From 29 March 2019, Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route has been closed. New applications are not accepted and switching from another category is not possible, except when you switch from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Applicants that had their visa granted before that date can still extend their visas, apply for permanent residence (ILR) and bring family members.
If you want to set up and run a business in the United Kingdom, you have three visa options at the moment. They differ in terms of initial investment, requirements to an applicant, criteria for extension, validity and whether they lead to British citizenship or not. But they are all business visas for either starting or seasoned entrepreneurs that have an innovative idea or expanding an existing international business.
The initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is valid for 3 years and four months. After that you can either fast-track your way to UK permanent residence, if you are eligible and can prove it, or extend your Entrepreneur visa for another 2 years. You must include your dependants in your application including those that turned 18 while the initial visa was valid. It normally takes 8 weeks to get a decision on your application.
Businessmen need to score 95 points and pass the Genuine entrepreneur test by establishing the local company and becoming its director, investing the money there and intending to continue trading in the United Kingdom. You must demonstrate you can support yourself and dependants and you meet the following requirements:
Entrepreneurs can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in 3 or 5 years from the first entry into the UK, based on the company’s performance. You can apply for Fast-track settlement in 3 years, if during these 3 years turnover has exceeded £5m or you hired 10 employees that already have a settled status. Otherwise, you can apply for ILR in 5 years, if you hired at least 2 people that have settled status.
In order to apply for settlement, you cannot be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period before applying for ILR. Dependants are given ILR on the basis of the main applicant, even children that have turned 18 recently but are still financially supported by you. It normally takes 1-2 months to get a decision. Other requirements include:
You and your family can apply for citizenship in 1 year after settlement. It means that under the Entrepreneur route, you can get your passport in 5 years (Fast-track) or 6 years (Standard) after your first entry, subject to you complying with all the criteria. The decision is usually made within 4-6 weeks after you apply. Once you are naturalised you must attend your citizenship ceremony and apply for a British passport.
For the Home Office to approve your naturalisation application, you must prove that you have not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years prior to applying for naturalisation, and no more than 90 days in the last twelve months. It is important to calculate your absences correctly because this is a key requirement along with the following ones:
We will help you to apply for extension if you already have Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. We can also help to apply for ILR or choose one of the alternative visas. Contact our immigration lawyers today.
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