Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa is intended for recent graduates who want to set up a business in the UK.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is for graduates identified by their university as having developed an innovative business idea or entrepreneurial skill to establish one or more businesses in the UK. 

Under this route recent graduates must be sponsored by either a UK Higher Education Institution or by UK Trade and Investment (a government department) under their Sirius Programme.  Aston has successfully applied to be a sponsor and we currently have 20 sponsored visas to offer until April 2017. 

To see the kind of businesses other graduates have started, click this link http://www.educationuk.org/global/sub/international-graduate-entrepreneurs/

The University's rules and procedures for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme can be found in our  Policy Guidance which we urge all students to read before applying for this visa.  

The University expects all students on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme to adhere by these rules and regulations and to keep the University updated throughout their leave as a Graduate Entrepreneur migrant.

As part of your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurr visa application you will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).  This will cost £200 for every year that your new visa will last and £100 for every period of up to 6 months that your new visa will last.  You will be asked to pay this fee as part of your online application and you do not need to register to do this separately.  Your visa adviser will be able to help you with this when you are ready to submit your application.  There are plans to increase the Immigration Health Surcharge later this year to £400 per 12 months (£200 per 6 months).  We do not know yet when the new fees will be inroduced.

Aston University students interested in applying for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa must first be accepted onto the BSEEN, new start-up business project run at Aston University.  Please note that your business idea must be assessed by the BSEEN panel as being genuine and credible and you must be applying to set your business up in the West Midlands area.  If you would like to know more about BSEEN including how to apply please go to www.b-seen.biz.

Once accepted onto BSEEN, you must then apply for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.  You will need to be issued with an endorsement from Aston University which you will need to apply for the visa. 

You must have been awarded your degree in order to apply for the visa so you must wait until you have your final results.  You no longer need to have been awarded your degree within the last 12 months on the date we issue you with an endorsement so you may be able to use a previous UK degree and apply earlier. Please discuss this with an Adviser in The Hub. 

What points do I need?

You must get 95 points as follows:

25 Points -  Valid endorsement from Aston University.

25 Points -  The endorsement confirms that you and your business idea have been assessed and considered to be genuine and credible.

25 Points -  For having been awarded your degree.

10 Points -  English language requirement (having an endorsement will satisfy this requirement).

10 Points -  Maintenance - £945 every day for a 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before you apply for the visa (outside the UK you will need to show £1890 for the 90 day period). 

You can either apply for Tier 1 GE visa whilst you are in the UK with a student, or Tier 4, visa or you can apply overseas, but you will need to show a higher maintenance amount.

The visa application fee is £474 in the UK or £349 overseas but this is due to increase to £493 in the UK and £363 overseas for applications made on or after 6th April 2018. 

Please note: if you have previously held a Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa, an International Graduate Scheme (IGS) visa, a Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (SEGS) visa, or a Fresh Talent (Working in Scotland) visa you will unfortunately not be eligible to apply for the T1GE visa.

How long will the visa be granted for?

Successful applicants will be granted a 12 month visa.  There is the possibility of applying for a second 12 month visa if the business is making satisfactory progress and Aston University agrees to continue sponsoring you.

Working on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa

Although you will be expected to spend most of your time setting up the business, the work conditions of this visa allow you to take employment.  The number of hours a week you can work is unrestricted. You are not allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson (including work as a sports coach).

According to the Immigration Rules, if you applied for your Tier 4 Student visa on or after 13 December 2012 you are allowed to begin work on your new business as soon as you have applied for your Tier 1 GE visa; whilst you are waiting for a decision. You will not be caught by the normal rule that stops Tier 4 students being self-employed.  If you applied for your Tier 4 Student visa before 13 December 2012 you should wait until the Home Office has granted you permission to stay under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur). This is because you remain subject to your student work conditions until your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) leave has been granted and student conditions prohibit self-employment. 

Time spent on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will not count towards settlement in the UK after 5 years in work related categories.

For assistance with your Tier 1 GE visa application and to discuss the 95 points you will need, please contact an International Student Adviser at astoninternational@aston.ac.uk, For UKVI information please click here.

How much money will I need to show?

If you want to apply for this visa in the UK you will need to show that you have had £945 available to you every day for a 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before you apply for the visa. 

If you apply outside the UK you must show that you have had £1890 available to you every day for a 90 day period ending no more than  31 days before you apply for the visa. 

What other documents do I need?

As a general rule you will need the following documents but please see an Adviser in The Hub for a detailed personalised list.

  • Passport(s)  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­         

  • Biometric Residence Permit - if you have one    

  • IHS Reference Number (NHS Surcharge reference no)                   

  • 2 colour identical passport photos taken within the last month with your name on the back

  • Police Registration Certificate - if you are required to register with the Police 

  • Endorsement letter from Aston University  

  • Personal Bank Statement in your name showing at least £945 (£1890 if applying outside the UK) throughout a 90 day period which ends no more than 31 days before you apply.  

  • Letter from official sponsor ­giving consent for the application - if you have an official financial sponsor

Last checked and updated 22/03/2018 LB




Anyone interested in applying for this visa must first be accepted onto the BSEEN, new start-up business project run at Aston University.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

For highly skilled migrants already in the UK, or wishing to come to the UK, to set up or take over a UK business