Entrepreneur Visas | Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category applies to the main applicant and all immediate family members, including spouse and children under the age of 18.  Initially, entrepreneur visa is granted for three years and four months and can then be extended for another two years. Applicants in the first category are eligible to apply for British citizenship after having spent 6 years in the country, while those who create ten jobs or achieve an annual turnover of £5 million a year are eligible to apply after 5 years of residence in the UK.

To make a successful entrepreneur visa application, applicants are required to score sufficient points based on the funds that are available to them to invest, their English Language ability and by having enough money for their living costs in the UK (maintenance).

Applicants need to have access to either:

At least £200,000


  • All of the above funds need to have been held in one or more regulated financial institutions.
  • All of the above funds need to be free to spend in the United Kingdom (disposable).


At least £50,000 from:

  • 1 or more registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services authority; or
  • 1 or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade and Investment website, or
  • 1 or more UK government departments, which have made the funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.

English Language Requirement

Level B1 of the CEFR. List of English Language Tests

Maintenance (living costs)

Applicants are also required to meet the maintenance requirement. This means that in addition to the funds required for investment they need to show personal funds to satisfy the UKVI that they will be able to pay for their own living costs.

Switching (someone already in the UK under a different immigration category applying to extend their stay under a different immigration category)

It is possible for those who are in the United Kingdom under the Tier (1 Post Study Worker) or Tier 4 (general) category to switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category. For those who have the required endorsement and UK degree, there is also the option of applying as a Graduate Entrepreneur.

How long?

Leave is initially granted for three years (if the applicant is switching into this category) or three years four months (if the applicant is applying from abroad).

Can I extend it?

Yes, if you can prove that you have invested the funds. You also need to prove that you:

Have created at least two new jobs for British citizens or settled workers –these rules can be flexible, arrange a consultation to find out more.

Are engaged in business activity.

Does it lead to settlement?

Yes, the standard requirement for settlement is five years spent in this category. It is also possible to fast-track the time spent in the UK to obtain settlement if you create ten jobs or achieve an annual turnover of £5 million a year.

You may also be interested in a Tier 1 Investor Visa if you’re looking to invest in a UK based company.

Important: Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa changes introduced on 31 January 2013.

  • The government were concerned that this route was being used by people who were not going to set up genuine businesses
  • So changes have been introduced, the changes are as follows:

The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that:

  • the applicant genuinely intends and is able to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within 6 months;
  • the applicant genuinely intends to invest the money into the business/s
  • that the money is genuinely available to the applicant and will remain available to him/her until it is spent by his/business or businesses.

In deciding if the applicant’s plan for their business is genuine the Entry Clearance Officer will take into account the following factors:

  • The evidence the applicant has submitted;
  • The credibility and viability of the source of the money;
  • The credibility and viability of the applicant’s business plans and market research into their chosen business sector;
  • The applicant’s previous educational and business experience (or lack of it);
  • The applicant’s immigration history and previous activity in the UK; and
  • Any other relevant information.

UKVISAS.COM does not provide any immigration advice and is no longer regulated by OISC.

Some information on UK visa categories has been outdated as UK Immigration policies have changed. We recommend contacting us directly for the most recent changes to the UK visa categories.