The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
Many people wish to move to the UK for the purposes of buying into or opening a business. If this is the case for you a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa may be a good option for you.
What makes the UK desirable to entrepreneurs?
The UK has long been a very desirable place to start a business, and has attracted entrepreneurs from around the world. Historically this has been due to the strong economy, the government’s respect for industry and private property in general, and of course the long-term stability of the currency. Investments into UK land and businesses tend to be reliable, especially compared to other economies across Europe.
Qualifying for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
First, though, there are a few requirements. You cannot be from anywhere in the EEA (The European Economic Area), nor from Switzerland. Of course, EEA and Swiss nationals have other routes to live and work in the UK. You must be fluent in written and spoken English. You must be 16 years old or older. Eligibility is points-based. You must score 95 or more points on the official Home Office Points Calculator.
Of course, there is also an investment requirement. Assuming that you are already present in the UK on a Tier 1 (post-study worker) visa, you must be in a position to invest at least £50,000 in your business. These finds must be held in regulated financial institutions (such as reputable banks), and must be ‘disposable’, meaning you can actually spend them. You must also show that you can support yourself whilst you are in the UK.
The funds can be held in your name, or under certain circumstances by a third party but available for your use. They can be in a bank, building society or other regulated financial institution, either in the UK or abroad. It is possible to aggregate funds from several sources, so long as you can prove you have real access to all of the sources.
Documenting your eligibility
Applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is a fairly straightforward process. However, you should not begin the process until you have all the necessary documents to hand. At a minimum, you’ll need:
- A valid passport (or similar travel documentation)
- Evidence of your investment funds or the investments you’ve already made
- A credible business plan
- Evidence that you can support yourself in the UK
- Certified criminal records from any country in which you’ve lived for more than 1 year in the last 10 years
- Documentation that you pass the English language requirements mentioned earlier.
- If you are from any of certain countries, you must also provide tuberculosis test results.
In all likelihood, some or all of these documents will be in a language other than English or Welsh. If so, you’ll need to provide a certified translation into English or Welsh for all such documents.
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