UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa: How to Apply
If you are an entrepreneur, an investor, or a business tycoon and wish to carry out your business in the United Kingdom, the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is available for you. The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is a business visa issued for one year to residents of overseas countries who are graduates that have been officially endorsed as having a credible and genuine business idea to come to the UK to live and establish their business.
Moreover, the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is aimed at ‘high-value migrants’ such as investors and entrepreneurs who have funds available to set up or invest in a business in the UK. Graduates with an endorsed business plan and those deemed to have exceptional talent within their field of expertise can also apply.
We will diligently guide you through how to apply for this visa if you are eligible. Yet we still state the eligibility criteria, required documents, and other necessary information you may need to obtain this visa.
UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Application Criteria
For you to apply for this visa, you will meet the following criteria which are:
- Do not take any public funds.
- Be registered with the police.
- Do not get a job in the UK as a doctor or dentist in training.
- Meet the condition to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate – For candidates aged 18 over when given a visa or who will become 18 before the termination of the visa period.
- Do not get a job in the UK as a professional sportsperson.
Who can apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?
Any foreigner who wishes to apply for UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa should meet the following conditions:
- You must be a foreign UK graduate endorsed for entrepreneurial skills combined with a genuine and brilliant business idea.
- They must not be nationals of any European Economic Area (EEA) member state or Switzerland.
- You should be a foreign UK graduate recognized as an elite global entrepreneur who wants to open a business in the UK.
- They must seek to start a business in the UK the within the following areas:
- Sole ownership; Partnership;
- In a business that is registered in the UK.
- Must not come from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
Ways to apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
A foreigner can obtain the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa in three different ways which are:
- By applying for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.
- Or by switching to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.
- By extending their Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.
#1. By applying for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa
This application is made when the candidate is out of the UK and wants to enter the country. In such cases, they need to apply for an Entry Clearance or visa to enter as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.
#2. By switching to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
This application is made when the candidate is within the UK with another temporary visa known as Leave to Remain and wants to switch to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur from such a visa.
#3. By extending their Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
This application is made when the candidate is within the UK with a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and wants to stay even longer. The application to extend the stay in the UK should be made right before the end of the existing visa period, not after the expiration of such a visa.
Keep in mind that there is no possibility of getting an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – to settle in the UK with this visa type.
Steps to apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
There are two steps or stages to follow while applying for a visa. They are:
- The Endorsement or validation stage.
- And the Visa Application stage.
#1. The Endorsement or validation stage
The Endorsement or validation stage is where one of the following authorized bodies makes the endorsement for you:
- Higher Education Institution (HEI) that is listed as an authorized endorsing body
- The Department for International Trade (DIT) as part of The Elite Global Graduate Entrepreneur Programme (Sirius)
So a foreign UK graduate cannot be known for having a genuine and brilliant business idea or as an elite global entrepreneur if the above competent authorities do not endorse you first.
Get endorsement letter
You will get an endorsement letter from any of the above endorsement bodies. You should know that the endorsement letter is not a visa or visa formal application. Rather it is a document that shows that the candidate’s education, capabilities, ideas, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills are evaluated by competent establishments (UK HEI or DIT).
Requirements to get Endorsement Letter from a UK Authorized HEI
UK HEI will give an endorsement letter if a foreign UK graduate meets the following conditions:
- You have the UK-recognized Bachelor, Master’s, or Ph.D. Degree – A degree that is qualified equal to that by NARIC is also accepted as a replacement.
- Genuine and Brilliant Business Idea.
- The Readiness to Remain in The UK for Working and to develop That Business Idea.
- HEIs are allowed to endorse mostly 1,900 graduates during one year.
Conditions to get the Endorsement Letter from DIT
You will have to fulfill the following requirements for DIT to issue you the endorsement letter:
- Have a Degree that is equal to UK Bachelor Degree.
- Have properly Researched and Developed the Business Idea.
- Answers Questions on the Application Form with information about the candidate, business, and team members.
- Prepared a Pitch Desk: Describing the business and a business plan (a short PowerPoint or Prezi presentation consisting of introduction, team, problem, advantages, solution, product, traction, market, competition, business model, and investing.
- Created a Business Team: Usually with up to three members;
- Included links to the LinkedIn profiles of each business team member.
- Prepared a short Video to describe their business Idea.
- DIT is allowed to endorse mostly 100 graduates during one year.
The endorsement letter coverage
The endorsement letter should provide or cover the following information:
- Reference number.
- Date of issue and validity.
- Applicant’s name, birthday, nationality, and passport number.
