Can you come to the UK as a prospective entrepreneur?
This page explains whether you can come to the UK as a prospective entrepreneur.
The 'prospective entrepreneur' category is a visitor category for nationals of countries outside Europe. If you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a family member of an EEA national, see the European nationals section.
To come to the UK as a prospective entrepreneur, your primary intention must be to secure funding so that you can join, set up or take over, and be actively involved in the running of, a business in the UK.
You must be able to show that 1 or more of the following organisations are supporting your application and are considering funding your proposed business:
- 1 or more registered venture capitalist firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority;
- 1 or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is listed as 'endorsed' on the UK Trade & Investment website; or
- 1 or more UK government departments.
The total amount of proposed funding must be at least £50,000.
You must intend to carry out 1 of the following activities during your visit:
- attending meetings (which may be arranged when in the UK), including interviews that have been arranged before you come to the UK, or conferences;
- attending trade fairs, provided this is restricted to promotional work and does not involve selling direct to members of the public;arranging deals, negotiating or signing trade agreements, contracts and the like;
- undertaking fact-finding missions;conducting site visits;
- purchasing, checking details of or examining goods;
- speaking at a 'one-off' conference which is not run as a commercial concern; and
- recruiting staff in relation to your proposed business activity.
However, during your visit you must not:
- take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
- do a course of study;
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
- receive private medical treatment.
You must also be able to show that:
- you are aged 18 or over;
- you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit, unless by that time you have successfully applied to switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) of the points-based system;
- you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
- you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
- you are not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
You will be allowed to come to the UK as a prospective entrepreneur for a maximum of 6 months.
If you cannot meet the requirements above, you may be able to enter the UK as a business visitor. However, you will not be allowed to switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) while you are in the UK.
For information about your rights and responsibilities while you are in the UK, see the Visitors' rights and responsibilities section.
You should provide documents to show that you meet the above requirements. The Documents page contains more information.
You must obtain a visa before you can come to the UK as a prospective entrepreneur. The Do you need a visa? page contains more information.
If you want to bring your family members with you to the UK, they will need to apply to come her in their own right (for example, as a general visitor or child visitor).