This route is for non-EEA migrants who have both a qualifying UK degree and the required endorsement and who want to set up one or more UK businesses. The aim of the UK government is that this route will allow them to retain aspiring entrepreneurs.
To apply under Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category an applicant must obtain an endorsement from a qualifying UK Higher Educational Institution EI) or the Department for International Trade which confirms that he/she has been identified as having developed world-class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills. The applicant will therefore first have to apply for a letter of endorsement by presenting the body in question with his/her business plan. Without a letter of endorsement an application will be refused. See our study visa page for normal student visa requirements.
This route is part of the points based system therefore applicants are required to score 75 points for their attributes, 10 points for their English Language skills and 10 points for their maintenance.
To score the required points for attributes under this category an applicant needs to have been awarded a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from a higher education institution that is an A-rated sponsor and is able to issue letters of endorsement, in a particular format, which confirm certain required details about the applicant and their business idea.
If an applicant scores 75 points for their attributes they will automatically score 10 points for their English Language skills. This is because they will hold a degree that was taught in English by a UK Higher Education Institution.
An applicant will also need to show that they have sufficient funds for their living costs in the UK.
If granted an applicant will initially be given one year’s leave but they are able to extend this for another year if the body which originally endorsed them is able to issue them with another Letter of Endorsement. This route does not lead directly to settlement. However it is possible to switch from this route into Tier 1 Entrepreneur, which can lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain).
If you consider yourself a budding entrepreneur who has or will soon be awarded a UK degree then this could be the route for you. Alternatively, you may be interested in an investor visa.