Start-up Visa UK
Is the Start-Up Visa UK for me?
If you have played a key role in developing a new early-stage business concept that you wish to introduce to the UK, and you have not previously established any business in the UK which has commenced trading, you may be eligible to apply for a Start-Up visa.
What do I need to do before applying for a Start-Up Visa?
You will need to pitch your business concept to a Home Office approved Endorsing Body. Endorsing bodies consider early-stage proposals from prospective entrepreneurs and provide long-term support to those they endorse. Some may offer investment in exchange for a share in the business.
If the Endorsing Body is satisfied in your potential and that your business idea is innovative, viable and scalable, they will issue you with an endorsement letter. You can then use this endorsement letter to apply for a Start-Up visa.
If you are endorsed, the endorsing body will stay in regular contact to check on your progress. The endorsing body must be satisfied you are continuing to work on your business ventures. An endorsing body may withdraw your endorsement if they consider progress to be unsatisfactory or find breaches of the conditions attached to the visa.
Are there any additional requirements that need to be met?
In addition to obtaining an endorsement letter, you will need to show that:
- you have not previously established any business in the UK which has commenced trading (unless you were previously granted leave as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or a student on the doctorate extension scheme);
- You have additional funds available to maintain yourself and your family in the UK; and
- You meet the English language requirement (intermediate standard).
Unlike the Innovator visa, you do not need to demonstrate access to funds to invest in your UK business. However, your application should indicate the capital required to make the business viable and how you expect to obtain this investment.
The Home Office must also be satisfied that the proposed business is indeed innovative, viable and scalable, and that you have, or are currently developing, the requisite skills, qualifications, and entrepreneurial experience to lead the business. You may be asked to provide a business plan to demonstrate how your business will satisfy these requirements. The Home Office may also require you to attend an interview to assess whether your application is credible.
How long can I stay in the UK?
Start-Up visas are granted for a period of no more than two years (non-extendable).
The Start-up route does not itself lead to settlement, however, it is possible to switch into the Innovator visa (or other categories) which does lead to settlement.
What kind of activities can I undertake in the UK as a Start-Up visa holder?
As a Start-Up visa holder, you will be expected to spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing your business venture. However, Start-Up visa holders are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work) outside of their own business(es), except for employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).
Start-Up visa holders are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions.
Can I bring my family with me?
The Start-Up visa allows you to bring with you to the UK a dependent spouse or partner and dependent children who are under the age of 18 at the time of the initial application.
For more information about us and our Corporate Immigration services please contact a member of the team who can answer any questions and guide you through the process.