Are you looking to start a new business in the UK and need to apply for an entrepreneur visa? In this article, we will explain what an entrepreneur visa is and the steps you need to take to apply. We will also highlight what elements you need to include, as well as some common mistakes that often to lead to applications being rejected.
What is an entrepreneur visa?
A UK entrepreneur visa - also referred to as a tier 1 visa - is for business people wishing to enter to UK to start a new enterprise or to invest in a current one. There are several requirements that must be met in order to secure an entrepreneur visa, but it remains popular due to providing a clear path to full settlement in the UK.
This visa provides the person (or persons) the opportunity to trade within the UK. However, due to the increase in demand for these visas, the government has recently had to introduce the genuine entrepreneur test to ensure that those applying for tier 1 visas have the correct intentions when entering the country.
What do you need?
Not just anyone can apply for an entrepreneur visa; there are some specific requirements that have to be met in order for an application to be accepted. These requirements include:
Successful tier 1 visa applicants will provide the Home Office with more information than the basic requirements listed above. This information is provided to convince the Home Office that your planned venture can provide at least two people, who are already ‘settled’ in the UK, with full-time employment within your business. The Home Office define the term ‘settled’ as either a UK citizen or someone who is not subject to immigration controls and can stay in the country indefinitely. Full-time employment must be at least 30 hours a week.
- Being able to prove you are able to, and will establish, take control of or become a senior member of at least one business in the UK within six months of arriving in the country.
- The required funds of £200,000 (or £50,000 in some circumstances) are genuinely available to you and will stay available until you have invested it into the business as a start-up investment or into an established company within the UK.
- Other than working for your specified business, you do not intend to seek further employment.
- You can fully support yourself during your stay in the country and will not need to rely on public funds.
- You have the necessary knowledge of English.
Business plans for an entrepreneur visa
The primary way that the Home Office will assess whether your visa application is genuine is by evaluating your business plan. You are required to submit a business plan with an entrepreneur visa to explain your experience and knowledge in the industry you intend on entering once in the UK. To prove this to the Home Office you will need to evidence your previous experience of working in your chosen industry by providing examples of your previous work. Also, evidence will be required that proves the market research within your business plan is credible and reliable. Much like you would with a CV, as well as your experience, your relevant academic qualifications must be included. Finally, any experience of working in your chosen sector within the UK that you have should be included to bolster your application.
What to include
The idea of a business plan is to produce a template of how your business will look, how it will function and how it will run on a day-to-day basis. It should also explain how your business will grow and develop in the future. This plan will explain where you see your business going and how you aim to achieve the objectives you have set. Try to consider any obstacles you could come across and how you aim to overcome these.
In terms of the structure for your business plan, we would recommend following one similar to this:
- Executive Summary
- Financial Summary
- Director’s Background (this is where you would include your personal experience and qualifications)
- Service/Product Description
- Market Research
- Competitor Analysis
- SWOT Analysis
- Risk Analysis
- Sales & Marketing Strategy (include some objectives in here)
- Legal Requirements
- Management & Staff
- Financial Analysis
- 3-year financial forecast (inc. cash flow forecast & P&L Account)
- Relevant Appendices
Proving you are genuine
What you include and the evidence you provide within your business plan are the only way to prove to the Home Office that your visa application is genuine. To do this you must ensure that your market research is relevant to your business industry and is up-to-date. This will show them that you have a strong knowledge of the sector you want enter and that you have thought this venture through. Additionally, including your previous education and business experience will also boost your application and increase your chances of being approved.
Why do applications get refused?
The most common reasons that entrepreneurs have their applications refused is because they do not meet the basic requirements or because they cannot sufficiently prove they are genuine. For instance, if an applicant cannot prove they have access to enough funds to invest in the business within the UK, they will be rejected. A similar outcome will occur if the business plan provided by the applicant fails to prove the applicant is genuine.
To avoid having your application rejected, contact us to see how we can advise you. There are many ways in which we can help you and we are always available to answer any questions you might have about visa applications and to guide you through each step of the process.