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.
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
Investment funds requirement for a Start-up visa
Start-up visa applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business. However, the requirement to have a ‘viable’ and ‘scalable’ business idea means that, in practice, you may need to have funds available to invest. Some endorsing bodies require a certain level of funding as a condition of endorsement.
Endorsement criteria for a UK Start-up visa
In order for your business proposal to be endorsed, an approved endorsing body will need to be satisfied that your business idea meets all of the following criteria:
- Innovation: You have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
- Viability: You have, or are actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business;
- Scalability: Your business plan has potential for job creation and growth into national markets.
The endorsing body will also need to be satisfied that you will spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing business ventures.
List of approved Start-up visa endorsing bodies
The Home Office has published a list of endorsing bodies for Start-up visa applications. This list of endorsing bodies contains the names of all currently approved Start-up visa endorsing bodies, as well as links to their websites and, where available, details of their application process and endorsement criteria.