- You do not intend to take employment other than working for the business or businesses that you have established, joined or taken over
In addition to satisfying the genuine entrepreneur test, you must also score 75 points under the Home Office extension applications points table based on investment, registration and job creation.
To score the necessary 20 points under this sub-heading, you must have invested, or have caused to be invested by one or more third parties, at least £200,000 in cash directly into one or more UK businesses.
This will be reduced to £50,000 if you were awarded points for this lower sum under your last grant of leave.
To score the necessary 20 points under this second sub-heading, you must have registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed or, alternatively, registered with Companies House as a director of a UK company or member of a UK partnership, typically within six months from the date you were given permission to stay in the UK under a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa.
For an additional and mandatory 15 points, you must also prove that you have been self-employed, or working as a director of a business or member of a UK partnership, within the three months before the date of application.
To score the remaining 20 points, you must have established a new business that has created the equivalent of at least two new full time jobs for settled workers.
Alternatively, you can score these points if you have joined or taken over an existing business and your services or investment have resulted in a net increase in the employment provided by the business for settled workers by creating the equivalent of at least two new full time jobs.
In either case, these jobs must have existed for at least a period of twelve months during your most recent grant of leave or, where that leave was granted less than twelve months ago, for at least the twelve months immediately before the date of the current application.
What is the process for extending a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
To extend your Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa, you must apply online. You will be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information, ie; a scan of your fingerprints and a digital photograph of your face. You will need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information taken.
You will be able to have your supporting documentation scanned at your UKVCAS appointment or, alternatively, you can upload these documents into the online service when you submit your application.
You should apply to extend your visa before your current leave expires. You can stay in the UK while your application is being processed, provided you applied before your visa has expired.
When applying to extend your leave to remain under the Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa category, you must apply before your current visa expires and before 5 April 2023, when applications for further leave to remain as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) migrant will close.
Once you have applied for an entrepreneur visa extension, you can stay in the UK until you have been given a decision, as long as you submitted your application before your previous visa expired. However, you are encouraged to apply at least a month before your existing leave expires.
Further, having submitted your application, you must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. If you do travel abroad, your application for further leave to remain will be withdrawn.
How long does a decision take?
You can expect a decision to be made on your application within 8 weeks.
In some circumstances, you may be contacted if your application will take longer because:
- your supporting documents need to be verified
- you need to attend an interview
- of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)
Can my dependants apply at the same time?
Yes, any dependants who are on your current visa should be included in your extension application. This also includes children who have turned 18 during your stay.
What supporting documentation will be needed?
When applying for an extension to your Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa, you will need to provide clear and credible documentary evidence to show that you meet the entrepreneur visa extension requirements. In particular, when making an extension application, the Home Office will have regard to the following:
- The viability and credibility of the source of funds, although you do not need to provide evidence of this investment if you were awarded points under the extension table in your last grant of entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) migrant.
- The credibility of the financial accounts of the business or businesses you have invested in
- The credibility of your business activity in the UK
- The credibility of the job creation for which you are claiming points
Further, if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, you will need documentation to prove that this has been obtained.
The Home Office is very particular about the nature of the documentation to be provided in satisfaction of the entrepreneur visa extension requirements. As such, you should always refer to the Home Office official guidance as to the specific documents that must be produced.
In the event that you fail to provide the necessary documentation, your application may be refused. Further, the Home Office reserves the right to request additional information to support the assessment of your application, and to refuse the application if that evidence is not provided within a period of 28 days from the date of their request.
The specific documents you should submit will depend on your specific circumstances. Documents may include:
- Filed business accounts and personal bank statements – mandatory detailing expenses,
- Directors’ loan agreement – compulsory if the business was funded by a directors’ loan. The Home Office is looking for confirmation that the loan is unsecured and subordinated in favour of the third-party creditors.
- Employees payslips – compulsory, and must show the number of working hours every month.
- HMRC correspondence
- Business insurance certificate
This list is far from exhaustive. Seek professional advice to ensure you are covering all areas to most effectively represent your application.
Will I be eligible to settle in the UK?
You may eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after the end of the 2-year extended Tier 1 visa.
However, under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, it is also possible to achieve fast-tracked settlement after 3 years if your business has created 10 full time jobs in the UK for a total of 1 year each or your business turnover exceeds £5 million over the 3 year period.
There is a deadline in force for settlement applications under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route; visa holders have until 5th April 2025 to apply to settle in the UK under this route.
To qualify for ILR you will need to score 75 points under the Home Office settlement application points table. As with an extension application for further leave to remain, this is based on investment, registration and job creation. Additionally, you will also need points for the continuous residence requirement.
Typically, you will need to have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years, although for the most successful entrepreneurs, ie; those who create ten or more full-time jobs for a total of 1 year each or your business turnover exceeds £5 million over the 3 year period, accelerated ILR is available within just three years.
Further, to be eligible for ILR, save except where you fall under an exemption, you will also need to prove the following two criteria:
- That you have knowledge of life and language in the UK, otherwise known as the KoLL requirement
- That you are able to support yourself without recourse to public funds
You can demonstrate the KoLL requirement by passing the Life in the UK test and holding an English speaking and listening qualification at level B1 or above.
To prove your ability to financially support yourself, you will need to have at least £945 of personal savings that you must have held for 90 consecutive days prior to the date of your application. However, you may not use the same funds to score points for investment and maintenance funds together.
When applying for ILR, as with an extension application for further leave to remain, you will need to provide supporting documentation to show that you have met the necessary requirements, including documentary evidence that you have satisfied both the KoLL and maintenance requirements.
As with an extension application for further leave to remain, you must apply for indefinite leave before your current visa expires. You will also only be eligible to apply once you have met the continuous residence requirement.
Although extension applications for Tier 1 (entrepreneur) migrants will only remain open until 5 April 2023, you will be able to make a settlement application under this category of visa until 5 April 2025.
For individuals who have switched from the Tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur) category, Tier 1 (entrepreneur) extension applications will remain open until 5 July 2025, and settlement applications until 5 July 2027.
What if my application is refused?
If your application is refused, you may appeal to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur using the Administrative Review Process.
Other points to note
- You will have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
- You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo), which costs £19.20.
For a fast & professional service - contact DavidsonMorris
As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of Tier 1 visa extensions and applications, as well as advising on options for UK settlement.
With entrepreneur extensions facing an impending deadline, it is advisable for entrepreneur visa holders to consider now whether they will be applying to extend or whether switching to a different visa category may be a better option in the circumstances.
DavidsonMorris are specialists in entrepreneur visa extensions. We work with entrepreneur visa holders to help build their submission through the course of their visa period, so as to approach their extension application fully prepared and equipped with the necessary documents and information ready to go.
We understand the scrutiny facing extension applicants and the strict criteria their applications must meet to be successful. We can advise on the type of documentation and information to compile and whether this will require support from other professional advisers you work with, such as your accountants.
If you are coming up to your extension application and are concerned about your eligibility or your submission, we can help. We will fully assess your position against the requirements of the visa extension and provide practical guidance on how to approach building your application.
With UK immigration rules undergoing a significant change, we can assess your situation to determine the best immigration options for you and your needs, whether that is an entrepreneur extension or an alternative route.
We are a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, with an established reputation for supporting employers and HR professionals on all aspects of immigration including immigration audit and compliance.
We are highly experienced in all the document and evidentiary requirements vital to a prompt and stress-free immigration audit.