Start Up Visa

Start Up Visa

This new route is to open on 29 March 2019 for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. This new category replaces the existing  Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category.

A key requirement is for the applicant to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. The endorsements of applicants will be handled by reputable UK organisations, such as higher educational establishments,  business accelerators, seed competitions and government departments. These bodies will assess the viability, scalability and innovation of the business idea.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Start-up visa?

In order to qualify for a Start-up visa you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are at least 18 years old;
  • You have not previously started up a business in the UK (unless you previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur);
  • You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing your business venture;
  • You genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in your application;
  • You have the adequate level of English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • You have at least £945 available to support yourself (plus £945 for any dependants) without accessing public funds.

Although there are no requirements of investment funds it is worth bearing in mind that the Home Office will want to satisfied that you intend to, and are capable of establishing a viable business in the UK.

There is no requirement to be a graduate and you are able to apply as a Sole founder or Entrepreneurial team. Your partner or children may accompany you or may apply for further leave as a dependent from within the UK.

How long is the visa granted and how do I extend it?

Your Start up visa will be valid for 2 years unless you have previously been granted leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.

It is not possible to extend a Start up visa and it does not lead to settlement, however, once you reach the end of your 2 years you can apply for further leave to remain within the Innovator category to continue developing your business. The Innovator visa can then lead to settlement once a further 3 years have passed.

An applicant may also be able to switch to this category if they already hold leave to remain in the UK in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur);
  • Tier 2;
  • Tier 4 (General) – subject to restrictions
  • A visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur.

What are the Endorsement criteria?

The Home Office are yet to publish a list of Endorsing bodies, however, you will be required to stay in contact with your endorsing body with checkpoints at 6 and 12 months.  The endorsing body will need to be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business venture and have demonstrated reasonable progress in relation to either your original or a new business idea.  Your endorsement may be withdrawn and your leave curtailed if this is not the case.

Your letter of Endorsement must confirm all of the following:

  1. the name of the endorsing body;
  2. the date of issue, which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application;
  3. the endorsement reference number;
  4. the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport number;
  5. confirmation that the applicant has not previously established a business in the UK (unless the applicant’s last grant of leave was under the Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category);
  6. a short description of the applicant’s business venture and the main products or services it will provide to its customers;
  7.  the applicant's business venture meets all three endorsement requirements: Innovation, Viability and Scalability;
  8.  the endorsing body is satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time on developing the business ventures; and
  9. the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the endorsing body who will verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office if requested.

What is considered when deciding on the applicant's credibility?

  • Your endorsement
  • Your previous educational, work and immigration history
  • Evidence you have submitted as part of your application

How can we help?

We will use our expertise and  experience to assist you with your start up business and handle your full application process on your behalf, understanding and meeting the needs of our clients to ensure a professional and reliable service is constantly provided to clients.

The services we offer:

  • Application for the endorsement by an endorsing body
  • Draft a start up visa business plan
  • Credibility interview preparation
  • Application for further leave to remain on the Innovator visa category
  • Application for Settlement


Call us on 0207 887 1916 or alternatively email info@alexandraspencer.co.uk

UK Immigration rules are complex and challenging which is why we work to our client's best interest and understand what is at stake.

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