Start-Up Visa

The Start-up Visa was designed to support talented overseas individuals to develop their idea for a business in the UK. It is not a requirement to be a graduate or to have available funds in order to apply for this visa.

The category is for businesses in an early stage of development that can demonstrate high potential. It is permissible for individuals to have already set up their business, but it should not have commenced trading yet (with some exceptions).

The Start-up visa category is aimed at new entrepreneurs starting their first UK business and has no requirements for initial capital investment. To qualify for a visa, applicants must first obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body confirming that their business is innovative, viable and scalable. Applicants who are successful are granted 2 years leave. After a set period of time, holders of Start-up visas may be able to progress to the Innovator category in order to extend their stay and further develop their businesses in the UK.

In April 2019 the UK Start-up visa category opened to new applicants. This category is aimed at aspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs looking to set up a business in the UK for the first time. The key requirement for the Start-up visa is the same as the Innovator visa, which is to obtain an endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body. All applications will be assessed for Innovation, Viability and Scalability.

Innovation – The applicant must have a genuine, original business plan that is in line with new or existing market needs and/or has a competitive advantage.

Viability – The applicant is actively developing or already has the required skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to run their business successfully.

Scalability – There needs to be evidence of structured planning and of job creation prospects as well as potential to grow into national markets.

The initial visa is granted for 2 years, during this period of leave, applicants will be expected to dedicate most of their time to developing their businesses. Applicants can also undertake other work outside of their businesses in order to support themselves.

After 2 years, Start-up visa holders can change to the Innovator visa category in order to extend their stay and further develop their businesses in the UK.

Would You Like To Know More? <- links to our Immigration Advisor partners the Immigration Advice Service here in the UK.

Updated – July 2022