Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
This visa has now been replaced by the Start Up Visa, as of 29 March 2019.
If you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland with a graduate degree as well as a genuine and credible business idea you may be eligible to apply for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. This visa allows the applicant to start or join a UK business which will be granted as an initial one-year stay in the UK to set up your business. You will then be able to extend this visa by one year and then switch to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa if your business is successful.
You must be endorsed as part of the Elite global graduate entrepreneur programme (Sirius) or an authorised endorsing UK Higher education institution (HEI). Your application will be processed depending on your endorsement, and you will also be required to pay the NHS surcharge. If you are not a graduate but wish to start or join a UK business you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
Applications for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa have a high refusal rate and can be very complex therefore it is advised to speak to an immigration expert who can guide you through the process. Our team will support you through each step of the application process to try and obtain the best possible outcome.
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To be eligible you must be from outside the EEA (European Economic Area), have gained either your Bachelor’s degree or higher from a UK institution and have had your business idea endorsed by one of the remove institutions.
You must have evidence that you can financially support yourselves by either having £945 in your bank account if you’re applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if you’re applying from outside the UK.
There are many differences between the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and the Entrepreneur Visa. A Graduate Entrepreneur Visa can only be granted to someone with a UK Bachelors Degree or above. Someone applying for an Entrepreneur Visa needs to prove their previous experience and how their education will contribute to their business’ success in the UK.
The Entrepreneur Visa lasts for also a period of a most of 3 years and 4 months whereas the Graduate Entrepreneur period is one year. Furthermore, the Entrepreneur Visa requires you to have access to move funds to invest in the UK.
A Graduate Entrepreneur Visa must be endorsed by the DIT (Department for International Trade) as part of the elite global graduate entrepreneur programme (Sirius) or from a Higher Education body in the UK. The Higher Education must be able to endorse post-graduate visas in the UK.
There are many universities in the UK that do endorse this visa, but, it’s important to note that the amount of Graduate Entrepreneur Visas issued each year is usually under 2000 and this may decrease again after Brexit.
You must first apply through either your university or the DIT by putting together a business plan and a presentation about your business idea that will be judged by the institutions. The idea you present must be seen to be genuine and be seen to have a future in the UK.
Once your idea has been approved you can make the application. You’re able to apply online if you’re outside of the UK and if you are in the UK then your application must be sent through the post.
How long it takes depends on how you’ve been endorsed.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks if you’ve been endorsed by DIT. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
You can check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.
UK HEI endorsement
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks if you’ve been endorsed by a UK higher education institution. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
Can I bring my family members with me?
Family members from outside the EEA will be able to come with you, however, there are some requirements. They may either be your spouse or your child who is under the age of 18. They will have to pay their Healthcare Surcharge with their Dependent Visa application. There must also be evidence of maintenance funds for each dependent.
If applying for a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, it is important to note that there is an annual limit on the number accepted by the Home Office. The amount of Graduate Entrepreneur Visas issued each year is usually under 2000 and this may decrease again after Brexit.
As a result, your application for a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa will be heavily scrutinised and the assistance of a legal expert during your application process is highly advisable.
At AS, our team of expert immigration lawyers can walk you through each part of your application. We can also ensure that your business plan is as thorough as it needs to be, that you are fully prepared for your interview and that your chances of success are maximised.
AS can also assist with extending your Entrepreneur Visa once yours is set to expire.