Start-up visa UK - A Complete Guide

Start-Up Visa UK

Introduction to Start-up visa UK

The Start-up visa UK is suited for those entrepreneurs with high potential, looking to start a business in the UK for the first time. The aim of this is to attract ambitious people who will help drive the growth of the economy by setting up businesses that will in turn create high paying jobs for local residents. This will then benefit the economy.

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The applicants for a start-up visa UK do not need to show that they already have money to put into the business to get the start up visa. However, the applicant will need to meet the requirement of having a viable and scalable business idea. This visa will be valid for 2 years and does not directly lead to settlement. At the end of the 2 years, the person can switch to the innovator category based on the same business idea, as long as they can still be endorsed. The applicant will be able to apply from outside the UK or switch from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 2 and Tier 4 (General) subject to certain restrictions.


The applicants will need to fulfil certain requirements to qualify for the start-up visa UK.

One of the sets to be met are Part W3 which requires an applicant to be over 18 and pass an English language test at upper-intermediate (B2) for its predecessor.

The applicant for Entrepreneurship visa UK will also need to meet a maintenance requirement by showing they have held £945 in savings over 90 days before they apply. The applicant will not have to prove the evidence for maintenance funds if the endorsing body confirms they have awarded them funding of at least £945. However, if the applicant is outside the UK or been in the UK for less than 12 months then they should have at least £1270 to support themselves.

The other part, W5 requires the applicant to be endorsed by an organization that will assess the applicant’s business ideas. The endorsing body must be the UK approved.

Endorsement criteria

The Home Office has a published list of bodies that can endorse start-up visa UK applications. These bodies also help accelerate entrepreneurs build businesses that can scale. These organizations have the freedom to endorse whoever they like. They will have to endorse the criteria of – innovation, viability and scalability.

  • Innovation – does the applicant have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs/ or creates a competitive advantage?
  • Viability – does the applicant have, or are they actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business?
  • Scalability – is there evidence of structured planning and potential for job creation and growth into national markets?

      The endorsing bodies will check in on the entrepreneur’s progress 6 and 12 months into the visa. This is to ensure that the entrepreneur stays on track, increasing the chance of success. The endorsing body should also be satisfied that the applicant has made ‘reasonable progress’ with their business idea and continuing to work on it or pursuing different business ideas that are innovative, viable and scalable.  If the endorsing body is not satisfied with this, the Home Office will require the endorsing body to withdraw its endorsement.

Endorsement criteria

Other factors to be considered

The Home Office will consider other factors when the start-up visa UK application is submitted;

  • The applicant’s previous educational, work and immigration history
  • The evidence the applicant has submitted and the credibility
  • Declarations made to other government departments regarding the applicant’s previous employment and other activity in the UK
  • Any other relevant information.

The applicant could be asked to attend an interview by the Home Office and further evidence from the endorsing body.

Start-Up Visa UK Applications: How Legal Lex’s experienced Immigration lawyers can help

Our immigration lawyers regularly assist those who would like to apply for UK business visa around the world by providing pragmatic and reliable legal advice, preparing their individual case, taking care of the whole process and procedure for the UK business visa category, compliance, liaising with the endorsing bodies and securing the visas.

We have been trusted immigration advisors to successful Business Immigration and people around the world. We understand our clients and their business needs. We strive to provide reliable legal advice to our clients. Our experienced solicitors offer quality legal advice. We are proud to help and guide our clients through complex legal situations with innovative solutions.

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To discuss about your legal matter with one of our solicitors, book an instant video consultation or call us on 02084323076 for an instant legal advice.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legallex does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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