Navigating the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension process can be challenging. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline the key steps, eligibility criteria, and provide essential tips to help you successfully extend your stay in the UK and continue growing your business.
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The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension is an essential step for business owners who wish to continue their entrepreneurial journey in the UK. After being granted an initial stay of three years and four months under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, eligible individuals can apply for an extension to prolong their stay and further develop their business ventures.
Understanding the extension process and requirements is crucial for ensuring a successful application. Navigating the complexities of the extension process can be challenging, and any mistakes or oversights could lead to a refusal. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the necessary information and insights to help you confidently navigate the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension process.
Throughout this guide, we will cover the eligibility criteria, new rules and updates, required documentation, application process, common reasons for refusals, and the benefits of seeking professional guidance. By being well-informed and prepared, you can significantly improve your chances of securing an extension and continuing your entrepreneurial journey in the UK.
2. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension, you must meet specific criteria. Failure to meet these requirements may result in a refusal of your extension application. The following are the primary eligibility criteria for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension:
a. Job Creation Requirement
As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holder, you must demonstrate that you have created at least two full-time jobs for workers settled in the UK. These jobs must have existed for at least 12 consecutive months during your initial three-year period in the UK. Each job must consist of at least 30 hours of work per week.
b. Investment of Funds
You must provide evidence that you have invested the required amount of funds into your UK business. This investment must be at least £200,000 or £50,000, depending on the specific funding source as stated in your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application. You must have invested these funds directly into your business, either through the purchase of business assets or the allocation of funds to operational expenses.
c. Genuine Entrepreneur Test
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test is a crucial aspect of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension application. This test evaluates whether you are genuinely operating a viable business in the UK and intend to continue doing so. To pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, you must provide evidence of:
- Your business registration and any relevant licenses or permits.
- A detailed business plan, including financial projections and market analysis.
- Records of your business activities, such as contracts, invoices, and financial statements.
- Evidence of your role and involvement in the day-to-day management and decision-making of the business.
By meeting these eligibility criteria and providing the necessary documentation, you can improve your chances of obtaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension and continuing your business activities in the UK.
3. New Rules and Updates for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in 2019
In 2019, there were several significant changes to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa program, which impacted both new applicants and those seeking extensions. The following are the key updates and alterations that took effect in 2019:
a. Changes in the Application Process
Starting from March 29, 2019, the UK government replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa with the Innovator Visa. This change means that new applicants can no longer apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. However, existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders (as per paragraph 245DB(a) of the Immigration Rules) can continue to apply for extensions and settlement under the route until April 5, 2023, and April 5, 2025, respectively.
Switching applications for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants remained open until July 5, 2021. Accordingly, Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension applications for these individuals were accepted until July 5, 2025. After this date, the Home Office no longer accepted Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension applications.
b. Alterations to the Eligibility Criteria
Although the eligibility criteria for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension remained mostly unchanged in 2019, applicants should still closely monitor the UK government’s guidelines and updates to ensure they meet all requirements. It is essential to stay informed about any changes that may impact your extension application.
c. The Transition from Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa to Innovator Visa
With the introduction of the Innovator Visa in March 2019, the UK government aimed to encourage innovation and support entrepreneurs with more scalable and viable business ideas. While the Innovator Visa has some similarities to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, there are notable differences in the eligibility criteria and application process.
The Innovator Visa requires applicants to have a business idea that is endorsed by an approved endorsing body. Additionally, applicants must have at least £50,000 in investment funds, unless they have already invested a similar amount into their business while on a Start-up Visa or a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa.
Existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders should carefully consider their options when their visa expires, as they may need to transition to the Innovator Visa or another suitable immigration route if they wish to continue conducting business in the UK.
4. Required Documentation for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension
When applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension, it is crucial to submit the correct documentation to demonstrate that you meet the eligibility criteria. The following documents are required for a successful application:
a. Business Financial Accounts
You must provide your business’s financial accounts, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and any other relevant financial documents. These documents should clearly show your business’s financial performance and demonstrate that the required amount of funds has been invested.
b. Evidence of Job Creation
As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holder, you are required to create at least two full-time jobs for settled workers in the UK. You must submit evidence to show that these jobs have been created and have existed for at least 12 consecutive months. This evidence can include employment contracts, payslips, and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) documents, such as Real Time Information (RTI) submissions.
c. Evidence of Investment
You must provide documentation to prove that you have invested the required amount of funds into your UK business. This evidence can include financial accounts, bank statements, share certificates, and any other relevant financial documents that clearly show your investment.
d. Other Supporting Documents
In addition to the documents mentioned above, you may need to provide other supporting documents, such as:
- A current and valid passport or travel document
- Two passport-sized color photographs
- Evidence of your English language proficiency, if applicable
- A letter from your financial institution confirming the availability of funds, if you have not yet invested the required amount
- Any other documents that may be requested by the Home Office to support your application
It is essential to ensure that your documentation is accurate, up-to-date, and complete to increase your chances of a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application.
5. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension Application Process
Applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension involves several steps. Understanding the process and requirements can improve your chances of a successful application. This section provides a step-by-step guide on the application process, timeframes, and processing times.
a. Step-by-Step Guide on the Application Process
- Review the eligibility criteria and documentation requirements: Before starting the application process, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and have gathered all the required documentation.
- Complete the online application form: Fill out the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application form, which can be found on the UK Government website. Make sure to provide accurate and complete information.
- Pay the application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge: Pay the required application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your application. The IHS is a mandatory fee that contributes to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
- Submit your supporting documents: After completing the online application form and paying the fees, gather and submit your supporting documents, as outlined in Section 4.
- Attend a biometric appointment: As part of the application process, you will need to attend a biometric appointment to provide your fingerprints and photograph. This appointment will usually take place at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center.
- Wait for a decision: Once you have submitted your application and attended your biometric appointment, your application will be processed by the Home Office. You will need to wait for a decision on your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application.
b. Timeframes and Processing Times
The processing time for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the workload of the Home Office. Generally, a decision can be expected within 8 weeks of submitting your application. However, this timeframe may be longer if additional information or documentation is requested by the Home Office.
c. Tips for Improving the Chances of a Successful Application
To increase your chances of a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application, consider the following tips:
- Thoroughly review the eligibility criteria and documentation requirements before starting the application process
- Prepare a detailed and accurate business plan that demonstrates the viability of your business and its potential for growth
- Seek professional advice from immigration experts or legal professionals with experience in Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applications
- Ensure that all supporting documents are accurate, up-to-date, and complete
- Double-check your application form for errors or omissions before submitting it
- Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or documentation from the Home Office
d. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension Success and Refusal Rate
From 2008 to 2018, there were 50,588 Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension and leave to remain applications decided, with 33,189 relating to main applicants and 17,399 for dependants. A total of 27,757 extensions and leave to remain were granted, including 17,215 to main applicants and 10,542 to dependants. The average success rate for these applications was 54.87%, with dependants having a higher success rate (60.59%) compared to main applicants (51.87%).
During the same period, 22,831 applications were refused, comprising 15,974 main applicants and 6,857 dependants. The average refusal rate was 45.13%, with a lower rate for dependants (39.41%) compared to main applicants (48.13%).
Please note that these figures are historical and might not accurately reflect the current success and refusal rates for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension applications. However, they provide a general overview of the application outcomes in the past.
6. Common Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension Refusals
Several factors can lead to the refusal of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application. Being aware of these common reasons for refusal can help you address potential issues in your application and improve your chances of success.
a. Inadequate evidence of job creation
One of the main requirements for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension is the creation of at least two full-time jobs for settled workers in the UK. Refusal may occur if the applicant fails to provide sufficient evidence of job creation, such as employment contracts, payslips, or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) records.
How to address this issue in your application: Ensure that you have clear and comprehensive documentation to prove that you have created and maintained the required number of jobs. Keep accurate records of your employees’ contracts, working hours, and payments to support your claims.
b. Insufficient investment
Applicants must demonstrate that they have invested the required funds (£200,000 or £50,000, depending on the source of the funds) into their UK business. If the investment amount is insufficient, or there is a lack of evidence to support the investment, the application may be refused.
How to address this issue in your application: Provide clear evidence of your investment in the business, such as bank statements, invoices, or share certificates. Ensure that the documentation demonstrates that the funds have been invested in accordance with the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
c. Failure to pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test evaluates whether the applicant has a genuine intention to establish, join, or take over a business in the UK. Failure to pass this test can result in a refusal of the extension application. This may be due to inconsistencies in the business plan, lack of knowledge about the business, or other factors that raise doubts about the applicant’s intentions.
