Tier 1 – UK Visa for Investors and Entrepreneurs

Tier 1 is one of the immigration routes under the UK’s points-based visa system available to individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Tier 1 is aimed at ‘high value migrants’ such as investors and entrepreneurs who have funds available to set up or invest in a business in the UK, graduates with an endorsed business plan and those deemed to have exceptional talent within their field of expertise.

What are the different visas under the Tier 1 visa scheme?

Within the tier 1 visa scheme, there are four separate categories:

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
  • Tier 1 (Investor) Visa
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa

We take a brief look at the eligibility and application criteria for each of the Tier 1 visas.

 

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

This tier 1 visa is for non-EEA national entrepreneurs who want to come to the UK to set up a new enterprise or take over the running of an existing UK business.

Eligibility

To apply, you will need to prove you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You want to run or set up a business that is based within the UK
  • You are a national of a non-EEA country
  • You are able to meet English language requirements
  • You are over the age of 16
  • You are able to support yourself financially within the UK
  • You should achieve a minimum points score of 95 on the points-based assessment
  • You have access to the minimum level of investment fund

Minimum investment funds

Investment funds of £200,000 will be required. It is also possible to make an application on the basis of £50,000 investment funds from a DTI-approved endorsed by the Department for International Trade, an FCI-registered venture capital firm or a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business.

For the investment funds, you will need to show that these are held in one or more regulated financial institutions. The funds should also be disposable and available to spend freely in the UK on business.

It is possible to form what is known as an “entrepreneurial team” with another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa applicant. In this instance, as well as meeting the eligibility criteria above, for this tier 1 visa you and your fellow team member also need to ensure that the same funds are not used on a separate application.

It may also be possible to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa on the basis of a previous investment in a UK business made less than 12 months before you make your application.

How to apply

You can apply up to 3 months before you intend to travel. The application fee will depend on how and where you are applying from.

When you apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, you will need to  provide the following evidence to support your application:

  • A current and valid passport that has one page that is blank on both sides or travel identification document
  • Proof of your available investment funds
  • A plan for your business
  • Proof that you can support yourself while you are in the UK
  • Proof that you have achieved the required English language standard
  • Results from a negative tuberculosis test if applicable
  • A criminal record certificate if you have stayed in any country for 12 months or more over a 10 year period

You will also be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.

The maximum period of period of stay under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur is 3 years and 4 months, at which point you may wish to apply for an extension, should you and your business continue to be eligible.

Tier 1 (Investor) visa

This tier 1 visa is for investors and the eligibility criteria for applications is as follows:

  • You have £2,000,000 or more that you wish to invest within the UK, which is held in one or more regulated financial institutions and is available to spend freely in the UK on business
  • You are based outside of the EEA and Switzerland
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You have a UK bank account
  • You have proof that the funds belong to you, your spouse or partner
  • You should meet a minimum points score of 75

How to apply 

When you apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, you will need to be able to provide the following evidence to support your application:

  • A current and valid passport that has one page that is blank on both sides or travel identification document
  • Proof of your available investment funds – where it’s being held, where it came from (if you haven’t had it for 3 months at least) and that it can be transferred into sterling
  • Results from a negative tuberculosis test if applicable
  • A criminal record certificate if you have stayed in any country for 12 months or more over a 10 year period

Under a Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, the maximum permitted stay is 3 years and 4 months, at which point you would be required to apply to extend your visa for a further 2 years in order to remain in the UK lawfully.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa 

This tier 1 visa is for graduate entrepreneurs and the eligibility criteria for applications is as follows:

  • You are a graduate with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD that is recognised within the UK
  • You have a credible endorsement for your business idea (either from the Department of Trade as part of the Sirius programme, or from an authorised UK higher education establishment)
  • You are based outside of the EEA and Switzerland
  • You have £945 in savings if you are applying from within the UK or £1890 if you are applying from another country
  • You are able to meet English language requirements
  • You meet a minimum points score of 95

How to apply 

When you apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa, you will need to be able to provide the following evidence to support your application:

  • A current and valid passport that has one page that is blank on both sides or travel identification document
  • An endorsement letter
  • A bank statement that shows proof of your savings
  • Proof that you have achieved the required English language standard
  • Results from a negative tuberculosis test if applicable

The maximum that you can stay within the UK is one year before you can apply for a 1 year extension.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa 

This tier 1 visa is for exceptional talent and the eligibility criteria for applications is as follows:

  • You work within in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology, fashion or the arts
  • You are endorsed by the Home Office as a recognised leader or an emerging leader in your particular field
  • You are based outside of the EEA and Switzerland
  • You meet a minimum points score of 75

How to apply

Before making an application to the Home Office, you must first secure endorsement from the relevant industry body to confirm your status as ‘exceptional talent’ in one of the following prescribed fields:

  • science
  • engineering
  • humanities
  • medicine
  • digital technology
  • the arts
  • fashion

This is done via an online application form.

If you are successfully endorsed, you can proceed to the next stage, applying to the Home Office for your visa. When you apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa, you will need to be able to provide the following evidence to support your application:

  • A current and valid passport that has one page that is blank on both sides or travel identification document
  • An endorsement letter from the Home Office
  • You must be able to provide evidence of your skills, abilities and achievements within your specific field
  • Proof that you have achieved the required English language standard
  • Results from a negative tuberculosis test if applicable

You will be required to pay a fee for both stages in the application process. You can only apply 3 months before you travel. The maximum that you can stay within the UK is 5 years and 4 months if you make your application outside the UK or 5 years if you make your application inside the UK. You can then apply for an extension of up to 5 years.

Do you need help with a Tier 1 visa application?

Before making a UK visa application, take professional legal advice to ensure you have selected the most appropriate route, and for guidance on how to meet Home Office requirements and make a successful application.

DavidsonMorris specialise in Tier 1 applications. We work with applicants from across the world seeking to enter or remain in the UK by establishing, investing in or taking over a business here.

We provide advice from the initial stages of the Home Office application process, 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 form and guidance on visa interviews.

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.

By |2018-08-20T16:36:24+00:00August 14th, 2018|Comments Off on Tier 1 – UK Visa for Investors and Entrepreneurs