Tier 1 Visas
- Currently on a Tier 1 Visa? We can help with Tier 1 Extensions!
- Call the London Office on +44 (0)344 991 9222 for a Tier 1 consultation or appointment.
Same day UK Visa application - Call us on 0344 991 9222Some UK visas can take months to be processed by UK Immigration. Or you may have to attend in person at the public enquiry office.
We work with OISC registered organisations and, if you are already in the UK, can submit your visa application and get it processed on the same day! Call our London office on 0344 991 9222 for further details.
Updated January 2013
The United Kingdom's Tier 1 visa immigration scheme is part of the five tier points based visa system for immigration to the UK. Tier 1 visas are for eligible entrepreneurs, investors, and for the very small number of people who can come under the 'Exceptional Talent' visa category. The various Tier 1 visa categories replaced similar immigration schemes in early 2008.
We would remind you that, if you stay in the UK legally for five years or more, you may be eligible to apply for settlement; also known as indefinite leave to remain. Call us on 0344 991 9222 for further information..
Who Can Apply?
Tier 1 is broken up into a number of sub-categories:
Tier 1 Entrepreneurs – Investment required: £50,000 - £200,000
If you are a foreign businessman from outside the EU and would like to run your own business in the UK, you should seriously consider the UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.
If you wish to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over a business or by becoming a part-owner of a UK business, you can come to the UK under the Entrepreneur sub-category of Tier 1. Please be aware that you must be actively involved in the running of the business.
In order to qualify, you must score at least 95 points under the Tier 1 points-based system.
You will score points as follows
|having access to at least £200,000 of disposable capital||25 points|
|Having at least £50,000 from||25 points|
|Having access to at least £50,000 and also a Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur)visa.||25 points|
|The funds are held in a regulated financial institution||25 points|
|The funds are disposable||25 points|
|You can speak English to the required standard||10 points|
|You have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK||10 points|
Tier 1 Investors – Investment required: £1,000,000 minimum
If you are a wealthy individual and wish to live in the UK, you should consider the Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
In order to qualify, you must score 75 points under the Tier 1 points-based system
You will score 75 points for one of the following
• If you have at least £1,000,000 of disposable funds that you can invest in the UK or
• If you have £2,000,000 or more in personal assets and a loan of over £1,000,000 which you can invest in the UK.
Investors are exempt from both the English language requirement and the requirement to provide further proof of the ability to support themselves and any dependants.
Tier 1 - Exceptional Talent
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa allows you to live and work in the UK if you have an exceptional talent in the arts or sciences.
In order to qualify, you must score 75 points under the Tier 1 points-based system.
You will score 75 points if you gain the endorsement of a 'Designated Competent Body' which will need to certify either that you are internationally recognised as a world leader in your field or that you are someone with the potential to be so. There are only four Designated Competent Bodies. They are national societies for the arts and sciences. It is extremely difficult to qualify for a visa in this category. Only 1, 000 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas can be issued in any one year. You do not need a job offer or a sponsor in order to be successful and are free to seek employment anywhere in the UK. You must score 75 points under the Tier 1 points-based system for their application to be successful.
Tier 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur
The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category enables graduates who have been identified by a UK university as possessing world class entrepreneurial skills to apply to stay in the UK after graduation.
In order to qualify, you must score 95 points under the Tier 1 points-based system
Tier 1 - Post-Study Work – CLOSED
The Tier 1 Post-Study Work sub-category was created to allow foreign students who have studied in the UK (under the Tier 4 student visa system) to live and work in the UK following graduation for two years without the need for a sponsor. However, this scheme was officially closed on 6 April 2012.
The Points Based System
In each category of Tier 1, points are earned according to three sets of criteria:
- Criteria specific to each category, such as age and past experience.
- English language ability.
- Maintenance funds. Migrants need to show that they have sufficient funds for their stay in the UK. You must show that you have the following maintenance funds:
Tier 1 visa
|Tier 1 applicants - entry clearance||£3,100|
|Tier 1 applicants - already in the UK||£900|
|Dependents of Tier 1 applicants who have been in the UK for less than 12 months||£1,800|
|Dependents of Tier 1 applicants - all other applications||£600|
Tier 1 (Investor) migrants do not need to meet the maintenance funds requirement. It is felt that someone who has £1,000,000 available to invest in the UK will have more than sufficient funds to pay the living expenses for themselves and their family.
Other Tier 1 migrants will be required to reach the pass mark for each of the criteria above in order to gain entry to the UK and will be required to prove that they can meet them again when seeking renewal of their Tier 1 visa.
Documentary evidence showing a migrant's ability to claim sufficient points will be required. As per the Immigration and Asylum Act of 2006, migrants applying from abroad will have no right of appeal when denied entry, so it is important to make sure this documentation is in order.
Renewal of Leave Under Tier 1
Tier 1 - General Although the Tier 1 (General) category was closed to new applicants on 5th April 2011, if you already have a Tier 1 (General) visa granted before that date you may be eligible to apply for a Tier 1 (General) extension. Also, you may apply for a Tier 1(General) extension if you are already in the UK in a category that has been closed but which permits switching into Tier 1 (General). This includes some people who were previously on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) and those visa holders who previously had 'leave to remain' in the following visa categories: writers, composers, artists, and self-employed lawyers; These visa categories are now closed for new applicants apart from the HSMP which is still open to Bulgarians and Romanians only.
Subsequent renewals of leave under the Investor, Entrepreneur, and Exceptional Talent sub-categories can be granted for two years for eligible visa holders. It is not possible to apply for an extension of stay under the Post-Study Work sub-category. Individuals in the UK under the Post-Study Work sub-category, if they wish to remain in the UK, are required to switch to another sub-category or a different tier.
After five years, you may apply for settlement; also known as indefinite leave to remain. However, time spent under the Tier 1 Post-Study Work category does not count towards the five-year requirement to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
There are certain requirements and restrictions when renewing a Tier 1 visa. Migrants must apply for the same sub-category under which they originally applied and must be able to demonstrate that they are still able to pass the points-based test for that category.
Entrepreneurs must show that an investment in business has been made and registration of the business was undertaken within three months of entry. Business Immigrants must be actively engaged in the business and have created at least 2 full time job positions which have lasted for at least 12 months.
Investors must show that £750,000 was invested within three months of entry and that the investment has been maintained throughout the period of leave.ve.
Migrants granted leave in the UK under Tier 1 will be able to bring their dependants provided they can support them during their stay. Dependants include children under 18 years of age, spouses, civil partners, same sex partners, and unmarried partners.
Previous immigration categoriesThe immigration categories below closed on 29 June 2008. If you currently have permission to stay in the UK in one of these categories and you want to extend your stay, you must apply under one of the Tier 1 categories listed above. If you have been in the UK for 5 years or more under one of these closed categories, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK.
- General Highly Skilled Migrants
- The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)
- Writers, Composers and Artists
- The International Graduates Scheme
- Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme