Start-up Visa

The new Start-up visa route opened to new applicants at the end of March 2019 and is a successor of Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. If you are looking to establish a new business in the UK, our team are specialists at assisting clients through the application process.

This new category of visa aims to appeal to non-European entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in the UK but importantly it does not require financial investment, nor even a university degree. 

The business must be viable, scalable and an innovative business idea. The business idea and plan also has to be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body.

Main Features of a Start-up Visa UK

  • The flexibility of working outside your own business to support yourself
  • No initial funding required
  • Visa is granted for 2 years
  • You can bring your dependant family members i.e. spouse (husband/wife) or any children under 18 to the UK.

What are the Requirements?

The Start-up visa sits alongside the UK’s new Innovator Visa and has common requirements with that route, requiring an individual to establish that they have a business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable and you must:

  • Be 18 years of age.
  • Receive endorsement from an approved body listed on the government website before applying for the visa.
  • Rules require that the endorsing body remains in contact at 6, 12 and 24 months from the grant of leave; they must inform the Home Office if contact is missed, or if an individual isn’t making reasonable progress with the business.
  • Present a credible business plan to the Home Office and endorsing body which demonstrates innovation, viability, and scalability. The start-up route does not require any jobs to be created, unlike the innovator category, and the old entrepreneur route it replaced.
  • Hold at least £945 in a personal bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.
  • Satisfy the English Language requirement to at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Applicants who are already in the UK with the following visa categories can switch to Start up visa from inside the UK:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 4 (General) if certain requirements are met
  • A visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur.

What are the Endorsement Criteria?

Before applying for a UK Start-up visa, all applicants are required to secure an endorsement from a specified body.

You are required to present a detailed business plan to the endorsing body, together with any other documentation which is requested to prove that the visa requirements are satisfied:

Innovation – You will need to display that your business plan is innovative, by meeting market needs or creating a competitive advantage in an existing market.
Viability – You will need to show you have or are developing the skills to run a successful business.
Scalability– You must present evidence that the business has sufficient growth opportunity through structured planning.

Application Fees

For applicants applying from outside the UK, you must pay £363.00 towards the application fee. For any dependants using with you, there is an additional fee of £363.00 per dependent. However, if you are transferring into this category from inside the UK, you must pay £493.00 for yourself and each dependent. 

In addition to the Home Office fee, an Immigration Health Surcharge fee is payable towards your two years of the grant of leave in the UK.

Procedures and Timeframes

Start-up visa decisions are usually made within 3 weeks. You can apply up to 3 months before your planned travel date. You can also check the current processing time of the UK Visa Applications online.

Can I Extend the Start-up Visa?

The Start-up visa is granted for a maximum of 2 years and cannot be extended. After 24 months, you must demonstrate enough progress to meet the requirements of the UK Innovator Visa; if not, you can apply for the UK Innovator Visa with any other idea that meets the requirements. 

An applicant can also switch to an alternative visa and can ultimately secure settlement in the UK if they meet the Home Office criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain. We provide our clients with a one-stop business immigration service and work with other consultants and advisors as required to ensure your visa application is successful.

We provide our clients with a one-stop business immigration service and work with other consultants and advisors as required to ensure your visa application is successful.


What If My Application is Refused?

You must take advice and submit a strong application the first time, as the refusal of your Tier 2 ICT Visa does not attract rights of appeal.

You can only resubmit a new application if there has been a simple case working error or the supporting evidence has not been considered properly. We can apply for a ‘pre-licence error correction’ on your organisation’s behalf.
The only option then is to challenge the decision via an administrative review or judicial review.
Our team can expertly advise and represent you in challenging a decision.

There's no better time than now

People rely on us, and we pride ourselves on our client-centred advocacy and representation.

Our Expertise

Our specialist Start-up Visa solicitors will be by your side throughout all stages of your visa application. They will discuss your circumstances and present you with options on how to proceed.

Legal advice should always be sought before an application is submitted, the case must be argued well and in detail to show evidence that you meet the requirements.

Why Choose Us?

Our solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with all types of visa matters. They will expertly guide you in all aspects of your immigration and are ideally positioned to explain any complexities and can represent your position robustly in order to achieve your desired outcome. We have helped many individuals across the country through the sensitive and complex process of visa applications.

How to Get in Contact

Please call us on 01234 350 244 or email us at for further information and advice about our family visa application services. We will happily provide you with a free initial discussion about your individual circumstances.

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