Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Guidance

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is designed for foreign students studying in the UK who would like to remain in the UK after graduation and start a UK business.  Also, your dependent family members may be able to join you in the UK.

The graduate entrepreneur route is an ideal fit for ambitious graduates who wish to remain in the UK following graduation.  However, to obtain endorsement from a higher education authority or the Department for International Trade takes courage, a clear vision, and talent.  If you have the idea, support from your university, our lawyers can assist you with making a persuasive application, allowing you to launch your venture in one of the large economy in the world, the UK.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

To apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, you need to have the following:

  • An endorsement by a UK higher education institute or Department for International Trade (DIT), verifying you have a valid business plan and have undertaken a personal assessment
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a UK higher education institution
  • Meet English language requirements (your graduation from an English language programme in the UK or a bachelors, masters or PhD that was taught in English, will satisfy this requirement)
  • Sufficient funds to support you and your dependents in the UK for your stay
  • 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
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How Do I Apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

Unless you are from North Korea, you must apply online.  In addition to filling out the required forms and sending your supporting documentation, you will need to organise your biometric details (which includes your fingerprints and a photograph).  If you are applying from outside the UK, this can be done at your closest visa application centre.

What Documentation is Required to Secure a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

The documents you will need to provide to support your application will depend on which endorsement route you follow:

If a Higher Education Institute is endorsing you, you will need to send in:

  • Your current passport or valid travel document
  • Proof that a Higher Education Institute has endorsed you
  • Bank statements showing you have at least £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK, and that these funds have been in your account for at least 90 days
  • The results of your TB test (if you are required to have one)

You will also need to provide proof of your degree if it was awarded by a Higher Education Institute different from the one endorsing you, and evidence you meet the English language requirements.

If the Department for International Trade is endorsing you, you must provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel document
  • a letter of endorsement from the Department for International Trade
  • proof of your academic qualification or an alternative from the documents guide
  • previous passports
  • proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • bank statements showing you have at least £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK, or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK, and evidence you have held these funds for 90 days
  • the results of your TB test if required
  • a letter from the UK National Recognition Information Centre that shows your qualification is relevant for this visa

The Advantages of Entering or Staying in the UK on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Route

 If you have a credible business idea that you wish to launch in the UK, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route provides an excellent opportunity to follow your ambitions.

Once you have completed your time on the graduate entrepreneur visa (two years if you are granted an extension), you may be able to switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, if you have investment funds of £50,000.

What Can I Do if My Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Is Refused?

If your application has been refused, we can assist you with:

We only recommend Judicial Review if there is merit to the case, we would send a Pre-action Protocol letter to the Home Office, perhaps introducing new evidence if available, and state why the entry-clearance officer was wrong to refuse your application.  We can also challenge the officer if they failed to exercise their discretion in your favour.  If this does not result in the Home Office granting your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, we can then make an application for Judicial Review on your behalf.

How A Y & J Solicitors Can Assist You in Applying for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Our highly qualified lawyers at A Y & J Solicitors have years of experience in supporting applicants through the Entrepreneur Visa application process. We have received many successful outcomes. At every point in your application, our team will be working on your behalf, from initial consultation, until you have the visa decision in your hand.


After you have been in the UK for one year on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, you will have to apply to have it extended.  To qualify, you will need to show you have made adequate progress on launching your venture.  This is evidenced by a letter from the body which initially endorsed your proposal.  You will also need to show you can support yourself financially.

Yes, payment upfront of the healthcare surcharge will apply.  The charge will be £200 per year for each applicant.

Success Story on Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
On December 21, 2017 | In Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa | By
A Y & J Solicitors

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Application Successful even after Interview!

Mr V is a PhD graduate and founder of an amazing UK business. He was recently given the opportunity to invest funds totalling £200,000 into his UK business, and he needed to qualify for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa in order to grow the company. Mr V had no finances of his own—the funds were…

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