If you are from outside of the European Economic Area or Switzerland and you want to set up or run a business in the UK, you may want to apply for an entrepreneur visa.
What is an entrepreneur Visa?
The Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa is for those that have the talent to propose a genuine business idea and invest funds into a company in the UK.
As soon as you receive your initial visa, you can enter and stay in the UK for a maximum of three years and four months. During this time, you can:
- Set up your own business or take over one or more running businesses in the UK
- Bring your family members with you, provided they have a visa as your dependant
If you are capable of attesting that you have met certain criteria, you can then apply to extend your visa for another two years. After spending 5 years in the UK, you are eligible for applying for a permanent residence.
Who can apply for a Tier 1 Visa?
If you are not a citizen of the EU, UK, or Switzerland, an entrepreneur visa is needed if you want to invest funds into a company in the UK. Also, there are different eligibilities, such as:
- You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 Visa.
- Your funds should be held in other regulated financial institutions, and you should have funds that are free to spend on business in the UK.
- You must be at least 16 years old and be capable of supporting yourself during your stay.
- If you’re not a national from any of the listed countries on the governmental page, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.
How long does it take to get a visa?
The earliest you can apply for a Tier 1 visa is 3 months before the date of your travel.
If you are planning to travel on the 25th of August, you can apply on the 26th of May.
You should receive a decision in regards to your visa within 3 weeks.
How about the documents?
You will need to provide a valid travel document, like a passport when applying. Also, evidence will be needed to prove that your investment funds are available for you.
Consider these things as well when applying for an entrepreneur visa:
- Be sure that you have a business plan prepared
- Additional documents may be needed depending on your circumstances
- The genuine entrepreneur test is where the majority of unsuccessful applicants fail. The home office will then decide whether they believe you are genuinely intending to start or take over a business and if the money is genuinely available for you.
- Home Office/embassy interview an interviewer will ask questions about your background, expertise, funding and the business plan.
Applying outside the UK
If you are willing to apply outside of the UK, then you must apply online. You will need to provide your fingerprints and picture- which will have to be taken at a visa application center as part of the application. Also, you will need to provide your biometric residence permit in the UK.
Depending on what country you’re in, you may be able to get your visa faster – you just have to check that with your visa application center.