The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is aimed at individuals with a Bachelors, Masters or PhD degree with a viable business idea they want to put into action in the UK. It offers an excellent opportunity for ambitious, entrepreneurial minded graduates to start their career and pursue their Big Idea where this is wider benefit to the UK economy.
What is a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?
The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa allows nationals of non-EEA countries 12 months in which to set up an enterprise in the UK. Extensions can be applied for, or visa holders may opt to then apply for the Tier1 Entrepreneur visa, which becomes eligible for a reduced investment amount of £50,000.
It is also possible to switch to this visa from other visa categories, and you can bring dependants with you to the UK.
The application process is however far from straight forward. You will need to seek endorsement either from your university or the DIT that your business venture is viable and that you are adequately skilled and committed to run the business. Once endorsed, you then need to apply to the Home Office for the visa.
With so much at stake, it’s important to ensure it is the most suitable route for your needs, and that you follow the application process and submit all required documentation to avoid issues, delays or even refusal of your application.
Making a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa application
At DavidsonMorris we help individuals meet their UK immigration needs, including graduate entrepreneur visa applicants.
We have the experience and insight to help you build a comprehensive submission and 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
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Your Questions Answered
What are the visa requirements?
- You must have been awarded a Bachelor, Masters or PhD degree.
- You will be required to demonstrate maintenance funds of £945 if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside. You have to show documentary evidence that you have held this full amount in your bank account for a consecutive 90 day period before you apply.
- You must demonstrate entrepreneurial and business leadership skills and commitment to making to the venture a success.
- You must have a credible, viable business idea that will be deemed to add to the UK economy.
How do I get endorsed?
Endorsement process is looking to verify that your business venture has the potential to make a valued contribution to the UK economy and that you are capable and willing to commit to making the business successful.
University endorsement processes may differ between institutions, but generally you should expect to submit an application with references in advance of a given deadline, followed by a business presentation or interview in front of a panel of experts.
If successful, you will be issued an endorsement letter which is valid for 3 months. During this time you must apply to the Home Office for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.
If you are successful, you may be required to maintain contact with the university.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) is working in conjunction with a consortium of private companies and charities (‘Sirius Programme’) to identify and support international graduate entrepreneurs with new commercial ventures in the UK.
Successful applications will benefit from a support package to maximise their chances of success.
Applications are typically invited in the autumn for consideration.
What am I allowed to do on the visa?
The visa is relatively flexible, but the overarching requirement is that is you commit the majority of your time to the business. There are no restrictions on working hours or working for another employer, but this has to be considered against the visa condition of committing to the venture.
I’m a Tier 4 student – can I switch or do I have to leave the UK to apply?
With a Tier 1 visa, you can apply to ‘switch’ to the graduate entrepreneur visa. You will need top apply before your current leave expires.
Also note that you won’t be permitted to start work on your new business while you are still on a Tier 4 visa – self-employment is not permitted under the Tier 4 visa conditions. You must wait until the graduate entrepreneur visa is granted.
How long does the visa last?
The graduate entrepreneur visa is issued for a maximum period of 12 months. After this date, you cahve a couple of options. You could apply to extend the visa for a further 12months.
You could apply to switch to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The benefit of this route is that you can apply with reduced investment funds of £50,000.
Can I apply to settle at the end of the visa?
The graduate entrepreneur visa doesn’t lead to UK settlement, but if you switch to the main Tier 1 Entrepreneur route, you may then become eligible after the qualifying period and provided you satisfy the eligibility requirements.
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We can also help with:
TIER 1 ENTREPRENEUR VISA APPLICATIONS
We can support with all aspects of the entrepreneur visa application process.
Exceptional talent visa holders may be eligible for fast-tracked settlement in the UK through Indefinite Leave to Remain, provided certain criteria are met.
TIER 1 INVESTOR VISAS
If you have a minimum of £2million to invest in the UK, the Tier 1 Investor visa may be an option for you.