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Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) - FAQs


What is Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur?

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur is the route for graduates to set up a business in the UK.
Only institutions approved by the Home Office can endorse their graduates for this visa. Lancaster University is one of the approved institutions and has been granted the maximum number of endorsements (20 From April 2014 until April 2015). A list of approved institutions can be found here:

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to:

  • Graduates who completed their Lancaster University degree in the last 12 months.
  • Current students completing their degree in the 2014/2015 academic session. You will be able to apply after being awarded.
  • Your course of study must be a degree such as Bachelors, Masters or PhD. Diplomas and certificates are not accepted.
  • Post-doctoral researcher working at Lancaster under Tier 2 with a degree from a UK institution (not necessarily from Lancaster, and the completion date could be any time before the endorsement).

You must agree to bide by the terms of your visa and you will remain sponsored by the University for the duration of your visa.


How do I apply?

Your application takes 2 stages:

  • Apply for an endorsement from Lancaster University. You can download an application pack here. You will have to answer some questions, agree to terms and conditions and submit your business plan. The University will then judge whether your business plan is genuine and credible and, if you are successful, will agree to endorse you.  If you submit your application for endorsement before you have been awarded your degree, any endorsement will be conditional on you successfully completing your degree. Please send us your business plan as soon as you can and we will work with you to improve it. If your business plan needs work we will not reject your application straight away but will help you develop your business idea into a genuine viable business proposal. Please spend time thinking about the following.
    • Who are your customers and who are your competitors? What makes your business idea special?

    • How much will it cost to set up the business? How will you support yourself and manage your cashflow before you start making money?

    • How much will it cost to produce your goods or services and how much will you charge? What are your fixed costs? What is your break even point i.e. how much will you have to sell before you start making money?

  • After you have been issued an endorsement from the University and have successfully completed your degree, you can make a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa application.  You must make this application within 3 months of the date the endorsement was issued. You will need to show money in your account for this. As well as paying for the visa application itself, you will need to show £900 (if you are already in the UK and applying for leave to remain) or £1,800 (if you are applying from outside the UK). These funds need to be in the account FOR 90 DAYS. Please note that if you have been financially sponsored by a Government or an international scholarship agency for your programme of study then you must provide a letter confirming the sponsor’s unconditional consent for you to remain in the UK. This letter must be submitted with your visa application.


For the Home Office's full guidance on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) see:


Can my immediate family apply as my dependants under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route?

Yes they can. Please find PBS dependants application form via the link below.


Can I do any paid work while on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa?

Yes. There are no restrictions on the hours worked while on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, and you may be self employed, but your main activities should be in relation to the business that you are setting up. You will not be able to work as a doctor or dentist in training, or as a professional sport person or sports coach.




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