If you are a recent graduate from outside the EEA and Switzerland and you possess relevant entrepreneurial skills to develop a genuine and credible business in the United Kingdom (UK), you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. To be eligible for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, you must: (a) hold a UK recognised academic qualification (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD) and (b) obtain an endorsement from either a Higher Education Institution (HEI) or the Department for International Trade (DIT). The specific supporting documents that you will need to provide will depend on which route of endorsement you will be adopting.Apply for the UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa to Start-up your Business
How to Apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
The process comprises of 2 stages. Firstly, you must be endorsed by either a Higher Education Institution (HEI) that is an authorised endorsing agent or by the Department of International Trade (DIT). Secondly, after you have obtained an endorsement, you can move forward to make the visa application in accordance with Immigration Rules.
Below are the essential criteria that you will need to satisfy to be eligible for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa:
- Be from outside the EEA and Switzerland;
- Have obtained an endorsement from a HEI or DIT;
- Hold a UK recognised Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD;
- Satisfy the English language requirement (you may be exempt from the requirement if you are a national of a majority English speaking country or if you hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD that is taught in English and is equivalent to UK qualifications);
- Meet the maintenance requirements. You will need to have held £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1890 if applying outside of the UK. You will have to demonstrate that you have held these funds for 90 consecutive days immediately prior to your date of application;
- Do not fall under the general grounds for refusal in accordance with Immigration Rules.
How to Apply for Endorsement from a HEI
The Home Office regularly review the list of authorised endorsing bodies and often invite HEIs to be part of this Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.
HEIs, often universities, usually notify their students when they have become listed as an authorised endorsing body and they will invite students to apply for an endorsement. When students proceed to request for an endorsement, they will likely enter a competitive selection process. This is because there is only 2000 available endorsements annually in the whole of UK. In those 2000 places, 1900 places has been allocated to HEIs; this is then shared amongst 124 HEIs currently. This means that each HEI will have a limited number of endorsements and they will have to ensure that they endorse only the best candidates.
You should be prepared to produce an extensive business plan and be able to pitch and present your business as genuine and credible.
How to Apply for Endorsement from the DIT
The DIT is engaged in a non-profit partnership with a consortium of private companies and charities to run ‘The Sirius Programme’. This programme will provide a full support package to enable promising entrepreneurs with credible innovative ideas to launch their businesses.
The annual limit of endorsements under The Sirius Programme is set at 100, applicants should ensure that they meet the high standard of criteria set out by the DIT in order to be successful in their request for endorsement.
Important Need-To-Knows for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs
If you are successful in your visa application, you will be granted a maximum of 1 year Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK. You may extend your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa before it expires. Depending on your current situation, you may also be eligible to switch to a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. The application fees and processing time vary depending on your situation.
Once you are in the UK as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, you are expected to spend the majority of your time on your business; you may set up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. There are possibilities to take on a second job or to study; however, there are strict regulations around these activities.
Using Legal Representations to Apply for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
In order to adequately evidence the aforementioned criteria and to ensure that your application is processed without delay, you should ensure that you compile all supporting documents meticulously in accordance with the Immigration Rules.
Not being able to submit specified documents or failing to highlight them can result in your application being refused. Not only does this mean that you may have to make a fresh application and pay the Home Office fees again; it may also mean that you will have an ‘adverse immigration history’ in light of your refusal. This may significantly lengthen the time that the Home Office will take in processing any future applications that you make. Hence, it is often more beneficial to instruct experienced immigration lawyers to assist you in your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa application.
Successful Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your applications before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration or visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.