Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Initiative

UCL is a sponsor for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa initiative and has a total of 20 sponsored visas to offer to qualifying graduates each year.

Do you need sponsorship for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa? UCL Advances can help.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa enables international graduates identified by UCL as having developed a viable business idea to extend their stay in the UK in order to start up their business.


You need to:

  • have a genuine and credible business idea that you wish to develop as a start-up business
  • be a graduate of  UCL – awarded a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD
  • apply within 12 months of being awarded your qualification (you can’t apply before your degree is awarded, as evidenced by the UCL Portico system).
  • have a current student or Tier 4 visa
  • have a letter of endorsement from UCL
  • have £900 in savings (£945 from 1 July) if applying from inside the UK or £1,800 (£1,890 from 1 July) if applying from outside the UK - this is to prove you can support yourself, and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply

Application Process

UCL’s selection process is as follows:

  • Arrange an initial meeting with a UCL Advances Student Business Advisor who will assess whether your business is genuine and credible
  • The sooner you apply the better, because you may need several meetings with an Advisor before your idea is sufficiently well developed to be eligible.
  • You will need to prepare a business plan. Your Advisor can help you with this.
  • When your Advisor is happy that your plan provides evidence that your business idea is genuine and credible, you will be invited to present your plan to three assessors at one of the pitching sessions listed below. Your presentation will be judged on the following criteria:
The presentation Have you and your team expressed your ideas and pitched in a clear and compelling way?
Market strategy Have you shown a clear and accurate understanding of the target market? Does the ‘go-to-market’ strategy reflect this understanding?
Feasibility Has the concept been validated convincingly?
Financial model Does the financial and commercial model show potential to receive investment? (Can it be profitable and scalable? Is the size of the market big enough?)
Team Is the team made up of highly talented individuals that can make this plan happen? Do their skills appear well-balanced and complementary?
UK impact Is this team likely to have a lasting, positive impact on the UK?

Pitching Dates

The three assessors will be your sponsoring Student Business Advisor, Gups Japgpal (deputy Director of UCL Advances), and one other experienced business person. 

Pitches will normally take place on the third Wednesday of February, June and October. If you cannot make any of these dates for a valid reason, we will try to set up a suitable alternative time for you. The dates for this academic year are as follows:

  • Wednesday 18th June 2014
  • Wednesday 15th October 2014
  • Wednesday 18th February 2015

Successful applicants will be sponsored for a 12 month visa, and the opportunity to apply for a second 12 month visa if the business is making progress. You will be expected to spend most of your time setting up the business, but will be able to work up to 20 hours per week outside the business in order to support yourself financially if necessary.

Time spent on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will not count towards settlement in the UK. Please check the UK Government website for more information.

To apply, or If you would like to know more, please contact one of our Student Business Advisors: email: sba@ucl.ac.uk.