The thriving Start-Up community which presently exists in the in the UK is, in part, being driven by various entrepreneur / investor favourable schemes introduced by the current coalition Government such as significant tax breaks for investors, government backed finance schemes and relaxed visa requirements for international entrepreneurs. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa provides entrepreneurs (and in most cases their dependants) with the right to live and work freely in the UK to develop their start-ups.

Am I eligible? If you are over 16 years old with funds to invest (which will need to be not less than £200,000 ($320,000) if you have no current connection to the UK), and can score 95 points on the points-based test laid out below, then you will be eligible to apply.


  1. Financial Assessment:
You have access to £200,000 ($320,000) or more, orYou have access to £50,000 ($80,000) or more from:

  • At least one venture capital company recognised by the Financial Services Authority;
  • One or more UK seed funding competitions endorsed on the UK Trade and Investment website; or
  • A grant from one or more government or devolved government departments in the UK (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland).


You have access to at least £50,000 ($80,000) and:

  • Are applying for leave to remain in the UK or you have been granted leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Post study work) migrant;
  • Have been registered as self-employed or as a company director within the last three months; and
  • Are engaged in business activity in a role that is listed on the National Qualifications Framework level 4 or higher.
25 points
Funds are held in a regulated financial institution. 25 points
Funds are disposable in the United Kingdom. 25 points
  1. English Language Ability: e. you can prove that you are proficient in English.
10 points
  1. Maintenance: you have £2,800 ($4,500) of personal savings to support yourself which has been held by you for a consecutive 90-day period. Money included in your £200,000 investment cannot be included in this figure.
10 points


How long can I stay? You can come to the UK with a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. Extension applications can be made for a further 2/3 years and after 5 years you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

What does the visa entitle me to do? Following the grant of a visa you can set up or take over the running of one or any number of businesses; work for your business; and bring certain family members to the UK with you. However, you cannot be employed by another person’s business or receive public funding to support you/your family.

How can I apply? Applications can be made online at for a fee of around £1,100 (US $1,750).

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa represents a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs from all over the world to stay and work for an extended period in the UK providing them with a base from which to take their business to new markets across the entire European Union.