How to address this issue in your application: Prepare a detailed and accurate business plan that clearly outlines your business’s objectives, strategies, and financial projections. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of your business and industry, and be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information if required. Seek professional guidance from immigration experts or business advisors to help you create a strong and credible application.
7. Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa: Understanding the Difference
The Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa are two distinct UK immigration routes aimed at entrepreneurs. While they share some similarities, they differ in their eligibility criteria and requirements.
a. Eligibility criteria and requirements for Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa was designed specifically for recent graduates who have a genuine and credible business idea. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must:
- Have been awarded a UK-recognized bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD.
- Be endorsed by a UK higher education institution (HEI) or the Department for International Trade (DIT).
- Provide evidence of maintenance funds to support themselves during their stay in the UK.
- Meet the English language requirement.
- Demonstrate a genuine and credible business idea.
Please note that the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa has now been replaced by the Start-up visa. However, the information provided here can still be useful for those who were granted a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa before the change.
b. How it differs from the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
There are several key differences between the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa:
- Eligibility: The Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is specifically for recent graduates, while the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is open to any individual who wishes to establish, join, or take over a business in the UK.
- Endorsement: Graduate Entrepreneur Visa applicants require endorsement from a UK higher education institution or the Department for International Trade, while Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicants do not need an endorsement.
- Investment funds: Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicants must have access to at least £200,000 in investment funds (or £50,000 from specific sources), while Graduate Entrepreneur Visa applicants are not required to show any specific investment amount.
- Job creation: Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicants must create at least two full-time jobs for settled workers in the UK, while there is no such requirement for Graduate Entrepreneur Visa applicants.
Understanding the differences between these two visa categories can help prospective entrepreneurs choose the most suitable immigration route based on their qualifications, resources, and business plans.
8. Seeking Professional Guidance for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Extension
Navigating the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension process can be challenging and complex. To improve your chances of success, it is highly recommended to seek professional guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer or consultant. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of working with an immigration professional and provide tips on finding the best lawyer for your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension.
a. The benefits of working with an immigration lawyer or consultant
- Expertise: Immigration professionals are well-versed in the UK’s immigration laws and regulations, which means they can help you understand and navigate the complex extension process.
- Personalized advice: An experienced lawyer or consultant will provide tailored advice based on your unique situation and business, helping you address potential issues and optimize your application.
- Efficiency: Immigration professionals can help you save time and effort by managing the entire extension process on your behalf, including gathering the necessary documentation, preparing the application forms, and liaising with the Home Office.
- Reduced risk of refusal: Working with an immigration expert can significantly reduce the risk of refusal by ensuring that your application is complete, accurate, and meets all the eligibility criteria.
b. Tips for finding the best lawyer for your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension
- Research: Start by researching immigration lawyers and consultants who specialize in Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extensions. Look for professionals with a proven track record of success in handling similar cases.
- Read reviews: Read client reviews and testimonials to get an idea of the quality of service and level of expertise provided by the lawyer or consultant.
- Check credentials: Verify the professional’s credentials, including their education, experience, and any certifications or accreditations they hold.
- Ask for recommendations: Reach out to your network for personal recommendations. People who have had a positive experience with a particular lawyer or consultant can provide valuable insights.
- Consultations: Arrange initial consultations with a shortlist of potential lawyers or consultants. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and gauge whether they are the right fit for your needs.
By following these tips and seeking professional guidance, you can significantly improve your chances of a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application, ensuring a smooth and stress-free process.
In this guide, we have provided an overview of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension process, including eligibility criteria, required documentation, new rules and updates in 2019, application process, common reasons for refusals, and the differences between the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. We have also highlighted the importance of seeking professional guidance when applying for your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension.
To recap the key points:
- Understanding the eligibility criteria, such as job creation, investment of funds, and passing the Genuine Entrepreneur Test, is crucial for a successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application.
- Familiarize yourself with any new rules and updates in 2019, particularly the transition from Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa to the Innovator Visa.
- Ensure that you have gathered all the required documentation, including business financial accounts, evidence of job creation, and evidence of investment.
- Follow the application process step-by-step and be mindful of timeframes and processing times.
- Be aware of the common reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension refusals and take steps to address these issues in your application.
- Understand the differences between the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa to determine which route is more suitable for your circumstances.
We strongly encourage you to seek professional guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer or consultant when preparing your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension application. By doing so, you can significantly improve your chances of success and navigate the process with greater confidence and ease.