Start-Up Visa

Overview of Start-Up Visa

About Start-up Visa Programme

The Start-up Visa Programme by the United Kingdom is for people who are budding entrepreneurs looking to establish a new business or company. You don’t have to be a full-time graduate or secure any funding initially. However, one has to be innovative, scalable, and visible with a business idea. Moreover, the idea needs to be approved by any endorsing body willing to make an investment.


Start-up visa programmes are one-off visa types that are valid for a couple of years, and such a category doesn’t result in a settlement in the United Kingdom. But, people enrolled in the Start-up visa programme can extend their stay under the Innovator visa and then qualify for ILR around three years later. Besides, successful visa holders can bring their children and partner. Children have to be under 18 years of age.


This visa category is ideal for early-stage, potential entrepreneurs looking to commence and set up their businesses or companies in the United Kingdom. Usually, these visa applicants should not have their business in the country. One of the only exceptions in this situation is when the applicant has been granted a specific leave amid Tier 1 or Start-up categories. Only then can you apply for such a programme without having to think much.

Benefits of Start-Up Visa Programme

  • An applicant can settle down in the United Kingdom and run their company.
  • The visa type of such a category attracts talented and young business individuals to come and commence their start-ups or companies in the United Kingdom.
  • An applicant who has successfully enrolled on the programme can bring their spouses and children who are under eighteen years of age.
  • Another significant benefit of a start-up programme is that such a category gives you an opportunity to ramp up productivity levels and brings development and growth to the United Kingdom’s economy in the long run.
  • Through a successful business, you can create more employment opportunities for ambitious and skilled workers overseas and on local grounds.
  • A successful applicant under the start-up programme can make use of the health and education facilities of the United Kingdom.

Who Obtains Start-Up Visa

To qualify for the Start-up visa programme, an applicant has to satisfy UK Immigration and Visas. Some of the requirements are mentioned below.

  • The applicant needs to be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • For someone enrolling in the programme, they should not have established a company in the United Kingdom unless one has previously held leave under the Tier 1 Graduate category.
  • You need to have your start-up endorsed by approved United Kingdom sanctioning bodies that have gone through your business idea for viability, innovation and scalability. The endorsing body should be satisfied that you’ll spend a lot of time developing your venture in the United Kingdom.
  • The endorsement letter should be issued not more than three months prior to the date of your visa application.
  • An applicant has to undertake and be capable of undertaking a business activity, or any work in the United Kingdom stated in the application.
  • You need to be competent in English with a minimum CEFR Level B2, which is equivalent to 5.5 of IELTS in writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
  • Suppose you’re situated outside the United Kingdom or have started in the United Kingdom for less than twelve months. In that case, you need to have a minimum of £1270 to support yourself, with an additional £285 for your dependent partner and another £315 for your first.

Steps To Obtain Start-Up Visa

  • First, you need to acquire the endorsement letter from an approved body of the United Kingdom.
  • An applicant should hold any existing passport or various other valid travel identifications.
  • Your bank statements should prove that you have had a minimum sum of £945 in your bank account as savings for a duration of ninety consecutive days before you apply.
  • You need to undergo a tuberculosis test if you come from a country that has prioritised such tests to move out of the country.
  • An applicant needs to showcase English proficiency in order to acquire a start-up visa.
  • When it comes to the programme fees, if you apply for the start-up visa programme from outside the region, you need to pay £363 processing fees. However, if you are switching within the UK, £493 will be the figure you will have to bear.
  • If you have dependents, you will have to pay a sum each for every dependant.
  • The earliest an applicant can apply for this programme is three months before travelling to the United Kingdom.
Start-Up Visa Programme UK

FAQs about Start-Up Visa Programme

Start-up visa programme applicants don’t need funds to invest in their companies. However, the need to have a ‘scalable’ and ‘viable’ business idea will be all. Moreover, specific endorsing bodies may require some level of funding as their condition of investing or endorsement.

The Home Office has a list of endorsing bodies published for visa applicants. The list also contains various names of companies that are approved by the state and links to websites. Moreover, you can find the criteria for reaching out to these bodies through the details mentioned on the list.

A suitable endorsing body for an application may depend on individual requirements, like the industry in which your company will operate, your application timings, your business base, and the support your business may require.

Applications can be made from outside the region as well for such a category. However, it is also possible for an applicant to switch to this category while staying in the United Kingdom. It depends on when you were granted the leave to remain under the Tier 1 Graduate programme, Tier 2 ICT Skilled Worker or Tier 2 General.

No, such a visa category is for people who are willing to establish a new company or business in the United Kingdom for the very first time.

One does not have to be the company’s sole founder or a member of the start-up team. However, every applicant should receive endorsement from approved endorsing bodies listed by the Home Office in the United Kingdom.

Your Start-up visa programme is valid for a couple of years unless you were granted leave under the Tier 1 Graduate programme. In this case, an applicant may be granted leave for a specific period that may take them to a maximum limit of two years.

These visa holders can’t extend or settle down in the United Kingdom. However, towards the end of the programme, you can get an extension under the innovator visa category.

As someone who has enrolled in a Start-up visa programme, you are not required to spend or stay for any particular amount of time. But, the endorsing body that has endorsed your startup needs to be satisfied if you are going to develop the venture in the proper manner.

Start-up visa programme holders can undertake employment other than working through the business they established initially. However, the endorsing body has to be satisfied with your work continuation and require demonstrated progress concerning either your new or original idea. If you have successfully adhered to all these requirements, you are good to go.

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