Tier 1 Entrepreneur – what is the Genuine Entrepreneur test and how to pass it

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has one of the highest refusal rates out of all UK visa applications. One of the most frequent reasons for refusal is the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ test. To pass this test you must convince the Home Office that:

  • you genuinely intend to invest the money into the business or businesses you intend to establish, take over or join;
  • the money is genuinely available to you and will remain available to you until such time as it is spent for the purposes of your business or businesses;
  • if you are relying on one or more previous investments to score points, that you have genuinely invested all or part of the investment funds; and
  • you do not intend to take employment in the United Kingdom other than working in your business.

In assessing the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ assessment the Home Office will take into account the following:

  • the evidence that you submit;
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money;
  • the viability and credibility of your business plan and market research of your chosen business sector;
  • your previous educational and business experience (or lack thereof);
  • your immigration history and previous activity in the UK;
  • where you have already registered in the UK as self-employed or as the director of a business, and the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained;
  • any other relevant information (depending on the business type and individual applicant).

The focus in the Home Office assessment is on the business plan submitted for the application and the applicant’s skills and experience to run the chosen business. The business plan has to show in depth market research, knowledge of competitors (not only a few major ones) and include financial forecasts for at least 3 years. The Home Office tends to test applicant’s knowledge of the business plan during an interview. Frequently, applicants underestimate the preparation for this interview and unfortunately generic knowledge of the business plan is not sufficient to pass the interview. The Home Office tends to ask detailed questions about the market research, the chosen location for the business, the competitors and the financials (e.g. turnover, net profit, expenses, number of staff and salaries). Attention to detail and thorough preparation for interview are crucial for successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur application.

The note reflects legal position and is for general information purposes only and does not aim to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. We accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Carter Lemon Camerons immigration team. The specialist team at Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors can assist you with all immigration and business-related matters. Our years of expertise in these areas mean that we can provide tailored solutions for you. For more details, please contact our immigration team at immigration@cartercamerons.com or +44 (0)20 7406 1000.