Entrepreneur & Investor Visa Guidance

If you are hoping to be granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Investor Visa, you will need to familiarise yourself with our Points Based Visa System. The immigration lawyers at Latitude Law have expert knowledge of the system and will be happy to provide expert legal advice and guidance.


What is the Points Based System (PBS)?

The UK government operates a 5 tier Points Based Visa System for managed migration. The tiers are divided into sub-categories. In order to be successful in your application, you must surpass the minimum points threshold, which varies for each tier. Broadly the tiers are:

  • Tier 1 Visa – for high-value migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), including entrepreneurs, investors and those who come under the exceptional talent visa scheme.
  • Tier 2 Visa – for skilled workers who have been offered a job by a licensed sponsor; you may be transferring to a UK post with the same employer under the Intra-Company Transfer category, or moving to the UK to start work with a new company in the General category. Tier 2 also covers ministers of religion and sportspeople.
  • Tier 3 Visa – for low-skilled workers; this tier is not in use at present.
  • Tier 4 Visa – for students who have a place at a registered UK educational institution such as an independent school or university.
  • Tier 5 Visa – for temporary workers from the creative and sporting sectors, charities and religions, as well as those on government-authorised exchanges or international agreements. The youth mobility scheme is also covered in this tier.

The immigration solicitors at Latitude law will be happy to discuss the details of the Points Based System and the implications for you and your business at an initial consultation. We can meet employers at their place of business or arrange an appointment in our London, Liverpool or Manchester offices.

Tier 1 Investor Visa

In order to qualify for entry to the UK, investors are required to make a minimum £2 million investment in regulated UK financial institutions. A successful Tier 1 Investor Visa application allows the applicant, their spouse and children under the age of 18 to live in the UK for an initial three years.

You do not need to be actively involved in UK business to be eligible for an investor visa, but you must maintain the value of your investment and a home in the UK, spending at least 180 days per year here if you wish to qualify for settlement in the future. If you wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain, there are different criteria on how long you must have resided in the UK based on the amount of money invested. If you have invested more than £10 million in the UK, then you may qualify for accelerated settlement after three years.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you must normally be able to demonstrate you can invest at least £200,000 in a new or existing business in the UK, and that your involvement will create at least 2 full-time jobs in your first 3 years of involvement with the business. In order to be eligible for an entrepreneur visa, you must also meet an English language requirement and prove you can support yourself financially during your stay in the UK. UK Visas and Immigration will also assess your business plan, in deciding whether you are a genuine entrepreneur.

If you are granted a Tier 1 visa, you’re eligible to stay in the UK for an initial three years. After this period, you can apply to extend your visa for a further two years. After five years in this category you may apply for settlement. Moreover, if you create more jobs or your turnover is exceptionally high, you may qualify for accelerated settlement in the UK after just three years.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Our experience in immigration law means we are well placed to advise investors and entrepreneurs on their application for a Tier 1 Visa. We can ensure you have all the relevant documentation and knowledge required to meet the PBS requirements, and will provide support through every stage of these complex applications.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Q&As

Am I eligible for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa?

To be eligible for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you must:

  • Have at least £200,000 (£50,000 if supported by a venture capital company) to start up or invest in a UK business
  • Score at least 95 points for attributes, maintenance and language ability
  • Be over 16 years old

Can I extend a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?

You must extend your visa up to 28 days before your current visa expires. In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Be able to prove you’re self-employed, working in a partnership or be an active director
  • Have invested at least £200,000 in new or existing UK business
  • Have created at least 2 full-time jobs which have existed for a minimum of 12 months in your initial 3 years’ leave Once the application has been sent, you are eligible to remain in the UK until a decision has been granted, as long as the application was made prior to your previous leave expiring.

Can I apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa?

If you have recently graduated, you may be eligible for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. To be eligible you must:

  • Be officially endorsed as a graduate with a credible business idea
  • Be from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland
  • Have a UK-recognised degree which has been awarded before your date of endorsement
  • Be endorsed by an authorised higher education institution in the last 3 months
  • Have a minimum of £945 in maintenance funds for the past 3 months if you’re applying from inside the UK, or £1,890 if you’re applying from outside of the UK
  • Gain permission from your financial sponsor to remain in the UK if they’ve paid for educational or living costs in the last 12 months
  • Have a good understanding of the English language

What should I do if my application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is refused?

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas have one of the highest refusal rates of all UK visas, with over 1/3 of applicants being refused.

Due to the complex nature of applying as an entrepreneur, we suggest seeking the advice of an experienced immigration solicitor.

What can I do to minimise the risk of refusal?

To minimalise the risk of your application being refused, it is essential that you are thoroughly prepared for each part of the process, you have a detailed business plan and you are prepared for the interview.

If you require assistance, our team of experts can assist to ensure you’re fully prepared and guide you through the complex process.

Tier 1 (Investor) Q&As

Am I eligible for a Tier 1 Investor visa?

To be eligible for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, you must:

  • Be located outside of the European Economic Area or Switzerland
  • Have at least £2,000,000 investment funds
  • Be able to open a UK bank account (this may be an investment account)
  • Be able to prove the money you intend to invest belongs to you or your partner
  • Be over 18 years old

What documents are required to apply for an Investor visa?

To apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, you must be able to provide:

  • A criminal record certificate from any country you’ve stayed in over the last 10 years
  • A valid passport or equivalent travel documentation
  • Evidence of your funds and where it is being held (if it’s your own money)
  • A statement confirming you have control over funds in the UK (if the money is your partners)

Are there any restrictions as to what I can invest in?

The following investments are not permitted:

  • open-ended investment companies, investment trust companies or pooled investment vehicles;
  • companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development;
  • simple deposits with a bank or in ISAs, premium bonds or NS&I savings certificates; or
  • leveraged investment funds.

Am I eligible to extend my Tier 1 Investor visa?

You may be eligible to extend your visa and should apply up to 28 days before your current visa expires. To be eligible, you must:

  • Control at least £2,000,000 in the UK
  • Have invested your funds in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK organisations
  • Invested this sum within 3 months of your initial application being accepted

In addition, you must also provide your biometric information, pay a healthcare surcharge and include any dependants on your application.

When can I apply for accelerated residency?

Foreign investors are eligible for accelerated residency after two years if they’ve invested £10,000,000 in the UK, or after three years if they’ve invested £5,000,000.

Alternatively, you can gain permanent residency after 5 years with no further investment by extending your visa.

What should I do if my application for a Tier 1 Investor visa is refused?

There is no statutory right to appeal against a Tier 1 (Investor) Visa. If you are refused, you will have the right to apply for an administrative review within 28 days. If your review is also unsuccessful, you may apply to the Upper Tribunal for permission to pursue judicial review.

Due to the complex nature of Tier 1 (Investor) Visa applications, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an expert to review your application and guide you through the review process.