Home » Immigration Law » Immigration for Individuals » Business Visa Routes

Business Visa Routes

Expert Immigration Solicitors

The UK’s visa offering to business-minded individuals continues to undergo significant change.  The old Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Intra-Company Transfer and Representative of an Overseas Business routes have all been closed, and substituted with Innovator/Start-Up, Senior/Specialist Worker, and UK Expansion Worker visas.

Contact us if you need advice on any of these new routes, or business immigration more generally.

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route was replaced by the Start-up visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur was replaced by the Innovator visa.

Truth Legal can advise on the best options for your business needs, whether that’s one of the routes mentioned here, something not mentioned here, or a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence.

If you are looking to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, a Global Business Mobility sponsor licence might be the way to go.  Launched in 2022, this relatively new route allows an overseas business to send up to five workers to the UK to commence operations here. 

The Immigration Team at Truth Legal is at the forefront of advising people on the most appropriate route, tailored to their business and personal needs.

Business Visitor visa

But first, it is worth remembering that individuals looking to come to the UK to undertake short-term general business activities may be able to come to the UK under a General Visitor visa.

General business activities include attending meetings, conferences, seminars and interviews.

Under this visa, businesspeople can also undertake what are called ‘intra-corporate activities’.  This involves an employee of an overseas company undertaking activities on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group.

Further information regarding Visitor visas is available here.

Tier 2 sponsorship as a CEO

Following the abolition of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa we are increasingly advising businesspersons around obtaining leave under Tier 2 as a CEO of a company they own.

This route involves using a UK-based contact to set up a UK branch of your overseas company.  The UK company can then apply for a Tier 2 General sponsor licence.  The UK company can then sponsor you as CEO.  Provided that you will be paid at least £159,600, then it is permissible for you to own shares in the UK company over 10% (and up to 100%).

If you are paid less than £159,600 then you are not permitted to own more than 10% of the UK company’s shares.

If you can pay at least £159,600 then you are also exempt from having to run a Resident labour market test in respect of the sponsored CEO position.

Individuals can apply for up to 6 years’ leave in total in the Tier 2 category and can be eligible for settlement after completing 5 years’ leave in total.


The Start-up route is for individuals looking to establish a new business for the first time in the UK.

Individuals will need to show they have a business which is ‘innovative’, ‘viable’ and ‘scalable’.  You will need to be endorsed by a trusted UK body before you can apply for a visa.   The endorsing bodies tend to be universities or business accelerators and incubators.

The visa is granted for two years.  At the end of those two years the individual is expected to switch into the Innovator category, or some other category.

Unlike with its Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur predecessor, Applicants do not need to secure any initial funding.


The Innovator visa is aimed at more experienced businesspeople.  Applicants will normally need to have £50,000 to invest in their business.

Individuals will need to be endorsed by an endorsing body before they can apply for a visa.  The endorsing body will assess the business for innovation, viability and scalability.

Applicants are granted a three-year visa under this category which can be extended indefinitely.   This category leads to settlement.

If you are a businessperson and would like to discuss your visa options, book a consultation with us today.

We’re not like
other law firms

Ethically driven

Truth Legal was founded on the idea of putting ethics at the centre of legal services. 

Indeed, ethical working is at our core: in treating people fairly, being open and honest, and taking social responsibility. To that end, Truth Legal sponsor a large section of woodland near Harrogate, planting a tree for every one of the clients we represent.

Real lawyers, real people

We believe a good lawyer shouldn’t just offer technical expertise, but a real understanding of what you’re going through and how best to help you. 

Above all, our team are dedicated to their clients – whether that is guiding them through legal complexities, securing compensation, or simply fighting for what’s right.

We won’t blind you with jargon – we give advice clearly. And when technical terms can’t be avoided we explain them in full.

Exceptional service

In contrast to some firms, we don’t overload our lawyers with cases. Our team provide clients with a more personal service, meaning we can dedicate adequate time to your matter.

Just read our client reviews to see what a difference this can make.

Fill out our quick online form with your details and we’ll come back to you


Some of our most recent success stories

© 2022 Truth Legal Ltd is registered in England & Wales (08031477), VAT Registered (135 2552 31),
Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (568741).

Website by browndog.agency