Start-up visa

Start-up visa

What is the Start-up visa?

The Start-up visa is a category of visa for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. They will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea. The business idea and plan must be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body.  If the visa is issued, permission to enter will be granted for two years. It does not lead to settlement, but the applicant may switch into the Innovator category, which does lead to settlement.

In order to be granted a Start-up visa the applicant must be proposing a new business idea that meets the following requirements:


The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.


The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.


There is evidence of structured planning and of the potential for job creation and growth into national markets.

There is no specific requirement for funds to be invested into the business.


Applicants must obtain an endorsement letter from an approved endorsement body to submit with their application.

The endorsing body will review the applicant’s business proposal and decide if it meets the above tests. If so, it will provide specified information to the Home Office in the endorsement letter about the applicant and their business. The letter must be dated within three months of the date of the immigration application.


The applicant must be able to persuade the Home Office that they genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, the work/business activity referred to in their application

The applicant may be invited to attend a credibility interview.

Mandatory Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be able to speak English to Level B2 CEFR.
  • Have held at least £945 for a consecutive period of at least 90 days before the date of application.

Making a Start-up visa application from inside the UK

Generally, an application to enter this category will need to be made from outside the UK. However, if an applicant already has valid leave to remain in any of the following categories, they can apply from inside the UK:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 4 (General) (providing the applicant meets specific criteria)
  • A visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur.

Length of visa

Successful applicants will be granted permission to live in the UK  for two years. They will then be expected to move into the Innovator category.

Contact Us:

We have considerable experience in preparing business-related visa applications. If you would like to discuss matters further please contact Charles Green, Consultant Partner, at or by telephone to 07955112218

Consultant Partner - Immigration