Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Working in UK - Graduate Entrepreneur Visa (Tier 1)

UK Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
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 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.

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 £456
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £280 £401
All dependants £335 each person £456 each person
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

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 cannot 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 cannot:
  • 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


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 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 cannot 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 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.


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

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


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

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

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


How to Apply

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

Applying outside the UK
You must apply online for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).

Applying in the UK
You can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.




How to switch to this visa

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

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 CANNOT 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.

How to apply to switch your visa
Download and fill in the application form and send it with your documents to the address on the front of the form.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Biometric information
You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

How long it takes
A decision will be made on your application within 8 weeks.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:
  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)
Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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