Workers using the startup visa
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Cathryn Davies Updated:

If you are a new entrepreneur and are looking to set up an innovative business in the UK, a Start-up visa may be right for you. This visa category hopes to attract the brightest and best global talent.

Start-up visas are valid for 2 years and do not have a route to settlement. If you are in the UK on a Start-up visa and wish to stay longer and ultimately settle in the UK, you may be able to switch to an Innovator visa. You can apply for your dependants to join you on your Start-up visa.

The brief requirements for a Start-up visa are as follows:

  • You must be over 18 years old
  • Endorsement by an approved UK endorsing body
  • You will spend your time in the UK working for your business
  • If you have not previously established a business in the UK
  • You genuinely wish to conduct your business in the UK
  • English language minimum CEFR Level B2
  • You do not fall for refusal under the Part 9 Grounds for Refusal
  • Maintenance – if applying for entry clearance or have been in the UK less than 12 months, you must have funds of at least £1,270 to support yourself.

Endorsement for a UK Start-up Visa

You will need to obtain a letter of endorsement from a UK-approved UK endorsing body before applying for your Start-up visa. You can find the list of Home Office authorised endorsing bodies here.

The endorsing body will need to consider three main criteria:

  1. Innovation – Firstly, you need to have a genuine, original, business plan that meets a market’s needs or creates a competitive advantage.
  2. Viability – Secondly, your business plan must be realistic and achievable based on your resources. Do you have, or are you actively developing, the skills necessary for the business to succeed?
  3. Scalability – Finally, you must be able to show the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

Your endorsing body must also be satisfied that you generated the ideas in the business plan and will be responsible for executing the plan.

Start-up Visas – Switching, Settlement & Dependants

Usually, you make your Start-up visa application from outside the UK; however, you can also switch to this visa type from inside the UK from certain other visa categories.

Start-up visas are granted for 2 years. It is not possible to extend this visa, however, you may wish to apply to switch to an Innovator visa to continue your business activities in the UK. An Innovator visa lasts for 3 years, and you may be able to apply for settlement.

You can apply for dependants to join you in the UK on your Start-up visa; this can include your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, and children.

UK Startup Visa Application Advice and Guidance

How We Can Help You Apply For Your Startup Visa

Our immigration solicitors provide expert advice on all types of business immigration applications. Additionally, our team is best placed to support you through the often complex process of applying for a Start-up visa.

Get in touch

We offer a 30-minute consultations with one of our immigration solicitors. Our solicitors can call you over the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, we can hold a meeting in our offices. We do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable £95 fee per consultation.