4 August 2022

Who can apply for a start up visa

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Who can apply for a start up visa

The start-up visa category is aimed at entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time. In March 2019, this visa category was opened for aspiring businessmen wanting to set up their first UK business

What is a start-up visa?

A startup visa is a new route that allows ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EEA and Switzerland to establish their businesses. It replaces the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa program.

Under this route, the applicant does not have to be a graduate or have an initial capital investment. To qualify for the visa, the applicant needs a business idea approved by the endorsing body.

This visa is granted for 2 years, after the expiry, the holder can extend their stay in the Innovator visa category.

Who is the start-up visa suitable for?

This visa category is mainly aimed at early-stage entrepreneurs who wish to start their business in the UK for the first time. Importantly, start-up visa applicants will not have previously set up their business in the UK.

Mostly, it is targeted at first-time entrepreneurs with a scalable business idea supported by the Home Office approved endorsing body. The endorsing body can be Higher Education Institutions and business organisations.

Who can apply for a start-up visa?

To qualify, the aspiring businessman has to satisfy the following requirements

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age
  • They are not European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland citizens
  • The applicant has not previously set up business in the UK with the exception of leaver under Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • The applicant holds an endorsing letter from an authorised body that has assessed the business idea for innovation, viability, and scalability
  • Applicants will dedicate most of their time to establishing the business
  • An endorsement letter from an authorised body was issued no more than three months prior to the date of start-up visa application
  • The applicant meets the English language requirements (CEFR Level B2)
  • The applicant has to prove that he can support himself financially during the stay by showing he has at least £1270, plus £285 for the dependent partner, £315 for the first child, and £200 each for the additional child.

The exact requirements depend on the specifics of the case. It is advised to apply for a UK start-up visa three months before the travel.

Endorsement Criteria For Start-Up Visa

The start-up visa application will be assessed by the authorising body to satisfy that the business idea meets all the following requirements

  • Innovation – The applicant has a genuine, original business idea in accordance with the new or existing market needs.
  • Viability – The aspiring entrepreneur has the required skill, knowledge, and experience to run the business successfully.
  • Scalability – The business plan has potential for job creation and brings wider benefit to the UK economy.

Required Supporting Documents

  • Endorsement letter from the authorised body
  • Business plan
  • Passport or valid travel documents
  • Bank statement
  • Evidence of English language fluency

Applying for a UK start-up visa

The UK start-up visa applications can be made online, however, the applicant has to go to the nearest visa application center to have fingerprints and photographs taken.

If the application is approved, you can collect a biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you plan to travel to the UK.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

Awais has an extensive experience of advising high net-worth individuals on all types of immigration matters, ranging from investor and entrepreneur visa applications to appeals and judicial reviews in the Immigration Tribunal and the High Court.

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