Self employed in the UK: Visa options

So you have thought of seeking greener pastures and decided working for somebody or a company is not worth your while anymore. If you are self employed in the UK and are applying for a visa, take a look at what you need to know to stay legally in the country.


There are many types of visas issued to self employed persons in the UK.

  • Investing money

You can become self employed in the UK and get a visa by investing GBP 200,000. You can also establish an overseas office in the UK. However, unless you are rolling in money, this might not be the ideal route to take for many.

  • ‘Exceptional talent’

Those who have outstanding qualifications can live and work in the UK. For example, individuals who have exceptional abilities in the fields of arts and sciences are qualified to apply under Tier 1 of Exceptional Talent. There is no need to apply for work in order to be granted a visa under this category. However, be aware slots are limited and it is extremely difficult to get a place as there are only 1000 visas awarded each year.

  • Writers, composers and artists

Writers, composers and artists are also eligible to stay in the UK. The major requirements are: they must be able to prove they are established outside of the UK either by being published, hosting exhibitions or performing. No investment is required. However, they cannot fill jobs outside of their domains of expertise.

  • Potential Entrepreneurs

Students who graduated from a UK university are allowed to stay and work provided their universities certify they are ‘world class entrepreneurs.’


Self employed people seeking UK visas need to fulfill certain criteria to qualify. The Tier 1 Visa Immigration Programme works on a points system. Points are awarded to applicants based on several criteria such as age, experience, English language skills, and maintenance funds. Lastly, if you are already living in the UK for 5 years or more, you are eligible to apply to settle permanently.

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