A business plan is a document which outlines the Business model, financial projections, goals and objectives, product marketing plan and business structure of a particular business. A business plan is a way for you to discuss every aspect of your business in detail and, when it is being assessed by the Home Office, it will be used to show that you have an in depth understanding of your prospective business.

What is a UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Program?

A uk entrepreneur visa – also referred to as a tier 1 visa – is given to business people who wish to enter the UK to start a new enterprise or to invest in a current one. The UK remains an attractive option for ambitious entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business opportunities overseas.

As one of the world’s major established trading nations, companies based in the UK have ready-access to global markets, and the British start-up scene is thriving. The UK Entrepreneur visa was designed to attract and allow non-EEA nationals to come to the UK to set up and develop a business.

The Entrepreneur Visa UK is a Tier One visa, which means it is intended for high-value workers who are investors, entrepreneurs or leaders in their field. The visa last longer than a typical employee Visa, has a relatively fast processing time and is one of the easiest routes to permanent residency in the UK.

Despite the welcome appearance however, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has an application refusal rate of 48%. While it may be tempting to attribute the high number of rejections to the stringent Home Office, but in reality, errors, omissions and mistakes that occur in the applications do result in a refused visa.

A business plan is necessary when you are applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, as you need to demonstrate that your business is viable and lucrative. For most busy, creative entrepreneurs, writing a business plan is a necessary evil, and if you are planning to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you have no option but to produce a well-written plan.

Another thing you have to consider if you want to enter the UK via the entrepreneur route, is that you must pass what is called the ‘Genuine entrepreneur’ Test. At present, around 50% of applicants fail this test. The Genuine entrepreneur Test was set up in 2013 to ensure those applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa were sincere in their plans to start or invest in a UK business and had the knowledge and skills required to do so.

If you are an entrepreneur planning to go to the UK for the sole reason of starting a business, then you need to start thinking of how to write your entrepreneur visa program business plan. Outlined in this article is how you can write an acceptable UK Tier 1 business plan that is immigration compliant.

What Your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Business Plan Must Contain

The best Entrepreneur visa lawyers recommend that the business plan you use should pass the Genuine entrepreneur Test. It should reflect that you have researched your proposed business in depth. You need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you know who your customers, suppliers, and competitors will be.

To achieve this, you have to ensure that your business plan provides the following information:

  1. A description of your business, its products, and services
  2. What your investment funds (£200,000 or £50,000) will be spent on
  3. A financial forecast for the next three years
  4. Your previous experience and qualifications in related industries
  5. Comprehensive market research, including a SWOT analysis
  6. Who your customers will be and a marketing plan for reaching them
  7. Your prices
  8. Where your business will be based and details of the commercial lease
  9. What licenses and professional registrations you will need
  10. Your staff, and their roles within the business (this should include a plan for employing two ‘settled’ people)
  11. Your professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers

Make sure that any figures, experience, and qualifications you give are accurate, consistent and match up with the documentation you provide to accompany your application.

How to Gauge your Eligibility for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Before you are granted tier 1 business visa, you have to fulfill some of the eligibility requirements. Some of these requirements include;

  1. That you have to be a non-UK and non-European national intending to set up or take over the running of a business in the UK
  2. Plan to invest the minimum investment amount
  3. Have a genuine and credible business idea
  4. Have the skills and knowledge to make the business viable
  5. Meet the English language and maintenance funds requirements

Scaling the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ test

Due to the increase in demand for UK Tier 1 visas, the government has recently had to introduce the genuine entrepreneur test to ensure that those applying for tier 1 visas have the correct intentions when entering the country.

The Genuine Entrepreneur Test was introduced as a subjective means for the Home Office to assess Tier 1 applicants and the credibility of their application in an attempt to minimize fraudulent applications. To pass the Genuine Entrepreneur test, you must be able to demonstrate that:

  • You genuinely intend to and are able to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses within six months of coming to the UK;
  • You genuinely intend to invest the money in the business (or businesses);
  • That your investment funds are genuinely available and will remain available to you; and
  • That you do not intend to take any other employment in the UK other than working in your own business.

This can be a challenging test for applicants to evidence, requiring extensive and comprehensive documentation to support the application and satisfy Home Office scrutiny.

How to Write a Business Plan for UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Program That is Immigration Compliant

This is a step by step format by which you can write your UK Tier 1 entrepreneur visa business plan so that yours would not be among the rejected applications.