- Information for dependent) of the candidate (those inside the UK already and those seeking to join him).
- Name and contact details of the endorsing institution.
- And Name and contact details of the authorizing body of the endorsing institution.
- Name, degree level, and date of taking the degree.
- Information about the business idea, including the business plan and the sector.
- Reason for endorsement of the candidate.
- Confirmation that the candidate’s business idea is genuine and brilliant.
- And proof that the candidate plans to remain in the UK to work and developing on that business idea.
- Confirmation that the endorsing institution is contented with the work made by the candidate in growing their business idea (only needed to apply for LR).
Other coverages are
- Candidates who are Endorsed are given a Letter of Endorsement from the same HEI where they took their Bachelor’s, Master or Ph.D. Degree (before being endorsed), they are exampled from bringing documents to prove their level of education (degree).
- Candidates who hold a letter of endorsement issued by DTI or from another UK HEI must also provide the following:
- Awarding certificate of qualification: It must be original, with the name of the candidate, the title of the qualification, the date of receiving it, and the name of the issuing institution: if the candidate has graduated already.
- The academic certificate: It must be official and original, with the name of the candidate, title of qualification, date of receiving it (or date they will be receiving it), and date of issuing certificate (if the candidate has not yet undergone the graduation ceremony), a letter of confirmation from the issuing HEI for the impossibility to reproduce the certificate or awarding certificate of qualification: if the candidate has not undergone the graduation ceremony yet, or if the Issuing body cannot reproduce the academic certificate.
- The academic transcript must be original and official, with the name of the candidate and of issuing HEI, the title of the course, and the confirmation of the award – if the awarding certificate of qualification cannot be reproduced.
- Academic reference from university – Is allowed as a substitute for documents above: The issuing university must be where the candidate took their degree, and it is acceptable only for candidates who qualify as exceptional research areas, i.e., a doctor and they cannot provide original documents, yet such reference must include the information above.
#2. The Visa Application
After getting an endorsement letter from the appropriate bodies, the applicant is due to apply for UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. So the application stage will take the following steps:
- Compile the Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneur document file.
- Fulfill general requirements of application for a UK visa.
- Pass general grounds for refusal.
- Have 75 points for attributes
- Have 10 points for understanding the English language: The Level of English is equivalent to a B1 level. The candidate is exempt from this requirement if;
- The study program where they took their degree was held in the English Language, which NARIC qualifies for equivalence with a UK Bachelor, Master, or Ph.D. Degree;
- They are endorsed by the same UK HEI where they took their university degree.
- Was never issued the following visas:
- Tier 1 (Post-Study Work);
- As a participant in the Fresh Talent Working in Scotland.
- An unconditional written consent of the sponsor to the visa application
- As a participant in the International Graduates Scheme.
- Maintenance funds of £945 per month.
- As a participant in the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme.
- Don’t have a history of overstaying in the UK.
Tier 1 Visa application requirements for Holders of an HEI Letter of Endorsement
A foreign person with a valid Letter of Endorsement can apply for a visa if:
- The UK-recognized Bachelor’s, Master or Ph.D. Degree.
- Endorsement letter from an authorized HEI.
- Approval letter from a financial sponsor – In cases when a candidate was a financially covered student from a Government or an International Scholarship Awarding Institution (in the last year).
Tier 1 Visa requirements for holders of a DIT Letter of Endorsement
A person who DIT endorses must be in the following situations:
- Degree equal to a UK Bachelor’s degree;
- Endorsement letter from DIT.
- Confirmation letter from NARIC – To confirm the equality of a foreign degree with a UK Degree.
How to apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Extension
If a holder of a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa wishes to extend his stay in the UK or apply for a visa extension, the person should do the following:
- They should apply for a Leave to Remain (LR) in Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.
- The longest extra period one can get by an LR in this visa category is six other years.
Requirements for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Extension
If you are ready to apply for an extension of the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, you should meet the following conditions:
- Fulfill the criteria to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.
- Have 10 points minimum for maintenance: The candidate must give documents to evidence having £1,890 saved to support himself financially while in the UK.
- If the holder has a permit to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the institution issuing the endorsement letter.
How to Switch to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
To switch to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa while in the UK with the following visas: Tier 4 General Visa; or Tier 2 General Visa. You will meet the following requirements:
- Endorsement letter from an authorized HEI in the UK;
- Endorsement letter from DIT.
- Maintenance funds of £945 per month: there is no need to show maintenance funds if DIT Endorsement covers such costs for the candidate.
- Unconditional written consent of the sponsor to the visa application.
