Start-up Visa

The Start-up and Innovator visa categories replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. Those wishing to set up a business in the UK now must apply under the Start-up or Innovator category.

Start-up Visa

The Start-up visa is for early stage, high potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time. There is no requirement of funds for this visa.

Application process

There is a two-stage process for this visa. The first stage of the process involves getting endorsed and the second stage is to apply for a visa.

Getting endorsed

  • You must show you have a new business idea which is viable, with potential for growth, and
  • You must have an endorsement from an authorised body that is a business organization with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs, or a UK higher education institution.

Making a visa application
You have to apply online and demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements, i.e. you are 18 years old or above and meet the maintenance and English language requirement.

Switching to start up visa If you are in the UK

You can apply to switch to start up visa if you are in the UK on one of the following visas:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2 visa
  • Tier 4 (General) student visaStandard Visitor visa – if you came to the UK to get funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body.

A successful application leads to a grant of a maximum 2-year visa. At the end of 2 years, start-up visa can be switched to innovator visa.

The Start-up applicants are allowed to bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK.

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