Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Students setting up a business in the UK

On 6 April 2012 a new Tier 1 visa, Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), was introduced for students who have developed world class innovative ideas and want to stay in the UK to develop their business.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route is for those identified by UK universities as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, but who are not in a position to meet the requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.

  • All applicants must be sponsored by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) which is a Highly Trusted Sponsor with the UK Border Agency
  • The HEI identifies the strongest candidates
  • Successful applicants are granted 12 months initially, with an option to extend for 12 months provided the HEI is satisfied with their progress
  • They are expected to spend the majority of their time developing their business, but may work up to 20 hours per week to support themselves
  • Successful applicants can sponsor dependants
  • Time spent in the UK in this category does not count towards permanent residency; however, applicants may move into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) with an investment of £50,000 (versus £200,000)
  • From April 6th 2013 applications can be made from overseas if within 12 months of graduation.


The documentary evidence of your points must meet specific requirements. These are laid out in the Policy Guidance for the relevant type of Tier 1 visa.

Other types of Tier 1 visas: