New applicants are no longer eligible for this route. Those who currently possess entry clearance or leave to enter or remain under this category can switch to the Innovator Founder Visa or seek indefinite leave to remain if they are eligible.

Start-Up Visa UK

When the UK government announced the commencement of the Start-up Visa in March 2019, the then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid declared the new immigration route would ensure the UK would continue to attract the “best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs”.

Unlike the Innovator Visa, the Start-up Visa provides entry or leave to remain for people who are at the early stage of setting up a UK business and may not have much entrepreneurial experience. 

As one of London’s most respected immigration law firms, our business immigration team can assist you in applying for a Start-up Visa.  If your ambition is to settle permanently in the UK, we can advise you on switching visas after your Start-up Visa expires.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Start-up Visa UK?

A key component of obtaining a Start-up Visa is being endorsed by an approved Endorsing Body.

Every application is measured against the following three requirements:

  • Innovation – is the business idea original, and is there a business plan available that shows the venture meets an existing market need or is a legitimate competitor in a particular sector?
  • Viability – does the applicant have the required skills, experience, and knowledge of the UK market to make the business a success?
  • Scalability – is there substantial proof that the proposed business can grow and create genuine employment for UK-settled workers?

We will help you to ensure your Start-up Visa application demonstrates that you meet these three criteria.

Other eligibility requirements:

  • You need to speak English to a B2 level. 
  • You need to show you have at least £945 in your bank account and these funds must have been available at least 90 days before you apply.

Documents you will need to include in your application are:

  • A letter from the endorsing body, stating how your business meets the merits of innovation, viability, and scalability.  
  • Bank statements prove you have the required £945 available.
  • Your passport or a valid travel document.
  • Proof of your English language ability.

Do I need a business plan to get a Start-up Visa?

Anyone starting a business needs a comprehensive business plan.  As a Start-up Visa applicant, we suggest you have two – one to present to investors/lenders and one that sets out your business proposal to the Endorsing Body.

The business plan aimed at the Endorsing Body needs to illustrate clearly how your business idea meets the criteria of innovation, viability, and scalability.  

To be selected as an endorsing body, the institution has to show the Home Office that it either:

  • Has a track record of supporting entrepreneurs, including those from other countries; or
  • It has the support of a government department as being an institution that is linked clearly to the department’s policy objectives.

The Endorsing Body is your business plan’s audience.  We can ensure your business plan is detailed and accurate, and that it demonstrates that you understand the UK market for your product or service, the UK employment laws, and the regulatory requirements in your sector.

Our team can assist you in preparing your business plan, ensuring it demonstrates your company is innovative, viable, and scalable.

Can I bring my family to the UK with me?

You can bring your dependent family members to the UK.  Dependent family members are defined as your spouse or partner and any children under the age of 18 years.  You need to show proof of £630 in funds per dependant.  This is on top of the £945 you need to have to support yourself for the first month or so of your stay.  

How long does a Start-up Visa last?

Your Start-up Visa will allow you to stay in the UK for two years.  After that, you must either leave the country or switch to another visa, the most common being the Innovator Visa.

Your Endorsing Body will assign you a mentor who will monitor your progress and check in with you twice a year.  Their feedback will play a role in deciding whether you can progress to an Innovator Visa.

To be eligible for an Innovator Visa, you will need to have at least £50,000 to invest in your business and you will re-apply for endorsement.

Let us help you on your journey to launching a successful UK-based business.  Our team will take the time to listen to you and work with you throughout the two years of your Start-up Visa, giving you the best chance of ultimately obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Established in 2008, Garth Coates Solicitors is a leading Immigration Law Firm that can provide professional legal advice to ensure that your Application satisfies the strict requirements of the Immigration Rules.

Our team of legal professionals offers comprehensive and considered advice to enable our clients to make informed choices. We strongly believe that our clients deserve the best; we take our responsibilities very seriously to ensure that client satisfaction is achieved by providing a professional yet friendly legal service. We aim to resolve all immigration matters brought to us by working diligently and together with our clients, keeping them informed of the progress of their case at all stages. Our outstanding success rate is maintained thanks to the high standard of our work.

If you would like us to assist you with your Immigration Matter, kindly click here to leave us an Enquiry. Alternatively, we can be reached via telephone at (00 44) (0)20 7799 1600 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (UTC+00.00 London) every Monday to Friday.