Tier 1 Visa: Migrants with Desirable Professional Skills

The Tier 1 Visa is suitable for people with considerable professional skills, who want to start their own business, or invest in an existing business in the United Kingdom. It is similar to the Highly Skilled Migrant Program visa. The four subcategories, namely the General Visa, the Post Study Work Visa, the Entrepreneur Visa, and the Investor Visa, are designed for individuals that have certain professional skills, qualifications, and experience in specific fields. Tier 1 visa applications do not require a job offer.


  • No job offer requirement
  • No restrictions of self-employment type
  • Opportunity to apply for permanent residency in the UK


Under the new Points Based System, applicants can bring dependents and spouses to the UK with the relevant visas.

Entry Routes for Prospective Immigrants

There are multiple immigration routes into the United Kingdom with a Tier 1 visa. Below is a brief description of each.

Prospective Entrepreneur Visa (Non Points-Based system)

The Prospective Entrepreneur Visa is suitable for individuals that are currently in funding negotiations with a venture capitalist that is registered with the FSA, a seed competition that is recognized by the UK Trade and Investment body or the relevant departments of the government of the United Kingdom. The purpose of the said negotiations should be to start a new business venture, or take over an existing one.

Successful applicants of this route can come to the UK with a non-extendable, six-month visa, to procure funding or create a team for a new venture, after which they can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Immigration visa if they meet the requirements.

Tier 1 – Entrepreneur Immigration Program – Qualifying Criteria

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Immigration Program visa requires a minimum of 95 points to qualify for the program, with at least 75 points allotted to the applicant’s funds.

Below are the some of the specific requirements for application, as well as the maximum points awarded for meeting the criterion.

  • Access to at least £200,000 – 25 points
  • Funds must be held in one or more recognized and regulated financial institute – 25 points
  • Funds are disposable in the United Kingdom – 25 points
  • English language skills – Minimum of 10 points
  • Maintenance funds availability – Minimum of 10 points

Funding Requirements:

Applicants can hold the said funds in more than one institution and more than one country. Third party funding such as family members, investors, and corporate bodies is also allowed.

Document Requirements:

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur program also requires a number of documents to be submitted with the application. The documents required, as listed on the UK government website for immigration through the Tier 1 Entrepreneur program are as under:

  • A current passport or other valid travel identification
  • A passport size colour photograph
  • Evidence of the investment funds available to you
  • A business plan
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your stay
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

Visa Help can scrutinize the said documents and find any discrepancy before they are submitted to the visa officials to maximize the chances of a successful application.

Entry Clearance:

Once your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application is approved, you must fulfil the entry clearance requirements before you can fly to the United Kingdom. Our consultants are well versed in these requirements and can help you fulfil these formalities faster so you do not have to worry about them or face any delays.

The initial entry clearance is usually of three years, but you can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after the initial clearance period expires through our consultants.

The Tier 1 – Entrepreneur Immigration Program Extension

Before you apply for an ILR, you must meet some post-visa conditions, and one of those is seeking an extension of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Immigration Program visa. Our consultants can assess your eligibility for the extension and help you meet the requirements, as well as forwarding your case in the best way possible to increase the chances of successful resolution.

Another requirement is that your venture needs to employ, directly or indirectly, at least two full-time employees that are legitimately permitted to work in the UK.

Your total business (cash) investments in the United Kingdom must total to at least £200,000. This investment can be in one or more businesses, and you must be registered with HM Revenue & Customs as a self-employed individual, or must be registered as a director in a business. You must also meet the minimum settlement funds requirement, as well as meet the minimum English Language proficiency criteria. These requirements, as well as other immigration regulations must be met during your stay in the United Kingdom to qualify for an ILR application. Our consultants can guide you in the best course of action to meet these requirements and the extension procedure for the Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Successfully applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom is just as tricky as applying for the Tier 1 visa. To be eligible for the application, you must spend at least five continuous years in the United Kingdom with a Tier 1 visa with a successful extension. After that, you must also meet the additional immigration regulations and requirements. Visa Help knows how the process works, and our consultants can help you fulfil the requirements and apply for the ILR.

Our consultants will go over your application and documents with a proverbial microscope to find and fix any errors that they come across. Once that’s done, we will help you submit the application to the relevant authorities, so that you can get your ILR approved in as little time and with the least hassles as possible.

FAQ – Tier 1 Entrepreneur Immigrant Program Visa

  1. Do I need a sponsorship to apply for a Tier 1 visa?
    No. Tier 1 applications do not require a job offer or sponsor, and if successfully approved, can seek employment anywhere in the United Kingdom.
  2. How is this Tier 1 visa different from the Highly Skilled Migrant Program?
    The Tier 1 visa is a single application process that has replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Program visa to simplify the visa application process for individuals living inside or outside the United Kingdom.
  3. I have a valid Highly Skilled Migrant Program approval letter. Can I applyfor Tier 1 entry clearance?
    Yes, if you have a valid approval letter for the HSMP, you can apply for a Tier 1 entry clearance, but you will have to meet the maintenance requirements before your application is approved.
  4. What maintenance funds am I required to show for my application?
    Maintenance funds are simply the amount of money a person would need to support themselves while staying in the United Kingdom. The funds required for the principal applicant are £3,100, and £1,600 for each dependent that is planning to join the applicant within 12 months of their arrival in the United Kingdom.
    For applicants already in the United Kingdom, they must have at least £900 in personal savings for at least 3 months before the date of application.
  5. What is the standard duration of the Tier 1 visa?
    The Tier 1 visa is initially granted for 2 years, and the extension is for an extra 3 years after that. After these 5 years, the principal can apply for permanent residency and then citizenship after that.
  6. Can I take my dependents on this visa?
    Yes, applicants can bring their dependents with them, provided they prove their ability to support them without seeking help through public funds. Dependents allowed on the visa include the spouse or partner and children under 18.
  7. What rights and benefits would my dependents be entitled to?
    Dependents can work or study in the United Kingdom and will have access to free public and subsidized tertiary education.
  8. What is the application fee for the Tier 1 visa?
    For applicants from outside the United Kingdom, the application fee for the principal applicant and the dependents is £690, payable in local currency.
    If the applicant is applying from within the United Kingdom, the fee for all applicants is £820 by post/courier, and £1020, if applied for in person.
    If the applicant holds a valid HSMP approval letter, the fee is £400 by post or courier, and £600, if applying in person.