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  1. Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Are you an international student looking to launch a business in the UK after you graduate?

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is aimed at students who have successfully completed a UK degree programme and now want to develop their ideas and entrepreneurial skills by setting up a business in the UK.


Every year, the Home Office and City, University of London endorse recent City graduates for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa to start a business and remain in the UK.

In order to be granted this visa recent graduates need to apply for an endorsement by City, University of London. The process in place assesses the business idea and ensure it meets the Home Office criteria as being a genuine and credible business idea that demonstrates entrepreneurial skills, why it needs to be established in the UK and how the business will contribute to the UK economy.

2018 application cycle is now closed.

Please be advised that the Home Office is currently reviewing the entrepreneurial visas.
As soon as further information is available we will circulate it on the CityStarters newsletter – join the mailing list now to stay up to date!

2019 application cycle will open in the second semester of 2019.

Applications will be open to all current UG and PG students from City, University of London, who are completing their course within the current academic year – 2018/19 – that is graduating at the July 2019 or January 2020 ceremony.

Who Can Apply?

  • Students who meet the eligibility criteria set by the Home Office.
  • Students currently in their final year of a full-time UG or PG course at City, University of London completing their course within the current academic year – 2018/19 – that is graduating at the July 2019 or January 2020 ceremony.

Key notes:

  • Students graduating in the next academic year (2019/20 or after) will need to apply for the subsequent allocation of Tier 1 endorsements taking place between July-August 2020.
  • Students issued a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur endorsement will be required to apply for the visa and start the visa application before the 31 January.
  • Students failing to apply for the visa in the time period above-mentioned will no longer be eligible for a new endorsement from the University and cannot reapply.
  • The University will offer endorsements to a maximum of two students per company.

Who Can’t Apply?

Students from other Higher Education institutions other than City, University of London.

  • Students that have previously applied and not been successful cannot apply again.
  • Students that have graduated in or before 2017/18 academic year.

Getting your business off the ground

If you are interested in applying it is recommended that you give your idea a test run, participate in some of the events (Startup Seminars, CitySpark, Made@City, etc.)  organised by the CityVentures team to perfect your idea throughout each academic year and strengthen your application when the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur process (re-)opens.

For further information, join CityStarters mailing list to stay up to date and read The Starters’ Manifesto e-book for all things entrepreneurial!

Additionally we would strongly recommend that you get in contact with a member of our team to talk through your business idea to see if we can help you develop it.

Application process

Application cycle for 2019/20 endorsements is as follows (dates to be confirmed):

In the application form, we want you and your business to have achieved as much progress as reasonable as possible (under your current visa) and demonstrate – with tangible examples – what your value proposition, customer segmentation, cost structure, revenue stream, unique selling point, minimum viable product, etc.

Thereafter, applications will be furthered to Stage 1, Internal Review and the strongest will be progressed to Stage 2, Interview and Pitch where shortlisted applications will be invited to pitch and discuss their business idea in front of a panel (panel includes an academic and / or external associate).

Subsequently, the panel presiding Stage 2 will deliberate and determine the businesses to be endorsed by the university for 2019/20.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Decisions on each stage are final and cannot be appealed.





Application process opens.


Application process closes.


Stage 1, Internal Review.


Notification of outcomes, strongest applications progressed to Stage 2.


Stage 2, Interview and Pitch.


Notification of outcomes, successful applications will be endorsed by the University.

If endorsed

  • Each Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is granted for one year, with the option to extend for a second year (provided there is satisfactory progress on the business).
  • Each Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa is granted on the basis of your business idea and your business as specified on the application form.
  • You are required to arrive in the UK within one month of having been granted the visa and make contact with the Launch Lab team to confirm your arrival and provide a copy of your passport and visa.
  • You will be assessed by the university at agreed upon contact points during the year and provide quarterly progress reports.
  • There is no restriction on the location of your business however you should be primarily based – establish, develop and operate – in the UK.
  • There are no restriction on the number of hours that you may work however your main focus should be your business.
  • You must update the CityVentures Team and Visa Team if you change your name, change contact details, obtain a new passport, leave the UK for an extended period of time (no longer than 6 weeks) or switch into a different visa route.

Failure to meet the above requirements will lead to your sponsorship being withdrawn and your visa being cancelled.