The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and Start-up Visa – your questions answered

 
 

The introduction of the new Start-up visa and Innovator Visa has led to the top London immigration solicitors receiving a flurry of questions from entrepreneurs and start-up business owners about the new business visa options. 

 
The popular questions posed to the best London immigration solicitors from young entrepreneurs looking to set up business in the UK are: 
 
• Can you still apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa?
• Can you extend a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa?
• Can you switch from a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa to a Start-up Visa?
• What are the eligibility criteria for a Start-up Visa?
 

How can OTS Solicitors help?

  
OTS Solicitors specialise in Business Immigration Visas. The business immigration department is recommended in the legal directory, Legal 500. OTS Solicitors won an award from SME news for being the most innovative Immigration law firm 2019. The business immigration department has substantial experience in representing entrepreneurs and looking after their Immigration and business law needs.
 
OTS Solicitors can help you secure a Start-up Visa or advise you on your switch and settlement options if you are an existing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa holder. 
 
Call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how our experienced London Immigration law solicitors can help you.
 

Can you still apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa?

 

The top London immigration solicitors advise that you can still apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa if you obtained an endorsement letter by the 5 April 2019. The application for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa must be made by no later than the 5 July 2019. 
 
The best London immigration solicitors recommend that applicants for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa take expert legal advice before submitting their application for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa as it may be in your interests to apply for a Start-up Visa, instead of a Graduate entrepreneur visa.
 
If you were intending to apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa but missed the deadline date of the 5th April 2019 to get your endorsement letter from an endorsing body, then you can still consider the option of applying for a Start-up Visa or other visa options.  
 

Can you extend a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa? 

 
The top London immigration solicitors advise that if you are in the UK on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and you want to extend the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa, you can do so if you secured your endorsement letter by the 5 April 2019. The extension application should be made by the 5 July 2019.  
 
If you missed the 5 April 2019 deadline to obtain the endorsement letter to extend your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa, you can consider switching from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa to the Start-up Visa.
 

Can you switch from a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa to a Start-up Visa?

 
If you missed the 5 April 2019 deadline for obtaining an endorsement letter to extend your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa, the best London immigration solicitors recommend switching visa to the new Start-up category.
 
Although the Start-up Visa is not a direct route to settlement in the UK, once your business has become successful and meets Home Office criteria, you could apply for an Innovator Visa. The Innovator Visa is designed for more experienced entrepreneurs and can lead to settlement in the UK.
 

What are the eligibility criteria for a Start-up Visa?

 
To be eligible to apply for a Start-up Visa you need:
 
• To want to set up business in the UK; 
• To be from outside the EEA and Switzerland;
• To be at least eighteen years old;
• To meet the English language requirement;
• To have funds to maintain yourself (under current Home Office rules that means you need to of had at least £945 in your bank account for ninety days before making the visa application);
• An endorsement letter from a endorsing body (either a business organization or higher education institute on a Home Office list of approved endorsing bodies);
• A business idea and plan for a business that is innovative, viable and scalable and that is supported by an endorsing body.  
 
The best London immigration solicitors say that if you have a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and are applying to switch to the Start-up Visa category then you do not need to prove that your business is innovative, viable or scalable. That is because you have already received endorsement from either a UK higher education institution or the Department for International Trade. If you receive an endorsement for the Start-up Visa from the same body that previously endorsed, you for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa all the endorsing body has to say is that your business is genuine and credible. 
 
However, if an applicant switching from a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa obtains endorsement from a different endorsing body, the applicant has to show that the business is innovative, viable and has scalability. Therefore, in the view of the top London immigration solicitors, it is sensible for those switching into the Start-up Visa category to use the same endorsing body who endorsed to their Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa application to endorse the Start-up Visa application. 
 
The endorsing body will also have to confirm that an applicant will meet the Home Office criteria, namely that they will spend the majority of working time in the UK developing the business. The wording of the criteria allows a Start-up Visa applicant to carry out some paid work to supplement their income whilst the Start-up company begins to make a profit.
 
The application process for a Start-up Visa does not end with the obtaining of an endorsement letter from a Home Office approved endorsing body. The application then has to be submitted to the Home Office for consideration. A Home Office official will check that an applicant meets the general requirements of the Start-up Visa as well as assessing the credibility of the business and application.
 

What is the length of a Start-up Visa?

 
A Start-up Visa is granted for two years. However, the best London immigration solicitors advise that if you hold a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and you apply to switch to a Start-up Visa then the Start-up Visa’s length will be two years minus the length of time spent in the UK as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa holder. 
 
An application cannot be made to extend the Start-up Visa. This rule is applicable whether you are a new Start-up Visa holder or have switched into the category from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa.
 
Many entrepreneurs are concerned about the short length of the Start-up Visa. However, if the business is successful, you have the option to apply for an Innovator Visa when you are nearing the expiry of the Start-up Visa. The Innovator Visa can lead to settlement but is not necessarily the right initial route for a relatively inexperienced Entrepreneur as the business requirements of the Innovator Visa are enhanced. That is why the best London immigration solicitors generally recommend switching from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa to the Start-up Visa.
 
The decision on whether to apply for a Start-up Visa or an Innovator Visa is a complicated one, especially when you have already secured a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and are contemplating switching visa. The top London immigration solicitors will look at your individual and business circumstances and goals when advising you on your business visa options.
 

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

 
Central London based OTS Solicitors specialise in Business Immigration Visas. OTS Solicitors are recommended in Legal 500 for business immigration. The experienced business immigration department can help you secure a Start-up Visa or advise you on your switch and settlement options. 
 
OTS Solicitors London business immigration solicitors understand the needs of entrepreneurs for no nonsense Immigration advice tailored to their personal and business needs and goals.
 
Call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how our experienced London Immigration law solicitors can help you.
 

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