Would you like to start a business after your UK studies?


Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (GE) is a visa route within the Points Based System (PBS) for UK graduates who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or the Department for International Trade (DIT) as having developed genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills to establish one or more businesses in the UK.

The enterprise can be as a sole trader, a partnership or a company registered in the UK.

There is an annual cap on the total number of Tier 1 (GE) endorsements that can be made, known as the ‘Tier 1 (GE) Limit’. The Tier 1 (GE) Limit is 2,000 places per year (beginning on 6 April in one year and ending on 5 April in the following year), which are distributed as follows:

  • 1,900 places are allocated to qualifying HEIs

  • 100 places are allocated to the DIT

To be eligible for switching into Tier 1 (GE) in the UK, applicants have to currently be in one of the following visa categories:

  • Tier 4 Student

  • Tier 1 (GE)

  • Tier 2 (General); an applicant who has, or was last granted, leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant must have permission to work as a post-doctoral researcher for the same institution which is endorsing their application as a Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) migrant



Applicants are required to score at least 95 points in total to successfully apply for this visa and can claim points in the following way:

Attributes 75 points

The applicant can score 75 points under this section in the following manner:

  • 25 points -

    • Endorsement from a UK HEI issued in the past 3 months, or

    • Endorsement from the DIT issued in the past 3 months

  • 25 points - Having a UK-recognised bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

  • 25 points - The endorsement letter confirms that the HEI or DIT has assessed the applicant with regards to:

    • the applicant has a genuine and credible business idea, and

    • the applicant will spend the majority of his working time on developing business ventures

    • the applicant’s intended business sector (points will not be awarded for businesses engaged in property development/management)

English Language 10 points

The applicant can score 10 points under this section in one of the following ways:

  • Passing an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Please refer to the Approved English Tests Providers List.

  • Having a degree level qualification that was taught in English

  • Being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries

Maintenance 10 points

The applicant can score 10 points under this section by providing evidence confirming enough money for the maintenance and accommodation of themselves without help from UK public funds.

The applicant have to provide evidence, such as bank statements, showing he has the required amount of maintenance funds that has been held for at least three consecutive months before he applies:

  • £945 if the applicant is applying from inside the UK;

  • £1,890 if the applicant is applying from outside the UK



The applicant will be granted for a period of one year in his first application. The visa can later be extended for another year with a new endorsement from his UK HEI or the DIT. 

The applicant may be able to switch into a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa at the end of his two years under Graduate Entrepreneur if the business is successful.


We have had the privilege to assist many of our clients successfully obtaining their Tier 1 (GE) visas to establish their businesses after their studies in the UK. You are most welcome to contact us at +44 (0)20 3371 0606 for answers to your questions.


Tier 1 (GE) FAQs


Can my family come with me to the uk?

Yes, your spouse, partner and/or children under 18 can come to the UK as your PBS Dependant on this visa.

You must show evidence of required maintenance funds for each dependant and that the money has been held for three consecutive months prior to submission of the application:

  • £1,260 for each dependant if you are applying from outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months

  • £630 for each dependant if you have been in the UK for more than 12 months