Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – Initial Applications

Are you interested in opening a business in the United Kingdom? Or would you like to join and invest in an existing UK business? If so Commonwealth Contractors has partners that can assist and guide you through the process of gaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa!

To find out more about gaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa or to discuss working as an IT Consultant in the UK call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirements

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for an ‘Initial Application’ you need:

  • English Language skills (a notional 10 points, but actually a ‘pass/fail tick box)
  • Maintenance funds (again, a notional 10 points, but actually a ‘pass/fail tick box)
  • Access to investment Funds (75 points)

Access to Investment Funds (75 Points Required across 3 sub-sections)

  1. You must have Access to suitable Investment Funds (25 Points)
    1. You have £200,000 of your own money, or
    2. You have access to £200,00 of money owned by a 3rd party (or parties) who provide a legally attested as valid declaration that the money is available to you (or to a business you are already running). In this respect, a spouse is regarded as a 3rd party and should provide a declaration, or
    3. You have access to not less than £50,000 from 1 or more preferred sources which must be
      1. venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), OR
      2. UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment Website, OR
      3. UK government departments, which have made the funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding the business.
  2. The Investment Funds (ie the £200,000, or £50,000 if from a favoured source) must be held in a regulated financial institution (or institutions). This requires Proof that the institution(s) holding the money are regulated by the applicable regulator in the jurisdiction concerned (this is to prevent people setting up a business that eg claims to be a bank and makes false declarations that money is available when it is not )
  3. The Investment Funds are disposable (free to spend) in the UK. This will not usually be an issue if the funds are held in the UK, but if the money is outside the UK, it needs to be clear that it can be converted to £ and transferred to the UK (ie that no exchange controls or other restrictions will prevent the money being moved to the UK and used here). Proof is usually in the form of a letter of confirmation by the regulated institution holding the funds.

In addition to the above, we advise that a suitable business plan be provided. This should identify the market/sector, method of obtaining leads, method of converting leads into sales, method of delivery, etc; it should also detail key staff (either actual names & CVs or ‘Person profile / job profile’) and should contain a monthly cashflow forecast covering at least the initial 12 months in the UK.

English Language Requirement (Mandatory 10 points)

To meet the English Language Requirement you must either:

Be a national of a majority English speaking country (i.e. Australia, USA etc), OR

  • Pass an English language test approved by the UKBA (e.g. IELTS / TOEFL), OR
  • Hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s Degree (as validated by UK NARIC), OR
  • Currently hold leave to remain in the UK under:
    • Tier 1 (General)
    • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
    • A business person
    • The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) – approved before the 5th December 2006

Maintenance Requirement (Mandatory 10 Points)

You must be able to support yourself and your dependants without requiring access to public funds. Therefore the meet the maintenance requirement you must have:

  • £2,800 in personal savings if you are applying from outside the UK, OR
  • £800 in personal savings if you are applying from Inside the UK

(if you have dependants, you will need to show additional funds for their maintenance; £1,600 per dependant if outside the UK, £533 per dependant if within the UK)

NB No moneys included in the Investment Funds (£200,000) can be used as proof of maintenance funds. If funds are held in a currency other than sterling, the exchange rates to be based on www.oanda.com . Proof must be on letterhead and with the organisation (bank’s) official stamp.

Once you have been successful in obtaining a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you need to ensure that you comply with its terms.

Requirements that must be satisfied within 3 months of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa status

Within 3 months you should have

Either: become a Director of a UK business (either new or existing)

Or: Registered as Self Employed with HMRC

Investment Restrictions

Forms of investment

The £200,000 Investment Can be:

  1. A direct cash investment made by you in your own name, and shown in the accounts of the business
  2. Input of share capital, proved by business accounts & list of shareholders showing the number and value of shares owned by each (or by share certificates)
  3. Directors’ loan to a company you have becomes a director of, if unsecured and subordinated in favour of 3rd party creditors
  4. Unsecured loan; not secured by property or assets that become subject to seizure on default

The £200,000 Investment Can Not be:

  1. A loan to the business that is in any way secured or is not subordinated in favour of 3rd party creditors (loans will be assumed to be unsuitable unless proof of a legal document showing suitable terms is provided.
  2. Investment in property development and/or property management. However, investment in construction is acceptable

Uses of the investment

The investment must be

  1. Money fully used in the business; the money must be shown to have been invested to encourage growth or expansion rather than sitting in a bank account (cash remaining in a business bank account is disregarded in this respect, so if you invest £200,000 and £180,000 remains in cash in the business bank account you will be deemed to have invested only £20,000)
  2. Invested in a UK business subject to UK taxation and with a UK bank account. This is relatively self explanatory.

Switching in to Tier 1 Entrepreneur

You can ‘switch’ into Tier 1 Entrepreneur without leaving the UK if you currently hold leave to remain in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 General
  • HSMP
  • Investor
  • Tier 1 Post Study Worker
  • International Graduate Scheme
  • Science & Engineering Scheme
  • Business person
  • Innovator
  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student re-sitting an examination
  • Student writing up a thesis
  • Work permit holder
  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • Self-employed lawyer
  • Writer, composer or artist
  • Investor
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 4
  • Prospective entrepreneur

Find out More

To find out more about applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

If you want to open a contracting business, and have at least £50,000 of your own to invest, our partners may be able to help with a turnkey solution.