VISA CATEGORIES

The UK has over 30 different visa categories, designed to suit the needs of anyone who wishes to relocate. 

 

For entrepreneurs, there are several options to choose from - all with a range of benefits and requirements. There are also a number of routes for high net-worth investors, academics and industry leaders. Whether you are a prospective visa applicant or a UK-based business looking to see how immigration can benefit you, we've created this simple guide to help you cut through the noise.

T1 (Investor)


Who is it for? T1 (investor) is a visa route designed for high-net-worth individuals who wish to bring money to the UK, but not to have day-to-day involvement with the running of a company. Requirements You must have access to at least £2 million in investment funds to apply. The money can belong to either you or your partner. The funds you rely on must be held in 1 or more regulated financial institutions and disposable in the UK. You also require a UK bank account to proceed. How do you apply? Applications will be submitted overseas. A separate online application form will be required for you and for each family member. In addition to the online forms, each of you will need to attend a visa appointment to provide biometric information, and to submit a bundle of supporting evidence to prove that you can meet the Immigration Rules.




Innovator


Who is it for? The Innovator route is described by the Home Office as a route which caters to ‘experienced businesspeople seeking to establish an innovative business in the UK.’ Requirements Proposed business must be: -Innovative -Viable -Scalable All applicants, at the initial, further leave, and settlement stages must have been endorsed by an approved endorsing body for their application. The minimum financial investment for this visa route is £50,000. A new business or a new joint venture with a resident company or entrepreneur must work full time in the business. More than one endorsement per project is possible. How do you apply? Applications will normally be submitted overseas. A separate online application form will be required for you and for each family member. In addition to the online forms, each of you will need to attend a visa appointment to provide biometric information, and to submit a bundle of supporting evidence to prove that you can meet the Immigration Rules. To find out more about the Innovator route, check out our video below:




Invest in a business and become a sponsored Worker


Who is it for? Entry and residence in the UK based on sponsorship by an existing UK company, which is licensed by the Home Office to employ overseas staff. Requirements UK business must first be approved for a sponsor licence; this involves a compliance process and online application. Once licensed, the business can apply for and issue certificates of sponsorship to staff – the process differs depending on whether they are applying from the UK or abroad. There must be a genuine vacancy, the role must be at a minimum skill level, and must pay a minimum salary. Visas are issued based on a point-scoring calculation; a minimum of 50 mandatory points + 20 “tradeable” points must be scored. Since December 2020 there has been no restriction on shareholding for the employee In order to receive this endorsement, the applicant must first submit a number of documents including a portfolio of work; a detailed resume and supporting statement; and three or more letters of reccommendation from their peers. How do I apply? Applications will normally be submitted overseas. A separate online application form will be required for you and for each family member. In addition to the online forms, each of you will need to attend a visa appointment to provide biometric information, and to submit a bundle of supporting evidence to prove that you can meet the Immigration Rules.




Sole Representative of an Overseas Business


The Sole Representative Visa is not strictly an entrepreneurial route - it is mainly intended for overseas companies who wish to expand their operations to the UK. Who is it For? A 'Sole Representative' refers to an employee of a company (not a majority shareholder) who wishes to launch a branch or subsidiary of the business in the UK. They do not have to be a long-serving member of staff; as long as the company has good reason to launch in the UK, they may employ someone specifically for the purpose of launching the business in the UK. Requirements The employee must have been recruited overseas, but no minimum period of employment is needed prior to visa application. Neither the applicant nor their partner (if they plan to join them) can be a majority shareholder in the overseas business – 50% is acceptable though. The overseas business must continue to trade and must be able to justify through a business plan its decision to set up a UK operation. Factors such as turnover, profitability, number of overseas employees will be considered. There must be a cogent business case for establishment in the UK, and the UK entity must also be doing the same type of business as the overseas parent company. How do I apply? Applications will normally be submitted overseas. A separate online application form will be required for you and for each family member. In addition to the online forms, each of you will need to attend a visa appointment to provide biometric information, and to submit a bundle of supporting evidence to prove that you can meet the Immigration Rules. To find out more about the Sole Representative route, check out our video below: