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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

Start-up visa

This visa replaced Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa from 29 March 2019. Applicants who are in the UK already can switch from other categories such as Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, Visit visa as a prospective entrepreneur, Tier 2 and Tier 4 (subject to restrictions).

Start-up visa is accessible to new entrepreneurs that are willing to set up a business in the UK for the first time. Application can be submitted either by a single applicant or with other businessmen.

Eligibility for Start-up visa

If you wish to establish a business in the UK and you have never done it before in this country, you must be least 18 years of age and you must prove that your business idea or business is viable, innovative and scalable. You do it by having it assessed first and then endorsed by a relevant body.


The Home Office has a list of approved bodies that you need to apply to in order to get an endorsement letter.

Six and twelve months after your visa is granted, you will have to get in touch with your endorsing body and update them on your progress and confirm the compliance with all the requirements.

If the endorsing body withdraws your endorsement before your visa expires or it is removed from the approved list, you need to get a new endorsement and re-apply. Your visa will then be granted for the remaining period out of the total two years.

Other criteria

Apart from providing an endorsement letter, you must submit and show the following:

  • Ability to maintain yourself and dependants.
  • Knowledge of English to the B2 Level.
  • Tuberculosis test (if applicable).
  • Criminal record certificate(s).

Visa validity: 2 years.

Start-up team

If you have partners and you want to co-direct the same company, you can form a team; however, you must apply for endorsement separately.

Requirements for Start-up visa extension

This visa is not subject to extension. You can switch from Start-up visa to other categories such as an Innovator route.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Start-up visa does not lead to settlement per se. However, you can switch from this route to the Innovator category and apply for ILR in 5 years from the first entry on the Start-up visa.

Citizenship and passport

You and your family can apply for citizenship in 1 year after settlement under immigration routes that you switch to from the Start-up visa.

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