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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Alternatives: Start-up and Innovator Visa Categories

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Being knowledgeable regarding different types of visa is highly advisable in order to know what visa category fits your scenario. To that end, getting informed beforehand can be really helpful, and this article is here to help you. Basically, if you’ve been uncertain, not knowing if the tier 1 entrepreneur visa is the right option for you, you should know that there are two other alternatives worth considering that have plenty in common – we’re talking about the start-up visa and entrepreneur visa.

Introducing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

First things first: this visa category is created especially if you want to apply for immigration in the UK, granted that you have made a considerable investment there, or you started a UK based business. Another condition you need to address is that you must have £200,000 you can use in order to invest in purchasing a new business or a business that is already established. Another requirement is employing two full-time staff members. Please note – The Home Office have now closed the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route. Read below for the replacement version called Innovator and Startup visa.

In order for your application to be considered successful, your score must be of 95 points. Concurrently, you are expected to address all the specifications of the Immigration Rules. You will get these points if you can prove that you have access to investment funds and if the funds are available in the UK. At the same time, other requirements are related to your English-speaking skills and your financial capability of supporting yourself in the UK.

Introducing the Innovator Visa

Let’s move on to another visa category – namely the innovator visa. Before you can apply, your business or your business idea must be assessed in advance by an approved body. Once you get that, you will be granted an endorsement letter. That will happen only in the case the business or the business idea is considered viable.

In regard to other requirements you ought to address, you must present English speaking skills, just as in the case of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Aside from this, you need to demonstrate your financial capability of supporting yourself when you are in the UK – just as it is the case with the first visa.

Furthermore, you should have at your disposal a specific sum of money available in the form of investment funds – £50,000. The good thing is that your funding can be sourced from anywhere. In the case in which your business has already been established, then you don’t need any investment funds at your disposal.

An alternative worth noting would be that you have the option of creating a team with other Innovator applicants. Nevertheless, note that the law doesn’t allow you to share the same investment funds. Each applicant in your team must have at least £50,000. Basically, in case you have two Innovator applicants, then you must have £100,000 at your disposal for investing.

If you are already in the UK and you have a different status, you can change your visa to the Innovator Visa. More specifically, if you are already in the UK with the Tier 1 Visa, the Start-up Visa, which we will focus on right away, any other Tier 2 visa or a standard visitor visa, you can consider switching to this visa. Once you have switched to an innovator visa, you can stay in the UK for three years. Simultaneously, there are no restrictions when it comes to how many times you can extend your visa.

Introducing Start-up Visa

Moreover, the start-up visa is worthy of your attention as well if you’re thinking of setting up a business in the UK. This visa is suitable for applicants outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, just as it is the case for the Innovator Visa.

Once again, you have to get endorsed prior to having your application accepted. Basically, an authorised body is responsible with endorsing applicants, and this could either be a business organisation that has a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs, or a UK higher education institution.

In addition to that, you are expected to demonstrate that your business idea is original. Basically, under this visa, you cannot invest in a business that is already operating. Aside from this, you must prove that the business idea you have is profitable and that it can generate revenue.

Concerning the eligibility criteria for this visa category, an approved body must review your business plans. The next step is getting an endorsement letter, in case the business idea is considered viable. There are also specific requirements regarding your English-speaking skills and your financial capability of supporting yourself when you are in the UK. That is to say, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient savings in this respect.

In addition to that, in order to display your capability to support yourself, you should have £945 in your bank account at least 3 months before applying.

In order to apply for the start-up visa, you need to follow all the steps online. It is also part of the application process to have your photograph and fingerprints taken at a visa application centre. Depending on the country you’re from, you may obtain your visa sooner, but it’s best to check this with your application centre just to be sure.

You may also switch to this visa if you are already in the UK under the following visas: any Tier 2 visa, Tier 1 and Tier 4 Visa, or the standard visitor visa.

The Bottom Line

All in all, we hope that this article has served as an informative introduction to this comprehensive topic. It goes without saying that navigating this subject can be confusing, especially if it’s the first time you’re considering to apply for a visa in the UK. That’s why we’re here to help.

The bottom line is that you should do your research beforehand to know exactly the specifications and requirements of each visa category. Afterwards, you can make a fully informed decision that will meet your needs and situation.

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