The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has closed to new applications and has been replaced by the new Innovator route.

Extension applications for existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders can be made until 5th April 2023 and settlement applications can be submitted until 5th April 2025.

For advice about your UK entrepreneur visa options, or for extension or settlement applications under the old entrepreneur route, speak to our UK business visa specialists.

What is a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

If you are looking to start a business in the UK, with so much at stake, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the migration options open to you, to ensure your case is effectively represented to the authorities and to avoid any delays or issues with your application.

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa will allow you to set up or take over the running of one business or more. You can work for your own business as a self-employed individual, provided the work meets the criteria for being self-employed. You can also bring family members and dependants with you.

Making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application

At DavidsonMorris we help both individuals and a wide range of commercial employers meet their global mobility needs, including Tier 1 visa applications.

With 48% of Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications being refused by the Home Office, we can guide you through the process.

We have the experience to advise you on the most appropriate category of visa for your circumstances and have the insight to make the process as smooth as possible.

As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of visa applications, and for providing expert visa-related advice. We also understand the stresses involved with moving across the world, and take great pride in playing a supportive role to ease the pressure.

Is this route still open to new applications?

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa closed to new applications on 29th March 2019. It has been replaced by the new Innovator route.

Existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders have until 5th April 2023 to apply to extend their status under the old route, and settlement applications can be made up until 5th April 2025.

For advice about making a new visa applications, or for extension or settlement applications under the old entrepreneur route, speak to our UK business visa specialists.

Am I eligible for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?

You are eligible to apply if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • You want to run or set up a business in the UK.
  • You are from outside the EEA and Switzerland.
  • You are at least 16 years old.

What will I need to show to apply? 

As part of your application you will need to demonstrate:

  • You have access to at least £200,000 investment funds to apply.
  • You have the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to establish a viable business in the UK.
  • You have an acceptable command of the English language.
  • You have sufficient funds to cover your initial costs after relocating to the UK.

If you are switching into the category from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category, or if your investment funds come from an FCA-registered venture capital firm investment or UK government department, the investment threshold is reduced to £50,000.

Can I bring my spouse, children and dependants?

Under the visa, you can include your immediate family in your application. This will include your spouse, and any children under the age of 18.

I have a business partner, do we need to apply separately for the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa UK?

You are able to combine your applications and submit one team entrepreneur application. You will need to have £200,000 to invest between you.

How long does the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK last?

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa initially lasts for 3 years and 4 months. Provided you meet the necessary criteria, you will be able to extend your stay for a further 2 years.

After 5 years in the UK, you become eligible to apply for Permanent Residence status.

Can I apply for fast-tracked settlement under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK?

You may be able to apply for fast-tracked Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years under the visa route. To become eligible, your business must hire a total of 10 full time staff for a total of 1 year or have a turnover of £5 Million over the 3 year period.

Do I have to pass an English language test?

If you hold a degree which was taught in English, and is approved by the UK Home Office, you do not need to pass a test. Otherwise, you must have an approved English test at level C1.

Other points to note 

You can apply to extend this visa for three years if you are switching from another category.

As a visa holder, you are not allowed to carry out any work outside your business, or be employed by another business. Also, you cannot claim UK public funds.


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 500 and 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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