International: Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

International students may need to apply for this visa if they wish to stay in the country after graduating to set up a business.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa for international students

This is a visa for international students who wish to stay in the UK after graduation to set up their own business.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa category provides international students who are graduating from UK universities with the opportunity to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish a business. For the purpose of UK Immigration Rules, ‘business’ refers to all enterprises: sole-trader, partnership, or company that is registered in the UK.

Who can apply?

Any international (non-EEA) graduates from University of Arts London, who currently have a Tier 4 (general) Student Visa and have been awarded a degree (Undergraduate, MA or PhD).

To apply under this visa category you will need a letter of endorsement from the University. Each year, University of the Arts London will award up to a maximum of 20 places for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The application process is highly competitive and applicants must show entrepreneurial skills and demonstrate that their business idea is genuine and credible.

How do I apply?

Application is via the SEED Fund, the University’s business grant-making programme. Even if you do not need funding support, you are still required to apply for endorsement via the SEED Fund.

You will need to submit the following:

  1. A completed SEED Fund application form including a business plan for a genuine and credible business idea;
  2. A one minute video pitch.

Further details about the SEED Fund, application procedures and the application form are available on the main SEED Fund page.

Please note: that you do not need to have been awarded your degree before submitting an application to the SEED Fund. If your application is successful, visa endorsement will be conditional on you successfully completing your degree. Foundation Degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas are not acceptable qualifications for this scheme.

If you need help and guidance with any of the above, including developing your business idea further before submitting your application for the University’s letter of endorsement, this is available to you via Careers and Employability. Email seed@arts.ac.uk for further information or visit the events & workshops page to find out about upcoming workshops.

We encourage you to look up the SEED Fund deadlines and also seek advice from a Student Adviser (student.advisers@arts.ac.uk). Please ensure you have gone through all relevant information on the UK Visas and Immigration website before making any enquiries.

Please note: the University will check all the information is correct before endorsing your application for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa.

Successful applicants will receive a University of the Arts London letter of endorsement and a unique reference number to support their Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa application. If successful applicants fail to make their application within three months of being allocated their unique reference number will expire and will no longer be valid.

If the visa application is successful then the applicant must engage in a 12 month process of monitoring and support from the University of the Arts London. The University of the Arts London is required to inform the UKBA of any lack of commitment to the business.

What if I want to stay in the UK longer than 12 months?

There is the possibility for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa to be renewed after the initial 12 month period. Applicants wishing to renew their Tier 1 Visa will also require endorsement. The University can endorse an application for renewal if they are satisfied with the progress the applicant has made in establishing their business.

How much does a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa cost?

University of the Arts London does not require payment for the endorsement of its students/alumni. However, the application for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa costs £422 for a postal application, and nationals from Croatia, Turkey and FYR Macedonia have a reduced fee of £367.

Applicants will also need to pay an additional £422 for each additional family member that they wish to live with them in the UK unless they are a child aged 18 years or younger.

If you are unable to make your application from within the UK, you can make a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) application from within your country of residence; Entry Clearance application costs £310 (equivalent amount in the currency of your country of residence). 

A full list of fees payable is available on the UK Government website.

Do I need to apply for my Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa independently?

No, the Student Advice Service can help with the application.