So, you’ve finished your course. You’ve aced your modules, worked on your business model (perhaps you even tried a bit of crowdfunding to get you started…), and now you’re ready to do it: to take that great idea and turn it into a business.
However, if you’re from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland and you would like to run your business within the United Kingdom, you’ll need to apply for a Graduate Entrepreneur visa.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
Before you can apply for a visa, you should check that you meet the criteria:
- The idea. You must have a realistic and well-considered idea for a business that has been endorsed by an approved body (i.e. by either UK Trade and Investment as part of the elite global graduate programme [Sirius] or a UK Higher Education Institution).
- The endorsement. As well as proving that you have a credible business idea, you’ll need to meet other key criteria in order to receive the necessary endorsement from UKTI or an HEI. These include, but are not limited to: proof that you can support yourself (by having a certain amount of savings – this could be investment from a crowdfunding campaign – which must be deposited in your bank account at least 90 days before you apply); proof of a suitable degree (UK-recognised bachelor’s degree or higher, depending on which body is endorsing you); and proof that you meet the English language requirement. Criteria can vary from institution to institution, so do check carefully.
You will also need to be from outside of the EEA or Switzerland in order to apply.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Not as long as you may think, though this can vary depending on which body is endorsing you. If you’re getting your endorsement from an HEI, you will typically be notified of the decision on your entrepreneur visa within eight weeks. If the UKTI are endorsing you, you should be notified of the decision within three weeks.
WHEN CAN I APPLY?
The earliest you can apply is three months prior to travelling to the UK.
HOW MUCH WILL I HAVE TO PAY?
The cost depends on where you are applying from, how you intend to apply, and your own situation (whether you have any dependants, for instance). As of summer 2016, it costs £342 to apply for yourself if you’re applying from outside of the UK (or £287 if you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia). You’ll also need to pay the UK health surcharge as part of your application. We recommend visiting the UK Government website (Gov.uk) for up-to-date information on Graduate Entrepreneur visa fees and surcharges.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE UK ON AN ENTREPRENEUR VISA?
A Tier 1 visa will allow you to stay in the UK for one year, but you can apply to extend this.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT?
The visa is pretty flexible, and allows you to bring dependants and family members with you. You can apply to extend your stay if you need to and even switch to a Graduate Entrepreneur visa from another visa category. You aren’t able to settle in the UK on this visa, though; and you also can’t benefit from public funds or work in particular industries (a doctor or dentist in training or a professional sportsperson, for instance).
Crowdfund Campus is proud to support all budding entrepreneurs. For advice on how to make the most of your business idea by taking advantage of our unique platform, please give us a call on +44(0)7545 898120 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org– we look forward to helping you!