Applying for your startup visa

If you are seeking to establish a new business in the UK, our immigration team can help you apply for a startup visa. We will be by you every step of the way, answering any questions you may have and giving you and your career the best chance of success.

Who the UK startup visa is for

The UK startup visa is a category for people from outside the EEA and Switzerland who want to start a new business in the UK. It has replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa ever since the 29th of March 2019.

It is aimed at anyone who wants to start a business, rather than just university graduates like the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa was. Whilst you are in the UK with a startup visa, you can carry out paid work for another company whilst you build your own business.

The startup visa is valid for two years and does not lead directly to UK settlement. However, after the end of the two years you will be able to apply for further leave to remain under the new innovator visa category if you wish to keep developing your business. This can then lead to settlement after another three years living in the UK.

Requirements for the startup visa UK

In order to be accepted for a UK startup visa, you must be able to show that you:

  • Are aged 18 or over
  • Haven’t previously started a business in the UK – unless you previously had leave under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa category
  • Have been endorsed by an approved UK body
  • Genuinely intend to undertake the work stated in your application, and are capable of doing so
  • Reach the required level of English language
  • Have at least £945 in savings to support yourself
  • Will not need to access public funds such as benefits whilst you are in the UK

In order to get endorsed on your application, a reputable, registered UK body will first assess how viable and innovative your business idea is.

There are currently no requirements for you to have investment funds, although it’s worth bearing in mind that the Home Office will need to be satisfied that you are capable of establishing your business without government help.

Our immigration solicitors based in Manchester can help you establish if you are eligible to apply for a startup visa, and can help you compile your application if you are.

Who can apply for the startup visa UK?

You can apply for the UK startup visa as:

  • A university or equivalent higher education institution graduate,
  • The sole founder of your business, or
  • A member of an entrepreneurial team

You also have to be from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland in order to apply for this visa.

Before being accepted for the startup visa, your credibility will be considered. Your endorsement, previous education, work and immigration history, and the evidence you submitted, will all be looked at.

You can also request on your application that your partner or children accompany you as family members, or they can apply separately.

How to apply for a UK startup visa

You can apply online by yourself or through a qualified immigration expert. Because this is a brand new business visa category as of March 2019, it is worth enlisting the help of professionals in order to ensure the best chance of success.

You can apply at the earliest three months before you are due to travel to the UK. The fees to apply from outside the UK are £363 or £308, depending on where you’re a registered citizen, and £493 or £438 if you are switching from another visa category inside the UK.


Start Up Visa UK


UK Startup visa application advice and guidance

How we can help you apply for your startup visa

Our immigration solicitors know how exciting the prospect of starting a new business in the UK is, so want to help you do that as smoothly as possible.

We can answer any questions you may have, and ensure that you have the best chance at getting your UK startup visa granted so that you can focus on growing your business.

Get in touch

A 30-minute consultation with one of our immigration solicitors can be held in our offices or over the phone or Skype. We do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable £95 fee per consultation.