A UK Start-up visa was introduced not so long ago to replace a UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. It is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who are starting and who want to enter the British market. The Home Office hopes that the immigration route will attract ambitious businesspeople from all over the world.
There are no investment requirements for start-up entrepreneurs, but they must speak English well and their business must be beneficial to the economy. They can manage a business alone or set up a partnership.
A UK Start-up visa does not lead to an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British citizenship. However, it has several other benefits.
A UK Start-up visa offers an opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs to set up and develop a business in the UK and on the international market. It gives access to a thriving business environment, government support and transparent legislation, especially when it comes to taxation. All these will help you grow your professional expertise and develop skills necessary for career and business enhancement. Start-ups are favoured by banks and HMRC. Here are some key advantages of this immigration route:
To apply for a UK Start-up visa, you must be at least 18 years old and have your business idea endorsed by a relevant body. The latter must issue an endorsement letter confirming that your business idea is new, innovative, and viable. Here is the list of all endorsing bodies and guidance on working with them.
Apart from obtaining an endorsement letter, you must also meet the following requirements:
All documents must be in English. All translations must be notarised.
The UK is interested in attracting new businesses and seeing new unique goods and services on its market. To control start-ups more efficiently, the Home Office has appointed endorsing bodies. They include respected colleges and universities, investment funds, professional associations and a few other companies that the Home Office has entrusted to assess the quality of new business projects.
An endorsement letter is a confirmation by an approved body that your business idea meets all the required criteria of innovativeness, viability, and scalability. The letter is your main document for a UK Start-up visa application. When you apply for endorsement, you should provide all the information that will help your endorsing body assess your business and approve it. A business plan may come in handy here.
Here are the main evaluation criteria for endorsement:
To cut a long story short, when applying for a UK Start-up visa, you need to do the following:
Your endorsement letter must date no longer than three months before the application for a UK Start-up visa.
Imperial & Legal advisors will help you draft a business plan, choose an appropriate endorsing body and get an endorsement letter on time.
Six or 12 months later, the start-up entrepreneur will have to go through endorsement again. An endorsing body must ensure that you manage your business properly and achieve the set goals. In case any violations are detected, an endorsement letter can be revoked and you will have to either find a new endorser or leave the country.
You have three months after getting your endorsement letter to either apply for a UK Start-up visa or switch to another visa category in the UK.
If you are outside the country, you must visit a visa centre to submit biometrics and have your photo taken.
When you apply for a UK Start-up visa, you must pay an application fee. Its amount depends on the number of your dependants and your current location:
Since it is a long-term visa, a health surcharge must also be paid; it depends on the number of applicants and the duration of your stay in the country. Each applicant must pay £624 a year.
You will not get your application fee back if your application is refused. To submit a new application, you will have to pay again. The health surcharge, however, will be refunded.
Imperial & Legal experienced advisors will analyse your case in detail, help you prepare all the documents and fill in the application correctly to avoid any delays and additional costs.
If you apply for a UK Start-up visa outside the UK, it normally takes up to three weeks for the application to be processed. If you apply from inside the UK, it will take more time, up to eight weeks.
To comply with all deadlines and avoid additional requests from the Home Office, you must prepare all the documents and fill in the application properly. If you are in a hurry, you can pay for an accelerated procedure.
A UK Start-up visa is issued for two years and cannot be extended, so it does not lead to an Indefinite Leave to Remain or citizenship. However, if you meet all the requirements, you can switch to a UK Innovator visa.
To get a UK Innovator visa, you must meet the following requirements:
Imperial & Legal advisors suggest that you start an application to switch to a new visa category 8-10 weeks prior to your UK Start-up visa expiration date.
Imperial & Legal immigration advisors can help you obtain a UK Start-up visa and relocate to the UK. Our experts practise an individual approach to save the client’s time, stress and money. With Imperial & Legal, you are only four simple steps away from your UK Start-up visa.
There are no such requirements for foreign start-up entrepreneurs. It does not matter whether a person has a professional qualification or has just come up with a brilliant business idea.
However, an endorsing body will have to ensure that an applicant has the required business skills or at least is developing them.
UK Start-up visa does not mean that you must set up a new company; this is a misconception. However, you cannot become one of the directors of an existing UK-based company.
There are no restrictions concerning dormant companies. Even if you have registered a company with the Companies House, but have not traded yet, you can still apply for a UK Start-up visa.
You cannot switch to a UK Start-up visa if you are currently staying in the UK on the following routes:
Apart from that, if you have an endorsed business project, you can apply for a UK Start-up visa.
Yes, they do. To get a UK Start-up visa, the main applicant’s dependants (spouses, partners or children) have to submit separate applications. However, it is a formality; all the applications will usually be submitted together.
For dependants, it is important to indicate the main applicant’s application reference that is issued automatically and used in all the emails and communications from the Home Office.
If your endorsement letter is revoked and you obtain a new one, your Start-up visa will not give you another two years of stay in the UK. You will be limited by the duration of your first visa.
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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