Page:Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme

Last modified: 11/04/2018

This Tier 1 visa will enable successful applicants to remain in the UK to set up in business for a maximum period of 2 years. The University has been allocated 20 places by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) for the period until 5 April 2019. In order to apply under this category you need to be 'endorsed' by the University as well as meet some other criteria. You will need to show that you have a genuine and credible business idea.

You will need to have been awarded your degree and have £945 (plus £630 for each dependant) in your account for 90 days in order to be eligible for the scheme. If successful you will be initially granted a visa of 12 months with a further extension of 12 months. During this period you will be able to focus on developing your business idea and will also be allowed to work full time hours to support yourself.

It will be possible to apply under this scheme from outside the UK, as long as you have been awarded a UK degree. You will need to show £1,890 if you apply outside the UK.

In order to get the further 12 months endorsement you will need to undergo an assessment by the University to confirm whether you have made satisfactory progress with your business idea.  Further details on the process and deadlines is here.

How do I apply for an endorsement?

You should  contact University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) to discuss your business idea in the first instance. Each year USE will set a deadline date for applications, this could be June 2018 for this year's endorsements, date will be confirmed by USE. The University will assess your business plan and will only endorse the best applications. If all of the 20 endorsements are not used they may re-open applications later in the year. 

If you are a PhD student you may may also want to consider the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme which also allows you to set up in business.  You can apply for the Tier 1 GES after holding the Tier 4 DES visa.

How do I apply for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa?

1. First you must get an endorsement from the University (see above). If USE are happy with your business idea you will be asked to attend the Student Advice Centre for an immigration eligibility check before the endorsement letter is produced.

2. You then need to have been awarded your degree. This means if you are an undergraduate you can apply for your Tier 1 GES visa  in July or if you are a Masters student in late November/early December. 

3. You will need to show you have maintained £945 funds in your bank account for 90 days preceding the application.

4. If you apply for entry clearance outside the UK you need not have studied in the UK with Tier 4 or other student immigration permission.

5. You can access the forms here. The application fee for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applications in the UK £465. The entry clearance fee is £342.  You must also pay an immigration healthcare charge before you can submit your visa application.

What help can I get with my application?

 If you receive an endorsement you can get a one-to-one check of your visa application at the Student Advice Centre.