Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa Guidance

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is for UK graduates who have been identified by their university as having genuine and credible business ideas; or for graduates from outside the UK who have been identified by the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) as elite global graduate entrepreneurs.


Who can apply?

If you are currently residing in the UK, you can apply to extend your leave if you were last granted leave in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 4 General if your academic sponsor is a university
  • Tier 2 General if your employer is the same academic institution that is endorsing your application

Who cannot apply?

You cannot apply if you have already been granted leave as a Graduate Entrepreneur on 2 occasions (for a total of 24 months) or if you have previously been granted leave as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant.

How do you get endorsed and what are the different types of endorsement?

To be endorsed you must have at least a British bachelor’s degree (or UK NARIC certified equivalent) and a “genuine, credible and innovative business idea”. A list of the authorised endorsing bodies can be found here. Alternatively, you can be endorsed by DIT as part of the elite programme known as Sirius.

What documents do you need to provide?

You will need to provide proof of your current immigration status (if you are in the UK) and your immigration history. Your letter from the authorised endorsing body will be needed along with evidence of your degree. If your degree is from outside the UK you will need a certificate from UK NARIC to confirm that it is an equivalent qualification. You will also need to provide evidence of DIT support, or bank statements showing that you have sufficient maintenance funds of your own (currently £1,890, held for 90 days prior to date of application).

Can you extend a Graduate Entrepreneur visa?

The Graduate Entrepreneur visa is granted for an initial 12 months. It is possible to extend once, for a further 12 months, up to the maximum 24 months in this category.

Moving beyond this category, the most common next step would be to consider the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. You will need to show that you have £50,000 – rather than the usual £200,000 – to invest in your business or that you have already invested £50,000 while you were a Graduate Entrepreneur. You can read more about the various requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category here.

Can I switch to Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) from other immigration categories?

It is possible to switch to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category, but from the limited categories mentioned below:

  • Under Tier 4, if you studied at the same university that is now sponsoring you
  • Under Tier 2, if your academic employer is now endorsing you

How can Latitude Law help you and why should you choose to instruct us?

Latitude Law is a specialist immigration firm dealing exclusively with inbound UK immigration. We have the largest business immigration team in the northwest and offer full service immigration advice. We are able to help you with this, and any other, immigration matter.

We will work with you to ensure that the necessary forms are completed correctly. We will assist you in gathering the required documents and we will present them as clearly as possible to the Home Office. We will provide the Home Office decision maker with a detailed covering letter setting exactly why the application should succeed.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applications can be fairly straightforward, but it is important that you position yourself, and your business, for the future applications you will need to make. Latitude Law can help you with the initial application and then help you prepare for the future. We are able to advise you on how changes to your business could affect your immigration position and also keep you updated on any developments on the law.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 11/02/2019