188E Entrepreneur Visa

188E Entrepreneur Visa allows entrepreneurs who have secured funding from an approved entity to continue carrying on the start-up in Australia. 188E visa applications are heavily scrutinized, and it is important that you thoroughly and holistically prepare your application.


188E Visa Criteria

Nomination: You must be nominated by a State or Territory authority to apply for an Entrepreneur Visa with each nominating authority having their own criteria.

Invitation: You must be invited, by the Department of Home Affairs in writing, to apply for the visa.

Age: You must be under 55 years of age at the time of invitation. Exceptions may be allowed in strictly limited circumstances where the nominating State or Territory government authority determines that your start-up is of exceptional economic benefit to their State or Territory.

Competent English: You must have scored at least 6.0 in each band of the International English Language Testing System in the last three (3) years.

Complying Entrepreneur Activity: Regulation 5.19E sets an activity as a complying entrepreneur activity if all the following requirements are satisfied:

The activity relates to an innovative idea that is proposed to lead to the commercialisation of a product of services, or the development of an enterprise of business in Australia.

The activity does not relate to a labour hire entity, an existing entity or residential real property (IMMI 16/075).

Funding to be provided in relation to the activity must meet a minimum threshold of $200,000 of which 10% is to be paid within twelve (12) months of the day on which the activity starts in Australia. This must be stipulated in a legally enforceable agreement.

Sufficient Funds: You must have sufficient assets, whether business or personal, to enable you to relocate to and settle in Australia.

Be undertaking, or be proposing to undertake, a “complying entrepreneur activity.” You must have a genuine intention to undertake, and continue to undertake, the complying entrepreneur activity in Australia. This is in accordance with the funding agreement from an approved entity; and

Have at least 30% ownership interest in the entrepreneurial entity from when the relevant funding agreement was entered into.


188E State Nomination Criteria


188E Entrepreneur Visa Costs

First instalment

    • Base application charge: $6,395
    • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $3,195
    • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $1,600

Second instalment, if functional English cannot be scored by applicants

    • Primary applicant without functional English: $9,795
    • Secondary applicants who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,890
    • Other applicants: Nil


Entrepreneur Visa FAQ

Q: How can I be nominated and invited for 188E Visa?

You must submit an expression of interest which is reviewed by a State or Territory Government authority. If the State or Territory authority agrees to nominate you, this is communicated to the Department, who will then issue you an invitation to apply for the visa. The nomination must continue to be valid for the visa to be granted.

Each State and Territory set their own requirements for nomination, and will frequently amend these requirements in response to economic factors. As these authorities announce new criteria each financial year, it is best that you arrange a consultation with qualified migration lawyers to receive up-to-date advice.


Q: Are there age restrictions for Entrepreneur Visa?

Generally, applicants must not have turned 55 at the time of invitation in order to qualify for the entrepreneur stream. Nevertheless, State and Territory authorities reserve the discretion to afford waiver where the applicant’s Australian business is deemed to be of significant economic benefit to said State or Territory.

The discretion of States and Territories to accept age-restricted applicants on the grounds of “exceptional economic benefit” is largely unfettered. The State and Territory authorities provide minimal guidance on when they will recommend waiver of age restrictions.


Q: Do I need an English Test for Australian Entrepreneur Visa?

Unlike other streams of Subclass 188, the entrepreneur stream requires you to demonstrate that you possess “competent English” within the meaning of Regulation 1.15C. This requires you to either achieve a minimum score on a prescribed English test or hold a passport of a particular English-speaking country.

The English exemption exists for citizens of the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland

If undertaking an English test:

  • You may score at least 6 for each of the 4 components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or
  • Score at least 50 for each of the 4 components in the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

Dependent applicants do not need to evidence their English language proficiency, however, failing to do so will result in additional application fees.


Q: Is my Start-up permissible for Australian Entrepreneur Visa?

If you can prove that the activity would lead to the commercialisation of a product of services, or the development of an enterprise of business in Australia, it would generally be permissible. Exceptions apply when:

  • Establishing, purchasing, investing or acquiring an interest in a labour hire entity or residential real property.
  • Purchasing, investing or acquiring an interest in an existing entity (including a franchise).


Q: What is “Innovative” for 188E Entrepreneur Visa?

Determining whether an activity is innovative is a matter for the nominating entity. A broad range of business activities can be regarded as innovative, including conducting research, setting up a business. All activities must, in some way, propose to lead to business development or commercialisation of a product or service in Australia.

Talk to our 188E Entrepreneur Visa experts at Visa Plan!


Q: Is a business plan essential for 188E Entrepreneur Visa?

It is a documentary requirement that you prepare and supply a business plan for your proposed entrepreneurial entity. In practice, the case officer will not assess it for proper formulation, but to ensure your activity is not excluded under instrument IMMI 16/075.


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