The new Start-up Visa route has been introduced to replace the previous Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa.
The Start-up visa category is for new entrepreneurs from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland seeking to establish a business in the United Kingdom (‘UK’).
Similar to the Innovator visa, applicants will be required to have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body.
How can your business meet the requirements of being Innovative, Viable and Scalable?
The business idea must be genuine, innovative and inventive. There must also be a market requirement for the business idea and for the business to create a competitive advantage.
Applicants will be required to establish that they have the relevant knowledge, skills and experience to successfully set-up and run a business in the UK.
A business plan which will be required as part of the application to show that the business can be profitable in the UK.
Applicants will need to establish how the business will contribute to the UK economy e.g. by job creations and growth in the UK and international markets.
What is an endorsing body?
An endorsing body is an organisation which has been approved by UK Visas & Immigration (‘UKVI’) to endorse Start-up visa applications.
Endorsing bodies include universities, incubators, accelerators, government bodies and business development agencies. The main requirement of an endorsing body is they must have a track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs.
All applicants for entry clearance or leave to remain must obtain an endorsement letter from an approved UKVI endorsement body
Please click on the link below for a list of all current endorsing bodies.
Endorsing bodies will be required to confirm that the business ventures will be innovative, viable and scalable.
Apart from issuing endorsements to new businesses, endorsing bodies will also be required to stay contact businesses at the 6-month, 12-month and 24-month marks, also known as ‘check-points’.
It will also be the responsibility of the endorsing bodies to inform UKVI if they are not satisfied with the progress of a business or if the business has breached of their visa conditions.
What investments funds are required for a Start-up Visa?
Unlike the Innovator Visa, there is no minimum financial investment requirement for a Start-up Visa.
Other key requirements
All applicants must be 18 years of age at the date of the application.
English Language requirement
Applicants must the English language requirement by passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level B2 in speaking and listening or have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.
However, nationals of majority English speaking countries e.g. USA, Australia, Canada, will not be required to meet the English language requirement.
Applicants will be required to show personal savings of at least £945 in a bank account for 90 consecutive days before submitting the application.
Can I apply as part of a team?
Multiple teams are permitted under the Start-up route, meaning the applicant does not need to be the sole founder of the proposed business.
However, each team member will be required to receive their own individual endorsements from approved endorsing bodies.
How long can you stay on a Tier 1 Innovator visa?
Successful applicants are only allowed a maximum of 2 years under this route.
Any previous leave held as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa will also count towards the maximum 2-year limit.
After 2 years in the UK, applicants will be required to switch into another visa category e.g. the Innovator Visa route.
If you require further advice in relation to the Start-up Visa, please feel free to contact us on 0161 826 6922.