Obtaining an Entrepreneur Visa to Enter the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The UK previously held numerous colonies around the world and as such there is a strong British influence in many other nations’ languages, cultures, and legal and government systems. As the sixth largest economy in the world and a member of NATO, G8, G20, and the World Trade Organization, the UK is uniquely situated to offer a wide variety of investment opportunities to foreign nationals.
There are multiple investment-based immigration options to choose from in the UK, ranging from temporary visas to UK permanent residence. One option is the Prospective Entrepreneur Visa (PEV).
Requirements for the PEV
The PEV immigration category is reserved for visitors who are nationals of non-European countries. The purpose of this visa is to allow a prospective entrepreneur to secure funding in order to join, create, or acquire, and play an active role in running a business that is physically located in the UK. The amount of proposed funding must be £50,000 or more.
To do so, the prospective entrepreneur must be able to show that at least one of the following organizations supports the entrepreneur’s visa application and is considering financially backing the business:
(1) At least one venture capitalist firm that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
(2) At least one UK entrepreneurial funding competition that is endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment website
(3) At least one of the government departments of the UK
In addition, the prospective entrepreneur must confirm that the entrepreneur plans to complete at least one of the following business-related activities during the authorized stay in the UK:
(1) Attend a business-related meeting or conference (though these appointment may be made once the entrepreneur has arrived in the UK)
(2) Attend trade fairs for promotional work (selling activities are prohibited)
(3) Engaged in business contract negotiations, trade agreements, etc.
(4) Perform fact-finding visits
(5) Purchase or examine goods
(6) Speak at a “one-off” conference which is not put on as a commercial event
(7) Recruit potential future business employees
Finally, the prospective entrepreneur must provide proof of all of the following:
(1) He/she is at least 18 years old
(2) He/she intends to depart the UK at the conclusion of the authorized period of stay provided on the visa
(3) He/she has sufficient funds for support during the entire period of authorized stay
(4) He/she is able to pay for the cost of the departure from the UK
(5) He/she is not in transit to another country that is outside of the Common Travel Area (which includes Ireland, the Isle of Man, the UK, and the Channel Islands)
Importantly, a prospective entrepreneur is prohibited from engaging in any of the following activities:
(1) Engage in compensated or uncompensated employment
(2) Provide services or sell goods
(3) Participate in a course of study
(4) Marry (or register a civil partnership) or give notice of either of the two
(5) Receive privatized medical care
Once the PEV is approved, the entrepreneur may enter the UK to engage in the aforementioned activities. Note that there is no dependent visa available for the entrepreneur’s family spouse or children; these family members will need to obtain a general visitor visa or child visitor visa in order to accompany the entrepreneur.