The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is available to non-EU citizens investing in the United Kingdom by setting up, or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the UK.
One of the advantages of this type of visa is that while it allows one to settle in the UK after five years, it makes it possible to settle even sooner should the applicant create 10 jobs of one year each or have a turnover of £5 million in 3 years.
A new type of visitor visa has also been created for prospective entrepreneurs, allowing them to enter the UK to secure funding and make arrangements before they transfer to a full Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
How to qualify
In order to qualify in this category you have to have £200,000 of your own money available to invest in a business in the UK. Money may be included from a third party that is available to you or the business you are running. Alternatively, the UK government will allow high-potential businesses to come to the UK with £50,000 in funding from a reputable organisation (An FSA registered venture capitalist firm, UK Government department or an entrepreneurial seeding competition recognised by UK Trade and Investment).
Entrepreneurs will also be allowed to enter the UK with a business partner, as long as they both have access to the joint funds of £200,000 or £50,000.
In addition to the criteria above, a language and maintenance requirement also has to be fulfilled.
Length of stay
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is granted for a period of three years and four months, after which the applicant can apply for an extension of stay to take them up to the qualifying period to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Spouses and dependants
A Tier 1 Entrepreneur can apply for their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and dependant children to join them in the UK.
The dependants will be granted the same period of leave as the main applicant and will be able to work without restriction in the UK.
Permanent Residence in the UK
At the end of successful completion of a five-year period on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa the holder can qualify to apply for permanent residence, or Indefinite Leave to Remain, subject to certain requirements.
Entrepreneurs may be able to settle sooner should the applicant manage to create 10 jobs (for example three job positions during the first year, three during the second and four during the third year) or have a turnover of £5 million in 3 years. They will also enjoy more flexibility regarding settlement, as can spend up to 180 days each year outside the UK without affecting their right to settle in the UK.