Living in the UK as a business owner is an excellent way to access the European market. There are many benefits to setting up a business in the UK, including the country’s pro-business environment, skilled workforce, and world-class infrastructure.
However, you need to know the various visa options available to you as a foreign businessman to ensure your compliance with UK immigration law.
What Visa Do You Need?
There are different visas for business people depending on what type of business you plan to do in the UK.
1. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
This graduate entrepreneur visa UK is for individuals who UK universities or the UK government have endorsed as having entrepreneurial talent.
You are eligible to apply if:
- You are endorsed by a UK university or the Department for International Trade (DIT)
- You are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- You meet the other eligibility requirements
You can stay in the country for one year on this visa if your application is successful. You may extend it for another year if you can show that your business is making progress.
2. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is for people who want to set up or run a business in the UK. The following are the basic requirements:
- Have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to invest in your business
- Be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- Meet the other eligibility requirements
Its validity is until three years and four months, which you can extend for another two years.
3. Standard Visitor Visa for Business People
If you’re planning to go to the UK for business purposes such as attending meetings or conferences, you need to apply for a standard visitor visa. This visa is valid for six months and can be extended for another six months if necessary.
You need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay and that you have a return ticket booked. You may also need to provide evidence of your business activities in the UK.
4. Exceptional Talent Visa (Tier 1) or Global Talent Visa
In February 2020, the UK replaced the Exceptional Talent Visa with the Global Talent Visa.
If you’re an internationally recognized talent in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, or digital technology, you may be eligible for this visa. A designated competent body should endorse you before you can apply.
The validity is up to five years and allows you to live and work in the UK without restrictions.
5. Investor visa (Tier 1)
The business visa is for high net worth individuals who want to invest at least £2 million in the UK. The money must be invested in UK government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
Its validity is three years and four months (if living outside the UK) or three years (if living inside the country), and can be extended for another two years. After five years, you may be qualified to remain in the UK as long as you want.
6. Innovator Visa (Tier 1)
The innovator visa is for experienced entrepreneurs with an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea. You need to be endorsed by a designated competent body before applying. In most cases, you need at least £50,000 to be qualified or have already invested such an amount of money.
It is valid for three years, and you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years.
7. Start-up Visa (Tier 1)
If you have a new and innovative business idea, you may be eligible for a start-up visa. You should have had at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.
You can stay up to two years in the country, which doesn’t have an extension. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for another type of visa.
8. Other Visas
The following are the other types of visas available for businessmen:
- Tier 5 Temporary Worker
- Creative and Sporting Visa
- Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
You have to remember that like a tier 2 skilled worker visa UK, these business visas also have validity and refusal. In other words, no visa is guaranteed. The best way to get a visa is to consult an immigration lawyer.
Starting a business in the UK requires sufficient money to support yourself and your business. The minimum amount of funds you need depends on the type of visa you’re applying for.
On top of these, you need to hire a law firm to help represent your case. Ensure they have experience in this area.