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International and EU students

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

SOAS is pleased to be taking part in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme. The scheme is designed to enable non-European graduates that we identify as having developed genuine and credible business ideas or entrepreneurial skills, to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish one or more businesses.

SOAS can endorse up to 10 students per year on the scheme and we have been very successful in allocating places to our students.

Successful applicants will be granted a 12 month visa and have the chance to apply for a second 12 month visa if your business is making progress and financially sustainable. You may be able to work outside the business in order to support yourself financially, however you will be granted an Entrepreneur Visa and you will be expected to spend most of your time setting up and running the business. To read about those we've endorsed please read the interviews.

You can apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa whilst you are in the UK with a student, or the Tier 4 visa, or you can apply overseas anytime within 12 months after completing your course at SOAS.

Eligible individuals will be sponsored by SOAS for up to 12 months in the first instance with the possibility of an extension for a further 12 months, subject to Terms and conditions.

Application Requirements:

  • If you have previously held a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa you will, unfortunately, not be eligible for the scheme.
  • You will need to prove that you have held £945 for a consecutive 90-day period in your bank account, prior to submitting your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa application if you are applying in the UK.
  • If you are applying outside the UK you will need to prove that you have held £1,890 for a consecutive 90-day period in your bank account, prior to submitting your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa application
  • You can begin to work on your new business as soon as you have applied for your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, whilst you are waiting for a decision.
  • You can also apply for the scheme if you are a SOAS sponsored Postdoctoral Researcher on a Tier 2 visa
  • As well as starting your business, some work might permitted on the Tier 1 (GE) scheme except employment as doctor or dentist in training or professional sportsperson (including coach)
  • If you have dependents, they can apply for a dependent visa to remain or come to the UK with you while you are on the Tier 1 (GE) scheme.

After endorsement, participants are required to engage with the Student Enterprise activities, attend monthly support peer to peer discussions groups and quarterly one to one meetings to make sure each participant gets the best support.

The Student Enterprise has rights to inform UK Visa and Immigration if participants are no longer participating in the scheme. Please see Guidelines for Students for more information.

Time spent on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa will not count towards settlement in the UK. 

Please visit GOV.UK for the latest requirements and guidance on applying as you can apply whilst in the UK or overseas.


The next deadline is Friday 20th of November Midday
Further applications may be accepted if spaces are still available.

Please email your applications to c.renwick@soas.ac.uk 


To register your interest in the scheme please complete the registration form

In order to submit a full application you must do the following:
  • Make an appointment with John Hitchman, Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) to confirm visa status/immigration requirements 
  • Book an appointment with Student Enterprise Representative by emailing studententerprise@soas.ac.uk to discuss your business idea.
  • Submit a completed Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Business Idea Plan Form (msword; 108kb) Basic cash information (vnd.ms-excel; 13kb)   with your CV, highlighting relevant experience, a covering letter explaining why you wish to apply for a graduate entrepreneur visa
  • Your application will be considered by a panel and you will be notified if you get through to the next stage of application;
  • Successful applicants will be asked to give a 5-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers in front of the panel. Decisions will be communicated within 2 weeks following the panel meetings.

Completed applications will not be considered if you have not discussed your idea with the Student Enterprise team and confirmed your eligibility to apply with the Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance).

For business support and advice please visit the SOAS Enterprise website and the SOAS Careers Service website.

For more information about the requirements of the visa please visit GOV.UK