Tier 1 - Highly Skilled Visas for Investors and Entrepreneurs

Applications under Tier 1 include highly skilled migrants, entrepreneurs, investors, graduate students and their dependants.

The United Kingdom’s Tier 1 visa immigration scheme is part of the points based system for employment-based immigration.

Entering the UK with a Tier 1 visa means you do not need a job offer or a sponsor. These visas are valid for three years, at which stage you will have to renew your visa. 

This Tier is divided into two main categories:

Entrepreneurs & Investors

Individuals who plan to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over a business, and being actively involved in running the business can come to the UK under and entrepreneur visa. At least £200,000 of disposable income is required to qualify. Dependants need to show maintenance and the English language requirements must be satisfied.

Wealthy individuals who plan to substantially invest in the UK can qualify for the investor visa. At least £2m of disposable income is needed but investors are exempt from the English language requirement and do not need to prove they can support themselves and their dependants.


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, spouses, civil partners, same sex partners and unmarried partners.

Dependants of migrants in the highly skilled Tier 1 will be able to work in the UK as well. However, they will not be able to switch into any points system tier other than as a dependant of the main applicant to switch.

The Points Based System

In each category of Tier 1, points will be earned according to qualifications, age, experience, English language ability and maintenance requirements.

Becoming a British Citizen

Migrants will be required to reach the pass mark for each of the criteria above in order to gain entry under Tier 1 and to remain in the UK when seeking renewal of their Tier 1 visa after three years.

It is important to note that if your application is refused there is no right of appeal, therefore we highly recommend using one of our experienced immigration lawyers to ensure that your application has a greater chance of success.

If you wish to extend your stay under Tier 1, renewals are granted for an additional period to enable you to reach five years residence in the UK. After five years, most people may apply for settlement/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 score enough points again as well as satisfying all requirements for their category.

Please call our immigration lawyers on 020 8952 1587 for your free initial assessment.


Enquiry Form

or call us on
+44 (0)20 8952 1587