1. Overview

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa if you:

  • are a graduate who has been officially endorsed as having a genuine and credible business idea
  • are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • meet the other eligibility criteria

Getting endorsed

You must be endorsed by either:

  • UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) as part of the elite global graduate entrepreneur programme (Sirius)
  • a UK higher education institution (HEI) if it’s an authorised endorsing body

How long it will take

How long it takes depends on how you’ve been endorsed.

UKTI endorsement

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks if you’ve been endorsed by UKTI. You can apply for this visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You can check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

UK HEI endorsement

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks if you’ve been endorsed by a UK higher education institution.

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK
Yourself £335 (Rs.33,109.87) £456 (Rs.45,068.60)
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £280 (Rs.27,673.92) £401 (Rs.39,633.01)
All dependants £335 each person (Rs.33,109.87) £456 each person (Rs.45,068.60)

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for one year on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

You can apply to extend this visa for one more year.

What you can and can’t do

You can:
  • bring family members with you
  • extend your stay in the UK using this visa
  • switch into this visa from some other visa categories
You can’t:
  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, eg a sports coach
  • settle in the UK on this visa

2. Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for this visa depend on who is endorsing you.

Endorsement by a UK higher education institution (HEI)

You need all of the following to be eligible:

  • a UK-recognised bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD awarded before your date of endorsement
  • endorsement from an authorised UK higher education institution issued in the past 3 months
  • £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK, or £1,890 (Rs.1,86,919.54) if applying from outside the UK - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • to meet the English language requirement
  • permission to remain in the UK from your financial sponsor if they’re a government or an international scholarship agency and have paid your course fees and living costs in the past 12 months

You can’t apply with any of the following:

  • foundation degrees
  • honorary degrees
  • qualifications awarded in the UK by overseas awarding bodies
  • qualifications undertaken at overseas campuses of UK institutions
  • professional and vocational qualifications
  • postgraduate certificates or diplomas

Endorsement by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)

You need all of the following to be eligible:

  • a degree qualification that’s recognised as being equal to a UK bachelor’s degree
  • to meet the criteria set by UKTI
  • endorsement from UKTI issued in the past 3 months
  • £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 (Rs.1,86,919.54) if applying from outside the UK - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • to meet the English language requirement
  • You don’t have to provide evidence that you have sufficient savings to support yourself if you have an endorsement from UKTI stating you’ve been awarded funding to cover your maintenance.

3. Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree
  • You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways. Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances

4. Documents you must provide

The documents you need to provide depend on how you’re being endorsed.

Endorsed by a UK higher education institution (HEI)

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • 1 passport-sized colour photograph
    a letter of endorsement from your UK HEI
    bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK - you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

you’ll also need to provide the following if your degree was awarded by a different UK HEI than the one providing your endorsement:

  • an original certificate of your qualification or an accepted alternative
  • proof that you have knowledge of the English language

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

Endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • a letter of endorsement from UKTI
  • an original certificate of your academic qualification or an alternative from the documents guide
  • previous passports
  • a residence permit, ‘green card’ or valid visa if you’re not a national of the country from where you’re applying
  • proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK - you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a letter from NARIC that proves you can use your qualification to apply for this visa

You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Read the documents guide for a detailed list of the documents you can provide.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

5. Extend your visa

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

You should include any dependents who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must already have this visa and all of the following:

  • a new endorsement letter from your UK higher education institute or UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) confirming that you’ve made satisfactory progress in developing your business
  • at least £945 available

How long you can stay

A Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa can be extended for one year.

You may be able to switch into a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa at the end of your 2 years as a Graduate Entrepreneur if your business is successful.

6. Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must already be in the UK as a:

  • student
  • student nurse
  • student re-sitting an examination
  • student writing up a thesis
  • Tier 4 (General) visa holder
  • postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • Tier 2 (General) migrant working as a post-doctoral researcher

You must meet all of the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa’s eligibility requirements.

You can’t switch to this visa if you’ve already had a visa under one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (Post Study Worker)
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
  • International Graduates Scheme
  • Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for one year on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

7. Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child under 18

 

 

 

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