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The UK has been a known business market for several decades. It is a competitive and lucrative industry and one of the ways that the UK has been up able to keep up with such a fast-paced industry is by opening its’ borders to overseas talent and investors from outside the EU.

The Points Based System of the Immigration Rules offers several options for non-EEA nationals who wish to enter the UK for business purposes. The most common sub-categories within the Points Based System which can be relied upon to enter the UK for business purposes are:

  1. Tier 1 (Investor) Visa
  2. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
  3. Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

The options above may possibly be ideal for those who are intending on making an investment in the UK.  Although, the purpose of the above visas may be similar, their requirements differ, and consequently the supporting documentation required will also differ. Each visa type may be suitable for different applicants depending on their business plans and exact intention once they have acquired the appropriate period of leave in the UK.

What does each business visa under the Points Based System require?

Tier 1 (Investor) Visa

As with all visa categories under the Points Based system, applicants must score a specific number of points in order to make a successful application. Consequently, applicants applying for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa must score a minimum of 75 points by meeting the specified investment requirements.

This route is only available to those who are 18 years of age or above and as such, applicants are required to provide a criminal record certificate.

The main requirement of a Tier 1 (Investor) visa is that the applicant must have access to funds available to the sum of £2 million. The applicant must be able to successfully demonstrate that the funds are:

  1. under the control of the applicant;
  2. held in a regulated financial institution; and
  3. disposable in the UK

Due to the amount of funds required to make a successful application, the applicant must be able to clearly demonstrate the origin and source of the investment funds.

The requirements state that the applicant must have access to the sum of funds however, the funds can be owned jointly or solely by the applicant’s partner. If this is the case, ample evidence must be provided by the applicant to demonstrate that they are permitted to utilise the funds for the purpose of making an investment in the UK. In order to successfully evidence permission, the applicant’s partner must provide the necessary documentation.

In addition to having access to the investment funds, the applicant must be able to evidence that the funds were held in a regulated financial institution for 90 consecutive days prior to the date of submitting the application.

If an application for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa is successful, the applicant will be granted leave valid for three years and four months following which an extension can be sought for a further two year period.

Contact us today for a detailed, professional and friendly discussion on how to make a successful Tier 1 (Investor) visa application.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

The main requirement of a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa surrounds the funding available for investment. Applicants can rely on funds to the sum of £200,000 of either their own funds or funds provided by a third party.

Alternatively, applicant to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if they hold £50,000 from an FCA registered UK venture capital firm, a UK seed funding competition, or from a UK government department.

Holding the relevant funds will allow the applicant to score 75 points however, the total score required to successfully obtain a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is 95 points. A further 10 points can be obtained by demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the English language by:

  1. being a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  2. passing an English language test equivalent to Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference; or
  3. holding a degree which was taught in English and is also equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree

An applicant is also required to evidence maintenance funds in order to score the final 10 points. The maintenance required is to the sum of £3,310 for an entry clearance application or alternatively £945, if the application is made from within the UK. The maintenance requirement increases depending upon how many dependants there are to the application. If an application for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is successful, the applicant will be granted leave valid for three years and four months following which an extension can be sought for a further two year period.

For further information on the documentation required to make a successful application, contact us and our immigration specialists can provide guidance on the mandatory supporting documentation.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

This visa category, which is also commonly referred to as a Sole Representative visa, is available for those who wish to enter the UK as a representative of an already established business overseas. The main purpose of this visa is to allow a representative to set up a branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK and is deemed by most to be a desirable entry route to the UK.

It is important to note that an applicant cannot make an application under this visa category if he/she owns more than 50% of the shares within the overseas business and as such, the applicant cannot be a majority shareholder. The business to be undertaken in the UK must be the same as the main business overseas as the whole purpose of this category is merely to set up a branch in the UK.

The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the overseas business is successfully trading and that the applicant, at the time of making the application, is a senior employee. In addition, the applicant must be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language by:

  1. being a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  2. passing an English language test equivalent to Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference; or
  3. holding a degree which was taught in English and is also equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they will be able to maintain themselves and any dependants without any recourse to public funds and as such, applicants must be able to provide the relevant financial documents as evidence of satisfying this requirement. If an application for a Sole Representative visa is successful, the applicant will be granted leave valid for three years following which an extension can be sought for a further two year period.

Contact us if intend to submit an application for a Sole Representative visa and our immigration specialists will discuss the requirements and supporting documents with you in detail.

Please call us on 020 3372 5125 or get an online consultation




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