Startup Visa

July 28, 2023

The Start-up route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time – it must be something that is different from anything else on the market. The person must have an innovate, viable, and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body approved by the Home Office.

The Start-up Visa is not a route to settlement in the UK. A person may be eligible to progress from a Start-up Visa to the Innovator Visa, which is a route to settlement. Unlike the Innovator Visa, there is no minimum financial investment requirement for a Start-up Visa.

How do I qualify?

You must:

  • Be endorsed by an UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.
  • You must demonstrate that your business is a new idea – you cannot join in a business that is already trading.
  • Evidence that it is innovative – you must have an original business idea which will be something different from the market.
  • Show that the business is viable – it has potential for growth.

Other key requirements

  • Before you apply you need to have your business or business idea assessed by an endorsing body. They will provide you with an endorsement letter if your business is viable.
  • You must satisfy the English language requirement for the visa
  • You may to provide your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test.
  • You must be at least 18 years old; and
  • You must be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK. You need to have had at least £1,270.00 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.

How long can I stay?

You can stay for 2 years if you come to the UK on a Start-up visa or switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK

You cannot apply to extend this visa.

You may be eligible to switch to an Innovator visa if you set up a business while on a Start-up visa and:

  • Your endorsing body assessed and agreed to it
  • It is active, trading and sustainable
  • You have day to day involvement in it.

How much does it cost?

Visa application fee

  • Outside the UK – £378
  • Inside the UK – £508

You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.

You will also have to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge as part of your application which is set at £624 per annum for an adult, and £470 per annum for a child.

Things you can and cannot do

With a Start-up visa you can:

  • Bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • Work in another job, as well as working for your business
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK
  • You can also switch to this visa from some other visa categories.

You cannot:

  • Apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • Work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • Settle in the UK on this visa
  • If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Start-up visa.

How do I apply?

You must apply online on the website.

If you require assistance with applying for the Start-up Visa, please contact us for a quote.

Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and British nationality law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps to obtain your visa. Get in touch today.