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Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa Extensions Leading to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Our top Immigration Solicitors can advise you on how to make a successful Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension application before the deadline.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa closed to new applicants on 29th March 2019 and was replaced by the Innovator Visa and Start Up Visa.  Existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders can still apply for an extension until 5th April 2023, and for UK settlement until 5th April 2025.

At RVS Solicitors, as specialists in immigration law, we regularly witness the hard work and dedication of entrepreneurs who have come to the UK.  We understand that after several years of building your business into a successful enterprise, as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders you will wish to apply for an extension to your visa to continue your journey towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

To extend your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you must demonstrate you have successfully built your business and wish to continue to do so.  The extension application process requires considerable attention to detail and a robust knowledge of the precise factors which UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will be looking for when making an assessment.

Our experts in Immigration

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Can I apply to extend my Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

Extension applications will continue to be accepted from all applicants until 5th April 2023. For those who enter the route following a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa the deadline for Applications will be 5th July 2025 instead.

With the route having closed and very limited amount of time left to submit your extension application, it is crucial to ensure that you are doing everything right and your application will be granted at the first attempt.

Our immigration law team is well placed to assist you in making the strongest possible application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension.

When should I apply for extension of my Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa?

Initial applications for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) lead to a leave to enter or remain in the UK for 3 years. You should apply to extend your leave before the end date for your visa which can be found on your BRP. You need to keep in mind that even if the application is late just one day, unless you are able to provide good reason for that, your application will be refused, without any further consideration in respect of other requirements.

You should also avoid making an application too soon, as you will then end up not having the required length of residency for ILR application without a second extension. We therefore recommend that an application for extension is not made any earlier than 28 days before the actual date of expiry of your visa.

We strongly advise all Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants to keep regular contact with their legal advisor throughout the initial leave. This is because Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route has many complex and technical requirements that need to be met at certain periods. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) compliance, is therefore of extreme importance. Failure to do so will mean that by the time you are getting ready to apply for your extension, you might discover that there is simply no way of ensuring that your application will succeed. Our team of immigration lawyers always keeps in close contact with all our clients and reaches out to them on key dates to ensure they are on track. Our Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) compliance lawyers also work with clients whose initial applications were not prepared by us, to ensure they meet all the relevant requirements for successful extension application.

Another important point to keep in mind is that extension applications are complex and require a lot of evidence to be produced. You should never start the application process too late. We usually recommend starting the process at least 2-3 months before your visa expires.

What requirements do I need to meet to extend my Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa?

To extend your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you will need to demonstrate the following:

  • You invested £50,000 or £200,000 in a business venture (depending on the category of funds you relied upon on your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application).
  • You registered as a director or as self-employed within six months of being granted your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – and can show this is the case three months before you apply for an extension.
  • Your contribution to your business has helped to create two new full-time jobs that lasted for at least 12 months.
  • You are financially able to support yourself.

Each of the above points have many nuances that will need to be taken into account and weighted properly to ensure the desired outcome for you and your family.

In general the following points need to be met:

  • You have genuinely invested the required amount of money.

This means that you have either directly invested the required amount of money or a third party invested that amount on your behalf. In any event the investment needs to have been made in full by the time you are making the extension application. Another important point is that the money should have been used for legitimate and qualifying business expenses. This criteria is one of the biggest contributors to refusals as many applicants do not understand the complex rules surrounding this criteria and fail to abide by the relevant rules. Best immigration lawyers will always recommend that you remain in touch with your immigration adviser, precisely to pre-empt such issues.

If you have any doubts if your investment has been done in the right way, contact our friendly immigration team for a free assessment on +44 20 3282 6716 or complete our online enquiry form.

  • You must have registered as a Director of a UK registered company with company house or as a Sole Trader with the HMRC within 6 months of entering the UK. You further must show that 3 months prior to your application, you continued to either be a Director of a UK based Company or a Sole Trader registered with HMRC.
  • You have created 2 full time jobs for UK settled workers that have lasted at least 12 months.

This requirement is perhaps the single biggest reason for failing to secure a successful outcome for an extension application. The reasons for that is mostly not the failure to create the jobs, but rather evidencing it correctly.

Our top immigration specialists are well placed to advise you on whether the positions that you have created are indeed considered full time jobs, who you can hire for those positions to ensure they are qualifying employees and what kind of evidence to collate to prove the same.

In relation to your immediate dependant family, assuming they were included in your existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you can include them on your application for extension, with only added requirement here being that you have the funds to support them as well.

Do I need to meet the Genuine Entrepreneur test for extension application?

The short answer is yes. The genuine entrepreneur test is applied not only to entry clearance but to all stages of this route. However, at this stage, the genuine entrepreneur test is somewhat more objective, as there are certain criteria to be met to pass this test.

In principle those are:

  • You have established, joined or taken over a genuine UK based business.
  • You have genuinely invested the required funds.
  • You have genuinely operated the above business and intend to continue to do so
  • You have not worked or intend to work for any other businesses, but the ones that you are a Director of.

How can I apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa extension?

The extension application will be made online (assuming you are in the UK) and will require you to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) office to have your fingerprints and a photo taken.  All of the evidence required to support your application should be uploaded as part of the online application process.  RVS Solicitors will assist with all matters relating to your submission, including providing a checklist of the items, digitising each document, and then uploading them with your application.

Our team of immigration law experts understand the anxiety and concern that making an application to extend an Entrepreneur Visa can bring.  Our team will ensure your application progresses as smoothly and quickly as possible.  You can be absolutely assured that we will remove the burden from your shoulders to enable you to focus on your business and the needs of your family.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) / settlement?

As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holder, after five continuous years in the UK, you can make an application for settlement.  The Entrepreneur Visa is issued for three years initially, which is why you will need to apply for an extension.

There is an accelerated ILR route (see more on the accelerated route below), which means settlement can be achieved after only three years.  Leave cannot be combined with time spent in the country under another visa category in order to meet the ILR continuous time in the UK requirement.

Can I apply for the accelerated Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa ILR?

You may be able to accelerate the process of achieving settlement if you have been in the UK continuously under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category for a minimum of three years  and if you have employed ten or more full-time workers, or if the business turnover has reached £5 million or more.  To apply under this accelerated route, you must provide additional evidence UKVI, including audited accounts showing a net increase of £5m in gross income during your time in the business.

With the route having now closed for new applicants, it is imperative that you have the right advice from the very beginning, to ensure that your application will succeed.

To find out more about how we can assist you with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa Extensions, please contact our London office on 020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form  to make an appointment.

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