Tier 1 UK Business Visas
There are multiple situations where you will require a visa application to conduct business activities within the UK. It takes extensive knowledge and expertise to understand these processes and how to complete them correctly.
- Tier 1– This tier visa is applicable to migrants of high-value who are outside of the EEA (European Economic Area). This includes both investors and entrepreneurs along with individuals that meet the criteria for the exceptional talent visa scheme. The exceptional talent visa is applicable to those who are outside of the EEA and Switzerland and be recognised as an exceptional talent (recognised leader) or attain exceptional promise (emerging leader) in the fields of digital technology, science, humanities, arts or medicine.
- Tier 2– This tier is applicable for those who are skilled workers and are intending to come to the UK to take up employment from a licensed sponsor. You may have been offered a job in the UK from a current employer. To qualify for this, you will need to have worked for the employer outside of the UK for 12 months and filling a position that cannot be filled with a UK worker. The exception to that rule would be if you would be earning over £73,900.00 whilst working in the UK. Another sub-category of this tier includes graduate trainees which is applicable when an employee is offered a role under the graduate trainee programme and you must have 3 months minimum experience of working with the employer outside of the UK. Any one organisation is restricted to 20 Graduate Training migrants in a financial year. Sportspeople and ministers would also need to apply under this tier.
- Tier 3–This tier is not currently in use however this will be applicable to low-skilled workers.
- Tier 4 – This tier is applicable to an educational institution that is registered in the UK for example those who have been offered a place at a university or an independent school would apply under this tier.
- Tier 5 – This tier is applicable to temporary workers from religious, charitable, porting and creative sectors. This tier is also for individuals who are subject to international agreements or exchanges which are government authorised. You would also apply under this tier if you are part of the youth mobility scheme. The youth mobility scheme is open to 18-10 years old and be from certain countries, these countries are Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic or Korea and Taiwan. Additionally, if you are applying as a national of Republic of Korea or Hong Kong you must be able to prove that you have a valid certificate of sponsorship reference number. To apply under the youth mobility scheme, you must also have £1,890.00 minimum savings and be able to show evidence of this. Upon receiving an approval for a visa under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme your visa will be valid for 2 years and you can leave and return to the UK as many times as necessary during this period should you turn 31 during the validity of your visa you may stay until the visa expires. Along with proving savings there is a charge for the visa itself and an additional healthcare surcharge. This tier also applies to those who are classed as a British overseas citizen, British overseas citizen or a British national (overseas).
An investor must make a minimum investment of £2 million to a regulated financial institution(s) to qualify for entry to the UK under an investment visa. Once an approval is given the applicant, their children (under 18) and their spouse* may initially reside in the UK for 3 years.
There are some additional requirements that need to be met once you have been granted a Tier 1 Investor Visa. You must have a home within the UK, maintain the value of your investment and should you wish to apply for settlement at any point in the future a minimum of 180 days must be spent living in the UK per year.
If your intention is to apply for indefinite leave to remain* there are further requirements to meet in relation to the amount of time you need to have spent residing in the UK. The criteria for this is dependent upon the amount of money you have invested however should you have invested over £10 million within the UK, after 3 years you may meet the criteria related to accelerated settlement.
*Spouse – There are specific requirements for a spouse to join you. The spouse must be a British citizen or be settled in the UK or have humanitarian protection or refugee status. Proof must be provided that you are married, in a civil partnership or been sharing a home for 2 years minimum or if you are engaged or proposed civil partner that you will marry or enter a civil partnership no longer than 6 months of their entry into the UK.
Additionally, a good knowledge and understanding of English is required. The spouse must be able to show proof of the ability to support themselves financially generally by meeting minimum savings criteria. Spouse should not apply to reside in the UK unless they have the intention of living with you in the UK.
*Indefinite Leave To Remain – If this is to be your ultimate intention it is important to have a good legal team in place to help you understand the strict requirements that you must meet. If you are granted indefinite leave to remain there are no time limits to your stay however this can be revoked should you commit a serious crime or live outside of the UK for a continuous period of 2 years.
The minimum criteria that you must meet are; prove you have no criminal convictions that would disqualify you from applying, pass an English language and life in the UK test and that you have lived within the UK according to the terms of your visa.
Typically, you must be able to prove that you will invest £200,000 minimum in an existing or new UK business along with creating the minimum of 2 full time jobs within 3 years of your initial investment to qualify for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. Additionally, you must be able to show how you will financially support yourself whilst living in the UK and meet the English Language requirements. Your business plan will be assessed by UK Visas & Immigration to determine if you are a bona fide entrepreneur.
