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UK Start-up visa

Start-up visa is an ideal solution for ambitious entrepreneurs who wish to start their first business in the United Kingdom.

What is UK Start-up visa?

Start-up visa has replaced Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. It is aimed for new entrepreneurs that are willing to set up a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants who are already in the UK can switch from other categories such as Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, Visitor visa as a prospective entrepreneur, Tier 2 and Tier 4 visas (subject to restrictions).

There is no investment required for start-up entrepreneurs, but you must speak good English and your business must prove to be useful to the overall economy. You can run a company alone or, if you have a partner that you trust and want to co-direct it with, you can form a team; however, you must apply for endorsement separately.

Benefits of Start-up visa

Start-up visa a chance for foreign businessmen to start and grow their business in the United Kingdom and beyond. It is a thriving entrepreneurial environment supported by the government and benefiting from straightforward legal and taxation systems. This route will give you enough experience and skills to build your career and business anywhere, anytime. Start-up get discounts from banks and the taxman.

Requirements for UK 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 can do it by having it assessed first and then endorsed by a relevant body. A list of these bodies and a guidance can be found here.

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

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

Start-up visa is valid for 2 years and it cannot be extended, but you can choose to switch to other categories, such as Innovator visa, provided you meet relevant requirements. To be eligible to apply for permanent residence and British citizenship, you would first need to switch to another visa that leads to settlement.

How to get Start-up visa endorsement?

Endorsement is a confirmation from an approved body that your business idea passes all the required criteria of viability, scalability and innovativeness. It comes in the form of a letter and is your main document for a Start-up visa application. When applying for endorsement, make sure you provide all the information that will help your endorser to assess your business and approve it. A business plan tends to come in handy here.

Evaluation criteria for endorsement


The market is saturated with various products and services. Your task is to come up with something original and inventive that would find its customer on the UK and international markets and generate profit.


You must show that you have all the means and tools in your hands to make the business succeed. The growth potential and ability to survive are key factors that will be assessed.


You are expected to be able to expand and grow your business in a competitive environment. You must show you can increase sales by adding resources.

Follow-up evaluations

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.

Need expert immigration advice?

We have been helping businessmen worldwide to obtain a Start-up visa and relocate to the United Kingdom. Contact us to start your application today.

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