- January 2017 This guidance is for students who have already been selected for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur endorsement by LSE Careers. It is not intended to be used on its own and you should use it in combination with the detailed guidance available on our website. Am I eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa? You may be eligible to apply if: • you have been offered a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur endorsement from the LSE; and • you have been awarded your degree; and • you have not previously been granted a Tier 1 Post Study work / International Graduates Scheme / Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme/ Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme visa; and • your business idea is not primarily focused on property management or property development; and • you can meet the requirements outlined in the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Policy Guidance. Can I apply for the visa from the UK? If you currently hold a valid Tier 4 visa you may apply in the UK but you must ensure that you are able to apply before your current visa expires. The application fee is £465 except for Macedonian and Turkish nationals who will pay £410. If you are currently in the UK but do not have a Tier 4 visa contact ISVAT for advice about whether or not you are permitted to switch to a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Can I apply for the visa from overseas? You can apply from your home country. The application fee is £342 (£287 for Macedonian and Turkish nationals). The application form is online. What is the date of application? If you apply in the UK, the date of application is the date that you post the application to the Home Office. The application form is not currently online so you will need to download, print and fill in a paper form and send it with your passport, current visa and supporting documents. The best way to send the application is by Special Delivery; ensure that you keep the tracking receipt as evidence of your date of application. If you apply online from overseas, the date of application is the date that you submit and pay for the online application (not the date of your visa appointment).
What evidence do I require from LSE? You will need a valid Endorsement letter, which you can request online from Registry. You must submit the original hard copy letter for visa application purposes. Printed pdf or scanned versions will not be accepted. What are the financial requirements? If you are applying in the UK you must show that you have held £945 in an acceptable account in your own name for a consecutive 90 day period which ends within 31 days of the date you post the visa application to the Home Office. If you are applying from your home country you must show that you have held £1890 in an acceptable account in your own name for a consecutive 90 day period which ends within 31 days before the date you submit the online visa application. Please refer to the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Policy Guidance for more information about the financial requirements. How many points do I need and how do I obtain them? 95 points are required in total: • You will get 75 points in total for having been offered an endorsement for a genuine and credible business idea (25 points), having an original valid endorsement letter (25 points) and having been awarded your qualification (25). • 10 points are awarded for meeting the English language requirements (which you will do if you have been awarded your degree) • 10 points are awarded for meeting the financial requirements. Do I need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)? Yes, you will need to pay £200. If you apply in the UK, you will need to pay online before you apply for the visa. You must send a print out of your payment confirmation and IHS number with your visa application. If you apply from your home country, this will be part of the online visa application form. If you fail to pay the IHS, your visa application will be refused.
How long does an application take to be processed?
When can I officially set up my own business?
If you apply for the visa in the UK, the standard processing time is 8 weeks from the date that the payment is accepted.
Self-employment is prohibited on a Tier 4 visa, however once you have submitted an in-time application for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, you are permitted to be self-employed. You do not need to wait for your visa to be granted; you can begin business activities if you have a valid Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa application in progress. This is confirmed in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance in the section titled ‘Self-employment and engaging in business activity’.
If you apply overseas, the standard processing time is approximately 3 weeks but you can get an indication of recent times here. Can I pay for priority service to get the application processed more quickly? If you are applying for the visa in the UK, it is not currently possible to use a priority processing service. If you are applying from your home country, check the priority service eligibility with your local visa application centre. Can you help me with my application? Yes. If you are applying from the UK, please contact us if you would like an appointment to check through your application form and supporting documents before you apply. You must have prepared all documents in advance of the appointment so that we can check and advise accordingly. If you are applying from you home country, contact us for advice using our online query form. Where can I find the full guidance for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur? Please refer to the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Policy Guidance. Could my application be refused and what does this mean? It is not possible to guarantee that a visa application will be successful. If you do not meet the requirements for the visa, your application will be refused which is why it is very important that you read the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Policy Guidance and contact us if you have questions after reading the guidance. If your application is refused, please contact us immediately for advice. How long will the visa be granted for? The visa will be granted for one year only. It is not possible to apply for a different duration of visa. Can the visa be extended? After your first year, you can apply for one year extension on Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur subject to the agreement from Generate in Careers. This will depend on how your business plan progressed in the initial year on Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur. The LSE will need to be confident that you correctly used the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa for its intended purpose and that you engaged with the school as required. Please note that it is only possible to spend a maximum of two years on this visa.
Am I permitted to supplement my income by working for another employer whist setting up my own business? Yes, work is permitted however your main focus should be your business. If it appeared that a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa was being used for the primary purpose of working for another employer rather than for developing a business in the UK, the visa could be affected. Can I study whilst on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa? Study is permitted but again you should ensure that your main focus is developing your business. Can my visa be cancelled? If you do not use the visa for its intended purpose or if you do not comply with the conditions of the visa, the LSE will inform the Home Office which will result in the visa being curtailed (cancelled). How will the LSE monitor my progress? Monitoring will be carried out by the Generate Team in Careers and also by the Registry (as they are responsible for immigration compliance). You will be required to remain in contact with the Generate Team throughout your visa and you will need to submit reports to show how your business plan is progressing. You will receive further information about this from each team if you are offered an endorsement. Is it possible to switch to another visa type after Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur? If you wish to continue developing your business in the UK, you may want to consider applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. You should note that you will need to show that you have access to at least £50,000 in investment funds for the business if you apply to switch from a Graduate Entrepreneur visa. If you no longer wish to continue with the business but have been offered employment, you may be able to switch to Tier 2. Applying for further visas beyond the Graduate Entrepreneur is not something that we can provide detailed advice about so you would need to seek advice externally about such options. You can find regulated immigration advisers at OISC and ILPA.
For further immigration advice contact the ISVAT team online.