10 common mistakes in a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension Application

Obtaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a complex process involving forward planning and careful preparation. With the help of an experienced Immigration lawyer to advise and support you through the process, you have every chance of succeeding in your application. Your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa will usually be granted for 3 years and 4 months – and as any business person knows, this time will fly by, so it’s as well to be prepared to make your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension application in good time.
 
Applying to extend your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is as complex as the initial application process; in addition, the Immigration officials who will consider your application will be scrutinising your business activity in the UK since the grant of your initial visa. You must satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur test, and score 75 points under the Extension Applications points table. 
 
As specialist immigration lawyers, we work with many entrepreneurs to ensure they achieve the extension they need to their Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – and we’ve put together a list of 10 common mistakes that may mean your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension application is refused.
 
Mistake 1: Failing to invest the money you committed in your initial application
 
In your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application, you will have confirmed your access either to £50,000 from specific UK sources, or to £200,000 of what are essentially private funds. You must be able to show that you have genuinely invested these funds. This leads us on to 
 
Mistake 2: Failing to record your investment in a way that Immigration officials will recognise
 
You may have made the required investment, but you need to be able to evidence this to the Immigration officials who will consider the application. Don’t forget to record director’s loans correctly, and to show that money has actually been transferred into the business. 
 
Work with a regulated accountant to prepare your accounts and if possible, ask an experienced Immigration lawyer to review your first-year accounts before they are signed off.
 
Mistake 3: Forgetting to complete the appropriate registrations
 
Within 6 months of obtaining your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you must have registered as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs, or register with Companies House as a director of a UK Company or a member of a UK partnership. It’s an administrative process - just make sure it gets done.
 
Mistake 4: Getting the ‘business activity’ requirement wrong
 
If you are applying on the basis of creating a new business, the business will only be considered ‘new’ by Immigration officials if it was established no earlier than 12 months before the date of your initial application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
 
Mistake 5: Not creating the required jobs
 
Job creation is an important aspect of the Entrepreneur Visa. You will need to have created at least 2 jobs which last for at least 12 months. Transitional arrangements are in place if your initial visa was granted before 6th April 2014 which set out different ways to meet the job creation requirement, but these end on 6th April 2019.
 
Mistake 6: Ignoring the specific requirements of the job creation element of the applications
 
If your initial visa was granted on or after 6th April 2014, there are very specific requirements to be met in respect of the jobs that you must create, and the evidence you will need to prove this. UK employment law can be a minefield, so it’s worth working with an Immigration lawyer with experience of UK employment law from the outset, so they can help you get it right.
 
Mistake 7: Not demonstrating enough knowledge to satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur Test
 
This is a subjective assessment and will depend entirely on how the Immigration officials concerned view your application for an extension. You need to be able to demonstrate that you know your business and the market you are working in, inside out. It’s also worth taking time to identify any potential weaknesses and preparing your answers to these questions in advance. Remember that most Immigration officials will have no business experience so what might be obvious to you as a business person may not be obvious to them.
 
Mistake 8: Omitting to supply the required documentation
 
The Home Office guidance on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applications and Extensions explains the extensive documentation you need to supply to satisfy the requirements for an extension to your visa. You need to be meticulous in keeping the necessary documentary evidence as you go, so you are not trying to dig out paperwork at the last minute.
 
Mistake 9: Failing to provide an explanatory letter if your situation is complex 
 
It can speed up your application for an extension to your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application if you submit an explanatory letter setting out how you are claiming points and describing the business you have set up or joined, the investments you have made and the jobs you have created. 
 
Mistake 10: Instructing an experienced Immigration lawyer too late in the process
 
Very often, we are approached late in the process, and as the deadline for the extension application is looming. If you continue to engage with your Immigration advisor once your initial Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa has been granted, they can help you stay on top of what you will need to make the best extension application possible. 
 
For advice and support with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Application or Extension Application, get in touch with our team of specialist immigration lawyers. Centrally based in London, we are highly ranked in the Legal 500 for Immigration matters and have extensive experience dealing with Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applications and extension applications. We are also experienced at handling appeals against negative decisions, and applications for judicial review in Immigration matters. Call us on 0203 959 9123 to book your appointment.
 

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