Innovation & Enterprise


Get an international Graduate Entrepreneur visa

Set up and grow your business venture with sponsorship for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa and extensive expert support.

Every year we work with the Home Office to sponsor recent UCL graduates for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, so they can set up their business in the UK.

The visa is initially granted for 12 months, with the chance to renew it for another 12 months if the business is making progress.

About your business venture

We can sponsor only genuine and credible ventures.

You’ll need to have taken part in our workshops and competitions, using them to develop your business idea. 

You’ll already have:

  • identified a gap in the market
  • demonstrated customer demand 
  • established the practicalities involved in building your business

Make sure you’re eligible

You can apply from anywhere in the world, but must be based in London during your sponsorship. 

To be eligible for sponsorship you’ll:

  • have graduated from UCL in the last twelve months 
  • have at least three months left on your student visa
  • have £945 in savings if you’re applying within the UK or £1,890 if you’re abroad (note: this amount will need to have been in your bank account for more than 90 days before you apply)
  • own at least 50% of your venture

You’ll also need to meet all the Home Office criteria on the gov.uk website.

If you have questions about your immigration status or visa application, email visaadvice@ucl.ac.uk to book an appointment with this advice service.

How to apply for sponsorship

If you’re interested in applying for sponsorship your next steps are to:

  1. attend one of our information sessions, see dates below
  2. download, read and fill in our Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme submission form (Word)
  3. gather the requested documents 
  4. email your form and documents to entrepreneurship@ucl.ac.uk and include ‘Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Submission Information’ in the subject line

During this process you’ll be able to discuss your application with one of our business advisors. 

If you’re shortlisted, you’ll be invited to present your business plan to a panel. You can do this by Skype if you’re out of the country.

If you’re successful we’ll provide you with a signed endorsement letter which will be an essential part of your application to the Home Office for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. 

What you’ll do if you receive a sponsored visa

You’ll register your business then work full-time on setting it up. 


  • be based at the Hatchery workspace at BaseKX
  • meet regularly with an advisor who’ll monitor your progress
  • attend regular group sessions and workshops 

Dates for your diary

Book your place on one of the next information sessions: 

The next deadline for applying for sponsorship is 3 April 2019.

UCL Innovation & Enterprise takes no responsibility for your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa application to the Home Office.

Case studies

Sisi Lin, founder of Sishu, with her students
Sishu: UCL graduate uses psychoanalysis to transform Chinese language learning

After becoming the most popular teacher in a Chinese school Sisi Lin transformed her unique teaching methodology into a one-of-a-kind business.