The Home Office has published guidance entitled 'Reducing common errors in Tier 1 (entrepreneur) applications' in an effort to reduce the number of visa refusals under that category. The common errors identified by the Home Office include:

Failure to provide the right specified documents

  • The guidance refers applicants back to the policy guidance and the checklist at the back of the application forms. The Home Office confirms that it will not accept any other documents submitted outside the specified guidance.

For those switching into the entrepreneur route from the post study work category

  • Evidence of contracts and advertisements must be submitted to show operation of the business;
  • It must be shown that the service the business offers relates to an occupation equivalent to level 4 or above of the National Qualification Framework (NQF).  

Failure to provide proof of funds already invested

  • Business accounts must be submitted; and
  • Director's loan or share certificates if applicable.

The business not meeting the definition of a UK business

  • Documents must be submitted to show a UK based company has been created – eg UK bank account, subject to the UK tax regime.  

For those relying on third party funds

  • Documents submitted when relying on third party funds must be as specified by the policy guidance, ie declaration in its correct form, including all the required information specified.

For those applying as part of an entrepreneurial team

  • If relying on the same funds, evidence demonstrating that both applicants have equal access to invested funds.  

Failure to meet the English language requirement

  • Ensure applicants sit an approved test and the certificate is still within the validity period. (NB: there are new documentation requirements for English language tests. For more information, click here).

Failure to meet the maintenance requirement

  • To ensure bank statements show requisite funds for the appropriate period prior to the application date.  

Proving you are a genuine entrepreneur

  • Applicants may be asked to prove that they are a genuine entrepreneur in person through an interview. They will be asked about their background, finances and how they intend to run a business. For more information on the interview, see our recent case study here.

While the new guidance highlights the common errors, it does not provide additional tips as it simply refers to the information already available. Therefore applicants should refer to the immigration rules in the first instance when making their applications to ensure they are successful.