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International Students

Many entrepreneurial students come from an international background and are holders of Tier 4 visas. The Home Office imposes strict restrictions on the activities students are able to undertake whilst studying in the UK and holding a Tier 4 visa.

If you considering setting up your own business, you must adhere to the following requirements in order to not contravene your Tier 4 visa requirements:


  • Run a business
  • Generate an income through the development stage, including product testing.
  • Recover out of pocket expenses which have been incurred through the development stage, including producing a prototype.
  • Do any activity that may be perceived as being self employed.
  • Register a company at Companies House.
  • Undertake any paid or unpaid work for an external organisation, including Unitemps or volunteering, for more than 20 hours per week.


  • Undertake market research.
  • Produce a prototype.
  • Test the viability of an idea (but do not generate any income).
  • Prepare a business plan.

For more information visit the Office for Global Engagement Homepage