The Tier 1 Visa is for eligible entrepreneurs, investors, foreign graduates of UK educational institutions, and those that fall under the Exceptional Talent visa category.
There are several sub-categories to the Tier 1 Visa. Each has its own definition, requirements, and application process. If you feel you are best suited for a Tier 1 Visa you will want to determine within which category you wish to apply for a Tier 1 visa and ensure you meet the minimum requirements for that sub-category.
The administration and adjudication of the UK Tier 1 Visa is through the UK Visa Board, which is governed by the UK Border Agency. Their website has many helpful tips and explanations of the qualification and application process. In most cases, you can also apply for your visa online.
Tier 1 Entrepreneurs Visa – This Tier 1 visa is for those entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the United Kingdom by opening a business, taking over an existing business, or take a leadership role within a current business. Applicants must have at least £200,000 in disposable capital held in a UK regulated financial institution.
Tier 1 Investors Visa – This Tier 1 visa is for those investors who wish to invest at least £750,000 within the United Kingdom. These investors must have at least £1 million at their disposal and it must be held in a financial institution within the UK. In addition, they must not be employed outside the management of their finances and be willing to spend 50% of their time in the UK.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa – The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is one for which very few applicants qualify. This visa allows individuals who are recognized internationally as world leaders in the arts and sciences or have the potential to be recognized as such. As a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa applicant, you must be sponsored by a ‘designated competent body’ and be able to speak English well. You do not need to have a job offer and are allowed to pursue employment anywhere in the UK. There is a limit of 1,000 Exceptional Talent visas granted annually.
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs Visa – One of the newest sub-categories of the Tier 1 Visa, the Graduate Entrepreneurs Visa category is designed for those graduates who have engaged in entrepreneurial activities that is considered innovative during their time of graduate study. The requirements are strict for this category, few are granted, and you must be recognised by a UK instituted of higher education as developing world-class ideas or possessing world class entrepreneurial skills in order to be considered.
Each sub-category of the Tier 1 visa may have additional requirements and should be research thoroughly before you proceed. Once you have determined which Tier 1 visa is the best for you, you can begin the application process. It is important to remember all adjudication of Tier 1 visas typically take between three and four months to process. All Tier 1 Visa applications are measured on a point-based system and award points toward eligibility. It is important to understand the points based system and ensure you meet the general and minimum requirements before you make your application.
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