Investment

Entrepreneur Visas

If you wish to set up or invest in a business in the UK and have access to £200,000 (or £50,000), you may qualify to live and work in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur.

You can also switch into the entrepreneur immigration category if you are already in the UK under Tier 1, 2 or 4 of the points-based system. Your family members may accompany you as your dependents.

Initial applications: UK tier 1 entrepreneur visa

For an initial entrepreneur visa application to succeed, you will need to show that you have access to:

  • £200,000; or
  • £50,000 if it is provided by a registered venture capitalist firm, UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or UK Government Department; or
  • £50,000 if you are currently in the UK as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or as a Tier 1 Post Study Work migrant.

You can rely on your own money (including money that has been gifted to you) or money that is held in any third parties' account provided that they confirm that the funds are available to you for investment in a business. The funds must be held in a regulated financial institution and, if outside the UK, be freely transferable to the UK. You and one other person can apply together as an ‘entrepreneurial team’ as long as you both have equal access to the money.

Requirements

You will need to be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking) and have enough additional money to support yourself without relying on public funds.

You will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you genuinely intend and are able to be actively involved in the running of a UK business and that you have a viable and credible business plan.

As part of your Entrepreneur visa application you may be interviewed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

If you are currently in the UK as a Tier 1 Post Study Work migrant, you will only be able to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category if you set up a business before 11 July 2014, have been continuously engaged in business activity since and are working in an occupation skilled to National Qualifications Framework level 4 or above.

Extension applications:  UK tier 1 entrepreneur visa

In order to extend your stay as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, you will need to show that:

  • You registered as a business director or as self-employed within 6 months of either entering the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or being granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur; and
  • You have invested at least £200,000 or £50,000 (as appropriate) in a business or businesses in the UK; and
  • You have created at least two full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK and these jobs have existed for at least 12 months.
  • You will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you genuinely intend and are able to be actively involved in the running of a UK business and that you have a viable and credible business plan.

Settlement in the UK: UK tier 1 entrepreneur visa

If you have invested in a new or existing UK business and your investment has created at least two new full-time jobs, you may apply for permanent residence in the UK after five years. You may qualify for accelerated permanent residence after 3 years if you create 10 new jobs or your business received at least £5 million in income from business activity.

In addition, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK.

You can spend up to 180 days (six months) outside the UK each year and still qualify for permanent residence.

For advice and assistance with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors.

Immigration for Investors

If you are a non-EU national and have over £2 million of your own money to invest in the UK, you may qualify to come and live in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor.

You can also switch into the investor category if you are already in the UK under Tiers 1, 2 or 4 of the points-based system. Your family members may join or accompany you as your dependents.

Initial applications: UK tier 1 investor visa

For an initial investor visa application to succeed, you will need to show that:

  • You have funds amounting to at least £2 million belonging to yourself, your partner or the two of you jointly;
  • The money is held in a regulated financial institution, such as a bank, building society, credit union, stock brokerage or asset management firm; and
  • The money is disposable in the UK; and
  • You have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purpose of investing not less than £2 million in the UK.

If your investment funds have been held for a consecutive 90-day period prior to the date of application, then you will not be required to prove the source of funds. However, you will need to demonstrate that the funds are genuinely yours, that you are free to invest them and that they have been acquired lawfully.

If your investment funds have not been held for a consecutive 90-day period prior to the date of application, then you will need to prove the source of the funds. For example, the source of funds could be a gift, a sale of property, a will, a divorce settlement, a prize winning or other source(s).

Where the funds have been provided by a third party, you will need to show that there is nothing about the character, conduct or associations of that person that would mean granting your application would not be conducive to the public good.

Extension applications: UK tier 1 investor visa

In order to extend your stay in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor, you will need to show that:

  • You invested not less than £2 million of your capital in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies within 3 months of your grant of leave or entry to the UK;
  • You have maintained at least £2 million of your own funds, under your own control, in a permitted investment in the UK.

Settlement in the UK: UK tier 1 investor visa

If you invest £2 million in the UK, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years. You may qualify for accelerated permanent residence if you maintain an investment of £10 million over two years or £5 million over three years.

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as an investor, you will need to show that:

  • You have invested not less than £2 million of your capital in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies;
  • You have maintained at least £2 million of your own funds, under your own control, in the UK;
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK.

You may spend up to 180 days (six months) outside the UK each year and still qualify for permanent residence.

Please note that different requirements apply for Tier 1 Investors who applied to enter the category under the Immigration Rules in force prior to 6 November 2014.  If you submitted an investor visa application on or before 5 November 2014 then your application will be decided against the requirements of the Immigration Rules in force at that time.

For advice and assistance with a Tier 1 Investor visa application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs

If you have recently finished university in the UK, and would like to set up your own business, you may be able to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.

An application for a Graduate Entrepreneur visa can be made either from outside the UK or from within the UK if you have, or last had, permission to stay as a Tier 4 Student (or in various other Student categories), Tier 2 General Skilled Worker (if granted leave to work as a post-doctoral researcher for the same institution which is endorsing your application as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur) or you are looking to extend in this category. Your family members may accompany you as your dependents.

Initial applications:  Graduate entrepreneurs UK immigration legal requirements

For an initial application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Graduate Entrepreneur, you will need to show that you meet the following requirements:

  • You have been awarded a degree qualification which meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK (this may be a UK or overseas degree, but if relying on an overseas degree then UK NARIC must confirm the equivalency of the level of the qualification);
  • You have been endorsed by a UK Higher Education Institution or UK Trade and Investment;
  • The endorsement confirms that the endorsing body has assessed you and considers that you have a genuine and credible business idea and you will spend the majority of your working time on developing business ventures (if applying to extend your stay as a Graduate Entrepreneur, the endorsement must also confirm that you have made satisfactory progress in developing your business since your current leave was granted).

A total of 2,000 places are allocated on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme each year and applications must be submitted within 3 months of the date of the endorsement.

In addition, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You can speak and understand English to a required standard; and
  • You have enough maintenance funds to support yourself.

If your application is successful, you will be granted entry clearance or leave to remain for a period of one year.  Before your leave expires, you can then extend your stay for one more year if your university or college still endorses you and confirms that you have made satisfactory progress in developing your business.

Alternatively, Graduate Entrepreneurs can apply for further leave to remain in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category if they have access to at least £50,000. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category can lead to settlement in the UK.

For advice and assistance with a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa application or appeal, contact our immigration solicitors in London.

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