How to Get an Entrepreneur Visa in the UK: An Overview

Managing a business in the UK involves many steps and stages, but none is more crucial than acquiring the right visa. Without a visa that suits your needs, you can’t stay in the country for an extended period, let alone set up a company.

Here are your visa options:

1. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

This visa is for individuals who graduated from a university in the UK with a business idea to set up in the country. It is valid for three years and four months, allowing the holder to work on their full business time. You can extend for another 24 months or two years if you qualify for the eligibility.

The tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa extension criteria are that the applicant must have:

  • Invested £50,000 in their business
  • Created at least two full-time jobs for people other than themselves
  • Generated £5 million in annual turnover

2. Standard Visitor Visa for Business People

If you’re planning to go to the UK for business purposes such as attending meetings or conferences, you need to apply for a standard visitor visa. This visa is valid for six months and can be extended for another six months if necessary.

You need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay and that you have a return ticket booked. You may also need to provide evidence of your business activities in the UK.

3. Exceptional Talent Visa (Tier 1) or Global Talent Visa

In February 2020, the UK replaced the Exceptional Talent Visa with the Global Talent Visa.

If you’re an internationally recognized talent in science, engineering, humanities, medicine, or digital technology, you may be eligible for this visa. A designated competent body should endorse you before you can apply.

The validity is up to five years and allows you to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

4. Investor visa (Tier 1)

The business visa is for high net worth individuals who want to invest at least £2 million in the UK. The money must be invested in UK government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.

Its validity is three years and four months (if living outside the UK) or three years (if living inside the country), and can be extended for another two years. After five years, you may be qualified to remain in the UK as long as you want.

But if your visa extension application is denied, you have an option to challenge the decision. It involves a legal process called a judicial review. Check the Imperium Chambers judicial review services to know how it works.

5. Innovator Visa (Tier 1)

The innovator visa is for experienced entrepreneurs with an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea. You need to be endorsed by a designated competent body before applying. In most cases, you need at least £50,000 to be qualified or have already invested such money.

It is valid for three years, and you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years.

6. Start-up Visa (Tier 1)

If you have a new and innovative business idea, you may be eligible for a start-up visa. You should have had at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.

You can stay up to two years in the country, which doesn’t have an extension. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for another type of visa.

7. Other Visas

The following are the other types of visas available for businessmen:

  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker
  • Creative and Sporting Visa
  • Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

You have to remember that like the UK tier 2 visa or any other visas, these business visas also have validity and refusal. In other words, no visa is guaranteed. The best way to acquire a visa or extension is to consult an immigration lawyer.

Final Thoughts

Starting a business in the UK requires sufficient money to support yourself and your business. The minimum amount of funds you need depends on the type of visa you’re applying for.

Moreover, you need to hire legal experts to help represent your case. You can find online or contact some of the best barristers practising in London. Just make sure they’re experienced in this area.

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