  • Business Description

When writing your business plan, you have to start with the description of the business. You should understand that the key purpose of the business description is to give the home office an overview of your proposed business.

So, your business description must surely include the (i) industry, (ii) business purpose, operations, and personnel, (iii) mission statement, (iv) business history and future plans, and (v) other information that will provide the agency with an engaging overview of the business. In the description, the home office needs to understand first-hand the concept, business model and likelihood of success.

  • Level of experience

One of the reasons why applicants generally get denied a UK tier 1 entrepreneur visa is if the business they intend to start up is not in anyway within their line of experience. The UK home office is poised to make sure that entrepreneurs are properly qualified before they can be allowed to set up any business in the country.

In this segment, you have to provide in details your level of educational and job experience and how that experience would influence the business you want to start.

Needed Licenses and Permits

Starting and running a successful business means addressing all needed permits and licenses. Federal and state licenses are mostly required of businesses that fall under categories important to the general public, or those that provide professional services very important to the public welfare. Local licenses usually fall under the category of occupational licenses or business taxes, and possibly sanitation or similar permitting for specific businesses.

Marketing Plan and Market Analysis

You will have to inculcate a meaningful marketing plan and budget that will assist the home office in understanding the likelihood of your business’s success. Note that a well-developed marketing plan is a very crucial component of any business; it is the road-map for promoting the product or service being sold, enabling the business to get noticed by your target market.

A business that attempts to operate without a marketing plan will likely end up wasting money, losing sales, and ultimately might fail. In a UK Tier 1 entrepreneur visa business plan, the marketing plan must often address two different target markets –the prospective investors in the business, and the actual consumers of the business’s products or services.

  • Personnel Experience

This part of the business plan may normally include a good brief of the business’s management, key personnel, and their experience, management philosophy, backgrounds, organization, and functions. A description of personnel functions and the use of visuals, such as tables and organizational charts, are effective. The organizational structure should be sound and follow generally accepted business practices for similar businesses.

Competitive Analysis

It’s basically your job to analyze competitors in terms of market penetration, prices, jobs, products, services, and other important factors. It is very crucial to explain the differences between existing businesses and a new enterprise.

Understanding the weaknesses and strengths of the proposed business when compared to competitors paints a picture for the home office of the challenges and advantages that the business is likely to face and demonstrates an objective approach.

Business Structure

UK Tier 1 entrepreneur visa applicants are expected to invest in for-profit, new commercial ventures established for the ongoing conduct of lawful businesses, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, holding companies, joint ventures, corporations, business trusts, or any other lawful entity.

Have it in mind that the UK Tier 1 entrepreneur visa has no specific requirement for the type of business structure, but you have to ensure that you make the right choice for your business.

SWOT Analysis

Just like a normal business plan, it would be in your best interest if you include a SWOT analysis of your business in your business plan. You should able to prove that you have thoroughly analysed your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities in the new place you are going to and the threats you are likely to encounter. Doing this would say much on your level of preparedness.


Yet another thing you need to include in your UK tier 1 business plan is the location of the business you want to startup. You must provide the address of the location and evidence of lease payments. Before you do this, you should ensure that your chosen location does not contravene any state or community laws. If not, you risk getting a rejection.

Plans for Hiring

The Immigration Rules require that you must have created the equivalent of at least two new full time jobs for persons settled in the UK. These jobs must have existed for at least 12 months during the period for which your latest leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur was granted.

Roles and Descriptions

Roles and responsibilities of staff are very delicate part of any business organization and a necessary element of a business plan. Job description tells the home office about the jobs that will be established by the business, and the roles and responsibilities of each job. They should be practical, clear, and accurate, and directly correlate to the project.

Budget and Financial Projections

Also remember that the business plan is expected to be well-documented with financial projections including sales, costs, budgets, and income over a period of five years. The budget must also show the basis and assumptions for these projections.

It must show the source of funds to start up, support, and maintain the business, as well as detailing the uses of funds raised from investors. Note that all financial projections must be based upon generally accepted accounting principles and reasonable business models.

Proving You are Genuine

What you include and the evidence you provide within your business plan are the only way to prove to the Home Office that your visa application is genuine. To do this you must ensure that your market research is relevant to your business industry and is up-to-date.

This will show them that you have a strong knowledge of the sector you want enter and that you have thought this venture through. Additionally, including your previous education and business experience will also boost your application and increase your chances of being approved.