Overview and Eligibility

The UK Start Up Visa is a new visa category that will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa program.  Because of the endorsement requirement this visa may be difficult to come under at the moment.

You’re eligible for this visa if:

  • You are not an European Economic Area EEA or Switzerland citizen.
  • You want to set up a business in the UK*. To set up a business in Britain you must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

The Start-up Visa category is reserved for early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs starting a business in Britain for the first time.

The earliest that you can apply for a UK Start-up Visa is three months before you travel. It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.

*Unlike the UK Innovator Visa, you do not need to invest funds initially. However, you must not have previously set up a business in the UK.

The UK Start-up Visa will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Programme, which closes to new applicants on 6 July, 2019. New applications for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa will be accepted up until 5 July, 2019.

UK immigration rules published on 7 March, 2019 describe the Start-up Visa as: “An expanded version of the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.”

Start-Up Visa Requirements

UK immigration rules specify the following, minimum requirements to be eligible for the Start-up Visa:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Your business or business idea must undergo an assessment by an approved body
  • You must meet English language requirements
  • You must provide evidence of personal savings to support yourself during your time in the UK

For more information about the requirements you need to meet to apply for a Start-up Visa, contact Workpermit.com

Your stay in the UK

You can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up Visa and you can bring family members, including a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18. You will spend the majority of your time in the UK developing your business, but you can work outside your business to support yourself.

There is no option to extend your Start-up Visa after two years, but you can switch to the Innovator Visa to extend your stay in the UK and develop your business. The Innovator Visa is valid for three years, with the option to extend when it is due to expire.

After five years, you could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (UK settlement).

Applying for a UK Start Up Visa

You can only apply for the Start-up Visa, online**. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Start-up Visa UK application.

**If you live in North Korea, you cannot apply online. Contact Workpermit.com for more information on how to apply for the Start-up Visa.

To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement. Most UK universities are endorsing bodies, along with the following business sponsors:

• The Bakery
• Bethnal Green Ventures
• Blue Orchid
• Capital Enterprise
• CyLon
• Deep Science Ventures
• DRS Business Solutions
• Emerge Education
• Emsworth Corporate Planning (ECP)
• First Corporate Finance
• Founders Factory
• Fortunis Capital Ltd
• Ignite
• Innovate Britain
• Innovator International (powered by Geminus)
• International Innovation Hub Ltd
• Invest Northern Ireland
• Kollider
• Level 39
• MDR LAB
• MedCity
• NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
• Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator
• The Royal Society of Edinburgh
• Scottish EDGE
• Seedcamp
• SeedHaus
• SETsquared Bristol
• Startup Funding Club
• Tech Nation
• Techstars London
• Tech X
• Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator
• Wayra
• Zinc

Those endorsing your Start-up Visa application must be ‘reasonably satisfied that you will spend much of your working time in Britain developing your business venture,’ in accordance with UK immigration rules.

UK Immigration Health Surcharge

When you apply for a Start-up Visa, you will have to pay the UK Immigration Health Surcharge of £400 per year.

  • UK Visa Tier Points-Based Immigration System
    • Tier 1 Visa
      • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
      • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
      • Tier 1 Investor Visa
    • Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers
      • Tier 2 General Visa
      • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Points System
      • UK Visa Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship
      • Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application – How to apply
      • UK Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List
      • Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
      • Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Resident Labour Market Test
      • Tier 2 visa switching from another visa scheme
      • Tier 2 Visa Government fees from 29 March 2019
    • Tier 3 Visa – Never Implemented and discontinued
    • Tier 4 Student Visas
      • Tier 4 Visa for International Students
    • Tier 5 Visa for Temporary Workers
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa
    • Who needs a UK Tier 2 Work Visa or other visa?
  • Non Tier UK Business visas
    • UK Innovator Visa
    • UK Start Up Visa
    • UK Sole Representative of an overseas business visa
    • UK Turkish Businessperson visa
  • UK Visitor Visas
    • UK Standard Visitor visa
    • UK Permitted Paid Engagement visa
    • Who needs a UK visitor visa?
  • UK Family Visas
    • UK Family of a settled person visa
      • UK Marriage visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
      • UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
    • EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card
    • UK Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
    • British Ancestry visa
    • UK Entry Clearance Guide
    • EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals Working in the UK
  • UK Permanent Residence and UK Citizenship
    • UK Permanent Residence/Indefinite Leave to Remain
    • UK Citizenship and Naturalisation – How to apply
      • Children Born Outside The UK
        • The British Nationality Act 1981
        • British Citizenship By Descent Or Otherwise
        • Children born outside the UK/qualifying territory
        • UK Children of parents in Crown and similar services
        • Children who will not be British citizens
        • List of Crown and services
      • Right of Abode (UK)
    • Long Residence in UK