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Start Up Visa


The Start-Up Visa is tailored to assist talented individuals from overseas in nurturing their business ideas within the UK.

Being a graduate or having available funds is not a prerequisite for this visa. It caters to businesses in an early development stage, showcasing high potential. While applicants can have already established their business, it should not have commenced trading yet, with some exceptions.

Replacing the old Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, the Start-Up Visa and Innovator Visa routes are now in place. The visa is a one-time issuance and doesn’t offer an extension. However, eligible individuals might have the option to switch to the Innovator Visa category at the end of the two-year term.

As a high-value visa, the time spent under this visa contributes towards permanent settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

To qualify for the Start-Up Visa, applicants must secure an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. Additionally, the business idea should exhibit innovation, viability, and scalability.

For further details on Start-Up Visa eligibility, application assistance, and the support our immigration lawyers can provide, continue reading.

Who can Apply?

The Start-Up Visa is a sought-after category with stringent eligibility criteria, necessitating comprehensive evidence to establish suitability.

According to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), those eligible to apply encompass the following categories:

– Age 18 or over

– First-time establishment of a UK-based business (with exceptions for those on the former Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route)

– Endorsement from an eligible UK endorsing body, assessing the business idea for innovation, viability, and scalability

– Demonstration of intent to primarily work on the business in the UK if the visa application is approved

– Endorsement stamped within the last three months by the application date

– Capacity and expertise to engage in business activity related to the intended business idea

– Evidence of English language skills (up to B2 level on the CEFR Scale)

– Demonstrated ability to independently support oneself financially while residing in the UK

Applicants can be:

– Sole founders of the business

– Part of a team of entrepreneurs (each meeting visa requirements)

Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may need additional evidence to substantiate their eligibility to submit a visa application.

Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer is recommended for preparing a strong application.


Several requirements must be met for this route, emphasizing the need to ensure eligibility before submitting an application.

Beyond the outlined eligibility criteria, the endorsement requirement is a pivotal aspect of this visa.

The current list of endorsing bodies encompasses organizations that must approve your business idea before it becomes part of your visa application.

The Home Office specifies that these organizations can establish their own criteria regarding what qualifies as a genuine, original business idea meeting new or existing market needs.

Upon approval of your idea, the endorsing body will issue a letter for submission with your visa application. They will contact you after six, 12, and 24 months to assess your progress in alignment with your business goals.

Endorsing bodies evaluate your business idea based on the following criteria:

– Innovation, viability, and scalability with the goal of becoming an integrated, contributing enterprise in the UK

– A new business idea, initiated by the applicant (or joined as an ‘instrumental member’ of the founding team), before commencing trading

– The business may belong to any sector without restriction, but the applicant should possess the requisite knowledge, experience, and market awareness for business development.

While it is possible to work with another business outside the main idea, the endorsing body must be assured that you will dedicate sufficient time to developing the endorsed business.

Contact Us For More Information

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Contact Us For More Informtion

Fill out the form below to receive a confidential initial consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your application for a Start-up Visa faces refusal, you may have the option to request an administrative review, although appealing the rejection of a Start-up Visa is typically not feasible.

Here are the suggested steps to take in the event of a Start-up Visa rejection (please note that seeking advice from a qualified immigration lawyer for your specific case is crucial):

  1. Follow the application instructions meticulously before submission to enhance the chances of success.
  2. Upon receiving the rejection letter, identify the next course of action, such as administrative review.
  3. Submit your administrative review request promptly, adhering to the specified time-frame (either 14 or 28 days, depending on the application location).
  4. Pay the administrative review application fee (£80) and submit the request online.
  5. Await the issuance of a decision.
  1. Failure to provide the necessary evidence to meet immigration rule requirements.
  2. Grounds for refusal, such as admission to the UK being contrary to the public good, a disqualifying criminal record, breach of immigration rules, or providing misleading information on the application.

Given the complexities of Start-up Visas, collaborating with a dedicated immigration adviser is recommended to increase the likelihood of a successful application and minimise the risk of getting refused.

The Start-up Visa is issued on a one-time basis and cannot be extended. However, an alternative option is to switch to the Innovator Visa category.

To be eligible for switching to the Innovator Visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Attain the required level of English language proficiency.
  2. Satisfy the age requirement
  3. Meet the financial maintenance requirement.
  4. Possess a minimum of £50,000 for investment in the business, unless the business is already established.

To qualify for the switch, you need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you have maintained a minimum of £1,270 in your bank account continuously for at least 28 days before applying or switching to this visa.

In certain cases, you may have the option to form a partnership of Innovator applicants, subject to specific criteria.

Our array of services for the Start-Up Visa includes:

  1. Provision of initial advice to discuss the Startup Visa requirements.
  2. Completion of application forms in their entirety.
  3. Evaluation of the likelihood of endorsement for your business plan.
  4. Assistance with the development and submission of your business plan.
  5. Comprehensive verification of your documents to ensure eligibility.
  6. Drafting a Letter of Representation outlining the merits of your case to the Home Office and referencing UK case laws that support your application.
  7. Continuous communication with the Home Office throughout the process.
  8. Preparation for the Home Office interview.

For advice tailored to your current situation or to determine your eligibility, reach out to us today at 0333 0124 253 or make an online enquiry. Our office is conveniently located in London. Use our office finder to locate our branch.