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UK Business and Investments Visa

  • UK is a popular destination for business and commerce. It has one of the world’s largest economies, a fair and efficient legal system, world-renowned schools and universities, and a good standard of living and quality of life.

Different ways of entering the UK:

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extensions

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route has been closed for new applications since 29 March 2019.

In order to set up or run a business in the UK, it is now possible to apply for a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa that effectively replaced the entrepreneur route. See below

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extensions can be applied until 5 April 2023 and applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made until 5 April 2025.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension requirements, applicants must meet:

  • Registered as a company director or as self-employed with HMRC within 6 months of obtaining the initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
  • Continue to be either the director or registered as self employed with HMRC within the 3 months immediately prior to the extension application
  • Established, taken over or become a director of a genuinely operating business and intend to continue running the business
  • Invested either £50,000 or £200,000 (based on the initial application) in a business or businesses in the UK
  • Created at-least two full time jobs for those settled in the UK and existed for at least 12 months
  • Competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1
  • Maintain sufficient funds to support self and family without relying on public funds and satisfying the maintenance requirements
  • The current Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders when applied for extension may be interviewed as part of the application process. The genuine entrepreneur interview is normally conducted by the Home Office to ensure that the applicant has genuinely invested the money in a business operating in the UK and understands their role in the business.
  • The application, if successful, allows the entrepreneurs to remain in the UK for a further 2 years, after which they can apply for settlement in the UK.

Start-Up Visa

  • The Start-Up visa is ideal for new entrepreneurs and for those who do not have strong financial backing
  • It can be applied for either from outside the UK or within the UK, and Tier 4 students may be able to switch into it.
  • There is no requirement for investment funds
  • There is a requirement for endorsement, either from a university or a Home Office-approved endorsement organisation (of which the Home Office has published a list). The endorsing body must be satisfied about the viability of the business plan.
  • There is a English requirement start-up B2
  • This visa is granted for just two years without any possibility of extension, so when the visa comes to an end the migrant has to switch into something else or return home.

Innovator Visa

  • A Start-Up visa holder in the UK can switch to this category
  • You must show you can invest £50,000 into the business
  • You must meet the English language requirement B2
  • There is no requirement of endorsement
  • Innovator visa is granted for three years, can potentially be extended and or apply for settlement
  • Visa can be applied for from within the UK or outside the UK.
  • Family members as dependents can join.

The Tier 1 Investment

  • The Tier 1 Investment visa enables wealthy migrants to come to the UK on the basis of intending to make a substantial investment of between £2m and £10m into UK companies, either by share capital or loan capital.
  • Applicants may be able to apply from outside the UK or, in some cases, from within the UK
  • Family dependents can also apply
  • Applicant must show that they hold sufficient funds, fully under their control
  • Can extend visa 5 years
  • Can apply for settlement after:
    • Five years if invested £2 m
    • Three years if invested £5m
    • Two years if invested £10m
  • English language not required

Representative of Overseas Business Visa

  • The Representative of Overseas Business visa helps overseas companies which have no UK presence to establish a branch in the UK
  • The overseas company wishes to send a senior employee to the UK to set up and run the branch.
  • The senior employee can apply for a Representative of Overseas Business visa for this purpose.
  • Requirements:
    • To produce a good business plan to show that the UK branch is a properly-researched and viable proposition
    • To provide evidence of Senior person’s role in the company e.g contract employment
  • Must meet English requirement CEFR A1
  • Must be able to financial maintain and accommodate themselves
  • Visa granted for 3 years
  • Visa can be grated for another 2 years
  • Visa holder cannot work in any other company
  • Family dependents can apply
  • ILR is granted after 5 years
  • Entry application only – cannot switch into this category from inside the UK.

Global Talent visa

  • The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is closed to new entrants, replaced by the Global Talent visa, which has some close similarities
  • As with the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, applicants for the Global Talent visa require initial endorsement by an official endorsement body as being either a recognised leader in their field (“exceptional talent”) or an emerging leader in their field (“exceptional promise”)
  • The list of endorsement bodies is this:
    • Tech Nation, for digital technology
    • The Royal Society, for science and medicine
    • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering
    • The British Academy, for humanities
    • Arts Council England, for arts and culture
    • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for research applicants
  • Each endorsement body has its own detailed criteria for endorsement, and you must in every case prove your experience and expertise
  • Visa is granted 1 and 5 years
  • May be possible to apply for settlement – depending on the circumstances after either three years or five years
  • There is no English language or financial maintenance requirement
  • Applicants may apply from outside the UK or, if they are in an eligible switching category, from within the UK
  • Dependants may also apply
  • And, unlike with the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, there is no annual limit on visas.

Prospective Entrepreneur Visitor Visa

  • The Prospective Entrepreneur visa is a type of visitor visa which enables an aspiring entrepreneur to come to the UK for a limited period of six months
  • They must be in discussions with a registered endorsing body for the Start-Up or Innovator categories and they must have come to the UK for the purpose of securing funding to invest into their business.
  • A Prospective Entrepreneur Visitor can switch in the UK to a Start-Up or Innovator visa if they secure the necessary funding and they meet all the other visa requirements.
  • There is no English language requirement for Prospective Entrepreneurs
  • If they apply to switch to Start-Up or Innovator status then there is an English language requirement to be met.

Business Visitor Visa

  • The business visitor is a type of Standard Visitor visa which allows a businessperson to come to the UK as a visitor and carry out certain defined peripheral working activities, which include: attending meetings,conferences, seminars or interviews, and negotiating and signing deals and contracts.
  • Business visitors cannot come to the UK for longer than six months at any one time and they cannot spend more than 180 days per 12 months in the UK.
  • They must show that they have sufficient funds and appropriate accommodation for the visit
  • They must also show that they intend to return to their home country at the end of the visit.
  • A migrant from a non-visa national country (eg Brazil) does not need to apply for a visitor visa in order to enter the UK but when they reach the border they might have to prove that the proposed visit meets all the requirements of the rules.
  • There is no English language requirement.