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© Pathfynder Limited 2017. Pathfynder Solicitors is a trading name of Pathfynder Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company registration number 10170947. The registered address is King House, 5-11 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4UA. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA No. 629672.




Pathfynder Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa enables overseas nationals to enter or remain in the UK in order to establish a new business or to join or takeover an existing business.

Initial application

In order to be eligible for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, an applicant must demonstrate that they satisfy a range of criteria including:

12 Sep 2016

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Capital requirements

Unlike the Tier 1 (Investor) visa, an individual seeking a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa only has to show that they have access to the capital and need not necessarily own the funds.

In order to demonstrate that they have access to the capital, an applicant will have to provide documents to show that the amount of capital is available in cash and that they have the permission of the owner to use the capital to invest in a business in the UK.

The capital must have been held for a period of 90 days prior to the date of application, although there are exceptions. Additionally, the capital must have been held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK.

The amount of capital an applicant must show varies on the source of the funds. In the main, the capital requirement is £200,000. However, in the special circumstances set out below the capital requirement is only £50,000:

The genuine entrepreneur test

One of the less transparent requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category is the requirement to satisfy UKVI that the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur.

Although one might think that it is counter-intuitive to discourage entrepreneurial activity, the genuine entrepreneur test arose out of a need to manage potential abuse of the system. However, one of the unintended consequences of such a measure was that genuine entrepreneurs sometimes were unable to alleviate concerns that UKVI had. The lesson being that new applicants should take great care and attention in preparing their application.

At the present time, the genuine entrepreneur test requires an applicant to satisfy UKVI that:

Although the above requirements seem to be fairly transparent, the difficulty arises in trying to determine what ‘genuine’ means and subsequently applying it uniformly across all the visa applications across the world.

English language requirement

Similar to many other visa categories, a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant will have to satisfy UKVI that they have a good command of the English language.

Specifically, an applicant will have to show that they have attained at least level B1 of the CEFR by either:

One point to highlight here is that if an individual decides to take an English language test, it must be with a provider approved by UKVI otherwise it will not be accepted. In the last few years, there have even be significant difficulties with some approved test providers as well.

Maintenance funds

In addition to the capital requirement for the business, a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant is also required to show that they have an additional amount of money to maintain themselves in the UK.

The purpose of such a requirement is to ensure that, if the visa is granted, the individual will not become a burden on public finances.

The maintenance funds requirement for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants is:

The maintenance funds will need to have been held in the applicant’s account for a period of 90 days prior to the date of the application. During which time, the closing balance of the account holding the funds must not drop below the specified amount on any single day.

Please note that the rules surrounding the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa are particularly complex and the above is only an overview of the category. If you would like to discuss your circumstances in detail, please feel free to contact us.


Please note that this article is for information only and should not be taken as legal and/or financial advice. Immigration law changes regularly and it may be the case that this page has not been updated to take into account the latest changes. If you would like advice on your personal circumstances, please feel free to contact us.