Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur

The Royal College of Art has secured ten places on the Home Office's Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur scheme, which allows entrepreneurial graduates with world-class innovative ideas to remain in the UK to develop their businesses following graduation.

Applying for the Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur visa is a two stage process requiring the individual to receive an endorsement before being eligible to apply for the the visa.


You will need the following to be eligible:

  • a UK-recognised Bachelor's degree, Master's degree or PhD awarded before your date of endorsement
  • endorsement from a Higher Education Institution (HEI) or UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
  • evidence of finances
  • permission to remain in the UK from your financial sponsor if they are a government or international scholarship agency and have paid your fees and living costs in the past 12 months

Stage 1: Endorsement

HEI – Royal College of Art (RCA) Endorsement

In order to apply for endorsement from the RCA you will need to win a place on the Innovation RCA Incubator Start-up programme.

Application process:

  • Watch out for the call for Incubator Start-up applications in July 2016
  • Make sure to submit your application to the Incubator Start-up programme in July 2016
  • If your application is successful you will receive the RCA's endorsement letter in time to submit your visa application before your Tier 4 visa expires

Recent graduates can also apply for endorsement from a different HEI to the one that they graduated from. For further information contact the institution that you would like to apply to.

UKTI Endorsement

You can also apply for endorsement from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) via the Elite Global Graduate Entrepreneur programme SIRIUS. Further information in relation to this can be found here.

Please note: An endorsement does not guarantee that you will be issued a Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur visa. This decision is made by the Home Office when you submit your visa application.

Stage 2: Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur Application

When to apply

Applications must be submitted within three months of receiving the endorsement and prior to your Tier 4 student visa expiring.

If the application is submitted before your Tier 4 visa expires, it is possible to remain in the UK under the conditions of the expired Tier 4 visa until the new application is decided.

If your Tier 4 visa expires before you have received an endorsement, you must return home and make your application from there.

How to apply

Before completing your application you should read the Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur Policy Guidance carefully.

If you apply from within the UK you will need to download the application form from the Home Office website and submit it by post.

If you are applying from outside the UK, you must complete the online application form on the Home Office website.


Required documentation

  • passport/ID card
  • a passport photograph
  • a printed copy of your endorsement letter
  • financial evidence

Financial Evidence: if you are applying from within the UK, you will need to demonstrate that you have held a minimum of £945 in a bank account in your name for a consecutive period of 90 days prior to applying.

If you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to show that you have held a minimum of £1890 in a bank account in your name for 90 consecutive days prior to applying.

Evidence of Qualifications: If you are being endorsed by a different HEI to the one that you graduated from, you will need to submit the original certificate of qualification and evidence of English Language ability.


You can have your dependent(s) with you in the UK on a Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur visa.

Information on financial requirements and how to apply can be found on the Home Office website.

Length of leave

12 months, with the possibility of extending for a further 12 months if there is a further endorsement.


Applications made in the UK – £456

Applications made outside the UK – £335

Dependent fees

Application made in the UK – £456 (each dependent)

Application made outside the UK – £335 (each dependent)

For further information please contact Student Support.


Student Support Office

+44 (0)20 7590 4140



Home Office