Upon being granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa you may initially reside in the UK for 3 years, once this time frame has elapsed you can apply for a two-year extension to your visa. After a total of 5 years you can apply for settlement in the UK. However, should your turnover be exceptional or you create more full-time jobs then you may qualify to apply for settlement after the initial 3 years.
Yes, although it does depend what sub-category you have been awarded a visa under.
You will be issued with a travel visa that will be valid for 30 days along with documentation proving you are permitted to enter the UK to work. Upon arrival to the UK, your full visa will be provided to you in the form of a BRP (biometric residence permit). Your BRP must be collect from the post office within 10 days of your arrival. If your work visa is for a shorter period of time such as 6 months you will not need be issued with a BRP you will instead have a stamp in your passport. If you applied for your work visa whilst already in the UK a BRP will be provided and will be valid for the duration of your CoS.
The shortage occupation list is extremely specific and these roles must have previously been advertised within the EEA. To explore whether you qualify for any of the roles on the list we expressly advise speaking to an experienced professional for g
Typically, this will not be permitted however there are limited circumstance where it will be considered. You should take legal advice before pursuing this.
You can apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa if you meet the following criteria; You must be over 18 and be able to provide proof that the money you wish to invest belongs to yourself or your partner. You must not be from the EEA or Switzerland. The money you wish to invest must be a minimum of £200,000 and you must be able to open an investment account in the UK.
You will be required to provide proof of your funds and where the money is held. If the money you wish to invest is your partners, you must provide a statement stating that you have control of the funds. You must also provide a criminal record certificate from any country that you have lived in within the last 10 ears. Finally, you will need a valid passport or equivalent.
You will not be permitted to invest in certain businesses including, leveraged investment funds, deposits in banks or an ISA, premium bonds or NS&I savings certificates, investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, open-ended investment companies or any companies operating property management/development or investment.
It is possible to extend a Tier 1 Investor visa however this is subject to fulfilling the relative criteria. You should must have control of £200,000 minimum in the UK. The funds that you have invested must have gone to loan capital, share capital or government bonds in active UK businesses. Your investment must have been made within 3 months of the approval of your initial application. You are also required to declare dependents within your application, pay a healthcare surcharge and provide biometric information.
There are 3 situations where you can apply for accelerated residency. After holding a visa for 5 continuous years you are eligible to gain permanent residency without the need of continued investment. However, if you invest £10,000,000 within two years you can apply for accelerated residency and if you invest £5,000,000 within three years you can apply for accelerated residency.
Currently there is no statutory appeal process against a Tier 1 Investor Visa refusal however you can apply for an administrative review. You must apply for an administrative review within 28 days of the refusal, should the review not be successful you will need to apply to the Upper Tribunal to seek permission for a judicial review. Applying for a Tier 1 Investor Visa is a complex process and to increase the chances of a positive outcome it is imperative that you work with a lawyer who specialises in this field to guide you through the process.
If you are over 16, exceed 95 points for maintenance language ability and attributes and are looking to invest a minimum of £200,000 in a start-up business or existing business you will qualify to apply. Please note, a minimum of £50,000 is required if you are being supported by a venture capital organisation.
To extend your visa you must meet the following requirements; Prove that you are an active director, self-employed or in a working partnership. You must also have created a minimum of 2 full-time jobs within 3 years of your investment and these jobs must have existed for 12 months. A £200,000 minimum must have previously been invested into a start-up or existing business. Should you meet the qualifying criteria you must apply for an extension no less than 28 days before your current visa expires, you may reside in the UK whilst a decision is made on your extension.
If you are a recent graduate and fulfil the following criteria you may be able to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. You must not be from the EEA or from Switzerland. You must have a credible business idea and demonstrate how this will succeed along with being a graduate who is endorsed by a higher education institute within the last 3 months. You must possess a UK-recognised degree that was gained prior to the date of endorsement. If applying from within the UK you must have £945 minimum maintenance funds for the previous 3 months or £1,890 minimum if you are applying from outside of the UK. Finally, you must possess comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the English language.
It is not unusual for these types of visas to be refused, in fact with over 1/3 of applicants refused a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa carries the highest refusal rate of all UK visas. In this instance, you will need to consult with a lawyer who has specialist knowledge in this area.
Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee an approval of your visa application. However, by pairing with a specialist lawyer who understands the process you will give your application the best possible chance of being approved. You will need to ensure that you have a good business plan and properly prepare for the interview that you will need to attend.