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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa


*** The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is closed to new entrants. Those holding existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur status can continue to apply for extensions and indefinite leave to remain subject to meeting the necessary requirements. ***
To have qualified for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa you must have had access to £200,000 to invest in a business in the UK, held sufficient maintenance funds and have met a minimum English language standard.

Once the visa has been granted you will be expected to be engaged full-time in the running of the business. By the end of the 2nd year you must have created at least 2 full-time jobs.

An entrepreneur can establish one or more businesses and can qualify for accelerated settlement depending on the success of the business enterprise.

Initial approval was given for a period of 3 years and 4 months if applying from outside the UK, or 3 years if applying from within. Depending upon the success of your business, you could qualify for settlement after 3 years.

RLegal will guide you through the complex evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your extension and settlement applications. We have over 20 years experience of lodging successful applications in this and its predecessor categories. We will take the worry out of the process and give you peace of mind.

For more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7038 3980 where you can talk to one of our team, email us at or complete our online form.

Alternatively click on the links below for frequently asked questions.

There were various routes to entrepreneur status depending upon an applicant’s immigration status, the amount of money available to them and the source of those funds.


Applicants must have held either:


-£200,000 or more in your or your partner’s name, or in the name of a third party provided that they will be made available to you if the application is successful.


Please note, if you are applying from within the UK the funds must be held within the UK;


-or £50,000 from:

-one or more registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority;

-one or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is listed have been endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment website; or


-one or more UK Government Departments or Devolved Government Departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which is made available by the Department(s) for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business; or £50,000 if you hold a valid Tier 1 Post Study Work visa provided that you:

-were registered with HM Revenue and Customs as self-employed, or a registered director of a new or existing business no more than 3 months before application; and

-are engaged in business activity, other than the work necessary to administer the business.


The occupation must appear on the list of occupations at the National Qualifications Framework level 4 and above, as stated in the codes of practice for Tier 2 sponsors; or £50,000 if you were last granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.


All funds must be held in a regulated financial institution.

Two applicants may apply at the same time to be part of an entrepreneurial team, relying on one sum of £200,000.

In order to satisfy the language requirement you will need to show that you have a good command of the English language. This can be done by:


-being a national of a specified English speaking country;

-holding a degree which was taught in English; or

-passing an approved English language test at CEFR level B1 in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening).


This is equivalent to a score of 4.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

You must be able to show a minimum daily balance for 90 days over and above the £200,000 investment funds. The maintenance thresholds are:


-£3310 for a single applicant outside the UK; and

-£945 for a single applicant within the UK.


Each dependant of the main applicant will increase these amounts by:

-£1890; or

-£630 if the main applicant has been in the UK for more than 12 months.

Within 6 months of approval or entry to the UK (whichever is the later), you will be expected to:


- register with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed; or

- register a new business and be appointed as a director; or

- register as a director of an existing business.


Additionally, your investment must result in the creation of at least 2 full-time jobs for resident workers that last for at least 12 months each.


You may make your investment by:


-a direct cash investment;

-share capital;

-a combination of the two, the proportion of which does not matter; or

-a director’s loan provided it is unsecured and subordinated in favour of third-party creditors.


The following types of investment are excluded from the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route:


-'any' investment in residential property;


-property development*; or


- property management*.


*These terms specifically do not allow development of property to increase its value for sale or for rental purposes.


Genuine entrepreneur test

The Home Office has introduced this test as from 6 November 2014 to Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications and allows them to question whether:


- the applicant intends or is able to establish or take over a business within 6 months; or


- the funds will continue to be available for investment until spent from either the applicant or third party.

Applicants for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa must pay an 'NHS surcharge' of £200 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa.


Outside the UK


Applicants not presently in the UK must apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to enter the UK in the correct capacity.


The application should be lodged at the nearest British overseas post authorised to deal with such matters. The process involves submission of an online application and original specified evidence and attendance at a biometric appointment. Applicants from certain specified countries may be required to undertake a tuberculosis test. Processing times vary enormously between countries and can be from 1-6 weeks or more.


Inside the UK


For those already in the UK in Tiers 1, 2 or 4 it is possible to apply direct to the Home Office via either the postal system or premium same day service.


A super premium service is also available where the Home Office will visit a location of your choosing to take your biometric data.


The process involves submission of an application with specified evidence and attendance at a biometric appointment. Premium and super premium applications are processed in 1 day. Postal applications vary but are typically between 3-6 weeks. Entrepreneur applications are prioritised by the Home Office.

Outside the UK


-£1191 - dependants only

Some (but not all) British visa application centres around the world offer a ‘Priority Settlement Service’. This is an additional cost service that will place your application at the front of the processing queue. Use of this service may speed up the processing time for your application, however, the Home Office do not guarantee expedited treatment.


Inside the UK




If you have complied with the requirements of the visa (see above) and invested your money in the UK business, you will be eligible to extend your visa for a further period of 2 years. Once you have completed 5 years in the UK under this category you should be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence).


If your business was adversely affected by the Covid pandemic and is unable to satisfy the job creation requirements, you may be able to rely on a Home Office concession to apply for a further extension of leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur during which time you will be expected to create at least 2 full-time jobs.


Applicants must pay an 'NHS surcharge' of £624 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa.

An entrepreneur can be accompanied to the UK by their spouse/civil partner/long term partner and children under the age of 18.


Each dependant must pay an 'NHS surcharge' of £200 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa.


Dependants will be granted permission to stay in the UK in line with the entrepreneur.

After five years continuous stay in the UK in this category, an applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain, (settlement or permanent residence as it is commonly known).


You should have complied with the conditions of your visa (see above) and have absences from the UK of no more than 180 days in any 12 month period counting back from the date of application. If your absences exceed the permitted limits, you can still apply for an extension of permission.


There is an accelerated route to settlement for particularly successful businesses. Where an entrepreneur’s investment leads to the creation of at least 10 jobs, or where income from business activity exceeds £5 million during a 3 year period, the qualification period for indefinite leave to remain is reduced to 3 years.


If your business was affected by the Covid pandemic and affected your ability to create two jobs, the Home Office has a concession in place so that you are not further penalised.


If your business created 2 full-time jobs but you had to furlough these staff during the pandemic, you can rely on furloughed employment towards the job creation require provided that you paid your furloughed staff 80% of their salary.


If the business was unable to create 2 full-time posts, you can apply for a further extension of 2 years as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur.


- Comprehensive legal advice.


- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements.


- Assistance with compiling the evidence required for this category including liaising with your bank.


- Completion and submission of all forms.


- Booking a biometric appointment.


- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


If you would like to discuss your application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form.

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