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UK Start-up VisaUK Start-up VisaUK Start-up Visa

UK Start-up Visa

  • Suitable when establishing a UK business for the first time
  • One-off visa valid for 2 years without a direct visa extension available
  • Option to extend under the Innovator Visa and qualify for ILR three years later
  • No investment fund requirement
  • Approval by an endorsing body is required
  • Expert assistance on your Start-Up Visa application


The UK Start-Up Visa is aimed at new entrepreneurs launching their first UK business and carries no requirement for initial capital investment. Successful applicants are granted a 2-year visa after which they may be able to progress to the Innovator category in order to further develop their business(es) within the UK.


The UK Start-Up Visa is a new category that replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa program. Applications are assessed for innovation, viability and scalability and must be accompanied by an Endorsement Letter from a Home Office approved Endorsing Body.



Entry clearance applications


The Start-Up Visa requirements may be met by the following criteria:


  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • Applicant may not be a Swiss citizen or from the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Applicant must not have previously set up a UK business
  • Applicant must be endorsed by a relevant Endorsing Body
  • Applicant must have sufficient personal savings in order to reside in the UK
  • Applicant must meet the English language requirement


Key Benefits:


  • There is no investment fund requirement, however applicants may require investment funds as a condition of endorsement
  • Applicants may bring their family members, including a spouse/partner and children under the age of 18


Applicants may transfer to the Start-Up Visa category should any of the following apply:


  • Applicant is already resident in the UK
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) program
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from any Tier 2 Visa program
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
  • Applicant is a UK visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur


Processing time:


  • Applicants may apply up to 3 months prior to travel to the UK. To expedite the decision-making process, applicants may pay for a Priority Service



Extension of Stay and Settlement


The Start-Up Visa is a one-off visa without the option for extension after 2 years or qualification for further leave to remain under this category.


However, Start-Up Visa holders may switch to the Innovator Visa program in order to extend their stay in the UK and facilitate further business development. The Innovator Visa is valid for a 3-year period. After 3 years there is an option to extend the visa prior to expiry, or to qualify for ILR. Should a 5-year period have passed since an applicant first entered the UK through the Start-Up Visa programme, they may well become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (UK settlement).


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