- Bachelor, Master, or Ph.D. degree recognized in the UK.
- Biometric information (fingerprints and photos).
Points of attributions in Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
For candidates applying for EC or LR in Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur:
25 points are given if the candidate has an endorsement letter from a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) only if that institution has one of the following statuses:
- Sponsor Tier 4 visa holders.
- Licensed A-class Sponsor for Tier 2.
- And Licensed A-class Sponsor for Tier 5.
- It is a degree-awarding institution with the authority and competence to find, promote and develop entrepreneurs among undergraduates and postgraduates.
- Twenty-five points – are given for having an endorsement letter from the Department for International Trade (DIT) that endorses the candidate.
- Or 25 Points – if the candidate holds a degree recognized in the UK, taken in the UK or abroad if it is qualified as equal to UK Bachelor Degree (only if confirmed by UK NARIC).
- 25 Points: If the candidate holds The Endorsement Letter: with the approval of the competent endorsing body, indicating that the candidate is qualified as having a genuine and brilliant business idea; and that they are ready to stay in the UK for working and developing that business idea in a specific business sector which should be mentioned in the letter.
Financial Requirements for Tier 1 visa holder dependants
Tier 1 visa applicants who want to be with their dependents need to have a certain amount of money in their account as proof they can fund their stay and dependents in the UK.
Therefore, the following money should be in with the candidate for their dependents living and accommodation costs. When applying from within the UK, the principal applicant must show they have at least £945 per month and £1,890 per month when applying from outside.
Whereas they must show at least £945 per month for each application from within the UK and £1,890 per month when applying from outside.
Moreover, maintenance money must be kept in the candidate’s bank account at least three months before the application.
Documents for proof of finance
You will submit the following documents to prove that you can financially support yourself and your dependents while in the United Kingdom. Those documents are:
- Personal Bank or other Financial Institution Statements: They must cover a period of three consecutive) months before the application.
- Financial Institution Pass Book: Covering three consecutive months before the application.
- Letter from a Bank or other regulated Financial Institution: UK (FCA) or other home regulatory body must regulate Bank or Financial Institution for saving accounts.
- DIT Endorsement Letter: If the candidate has a type of Endorsement from DIT. This also covers the maintenance costs of the candidate and their dependents; they do not need to give other documents to prove they have enough funds to live in the UK.
- The letter should include three consecutive months before the application. It must contain the candidate’s name, account number, and date of letter issuance. Also name and other official information of the issuing institution and the amount of money in the account of the candidate.
- When the money is in another foreign currency, it must be converted to pounds sterling. Money must be held in the form of cash in savings or an existing account.
The application cost for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa
The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa application costs depend on whether you are applying from within or outside the UK. Though, there are lower fees for Turkish and Macedonian nationals.
Candidates applying from outside the UK will need to pay a fee of £349, aside from Turkish and Macedonian nationals who will pay a lower fee of £294. In contrast, every applicant will need to pay an extra £294 for each of their dependents if they are planning to bring them to the UK.
While if the applicant is already in the UK and is applying to switch to or extend their Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, then they will have to pay a fee of £474. While Turkish and Macedonian citizens will have to pay a lower fee of £419. As for dependents, each applicant must pay an amount of £474 for their dependents, regardless of nationality.
Can you work on a Tier 1 visa?
A Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa will allow you to set up or take over the running of one business or more. You can work for your own business as a self-employed individual, provided the work meets the criteria for being self-employed. You can also bring family members and dependents with you.
How much money is needed for a UK business visa?
How much money is needed for a UK business visa? Applicants must initially have funds of at least £3,310 (₹3,30,150). Those applying to extend their visa must have funds of at least £945 (₹94,257).
What is the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas?
Tier 1 visas are for particularly exceptional people who can contribute significantly to the UK and investors and entrepreneurs. Tier 2 is used for the Skilled Worker system. Tier 5 visas are also known as Temporary Worker visas. These visas are issued for no longer than 12 months in the UK.
How long does a Tier 1 visa last?
Your initial Tier 1 Investor visa will be valid for either three years and four months (if applying from overseas) or three years (if applying from within the UK).
How much do I need to invest in getting PR in the UK?
An investment of at least £5,000,000 means the investor is eligible to apply for permanent residence after three years of UK residence. An investment of at least £10,000,000 means the investor is eligible to apply for permanent residency after two years of UK residence.
UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is quite beneficial so think of acquiring this visa by following our guide. In addition, our website provides information about other UK visas like UK Global Talent Visa, Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa, Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, UK Tier 2 General Visa, etc.