What is a Start-up Visa?

The UK Start-up visa is for individuals who are new entrepreneurs and want to establish a business in the UK for the first time.  You do not need to be a graduate or have secured any initial funding. However, you will need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which has been approved by an endorsing body.

UK Start-Up Visa
UK Start-up Visa

Start-up visas are one-off visas, valid for 2 years and the category does not lead directly to settlement in the UK.  However, Start-up visa holders may extend their stay in the Innovator Visa category and qualify for ILR three years later. 


As a holder of the Startup visa in the UK, you will be entitled to do the following:

  • Bring your partner and children with you to the UK as your ‘dependants’, as long as they satisfy the eligibility requirements
  • Work in another job, in addition to working for your business
  • Travel overseas and return to the UK

Start-up visa holders cannot, however:

  • Apply for the majority of benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • Work as a professional sportsperson, such as a sports coach
  • Settle in the UK on this visa

Successful applicants will receive a complete list of what they do and don’t have the right to do as a holder of this visa.

What are the Requirements for a Start-up Visa?

In order to qualify for a Start-up visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration the:

  • You are at least 18 years old;
  • You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing your business venture.
  • You are competent in the English language
  • Proving that you have sufficient personal savings to support yourself during your stay in the UK

In regards to supporting yourself while in the UK, you are required to have had a minimum of £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days, prior to submitting your application. You will also be subject to this requirement if you have spent less than a year in the UK and are applying to switch to the Start-up visa.

Endorsement Criteria for a UK Start-Up Visa:

In order for your business proposal to be endorsed, and approved by the endorsing body in the UK, you will need to be satisfied that your business idea meets all of the criteria.

This endorsement process will entail you presenting a detailed business plan, which the Endorsing Body will assess – alongside any supporting documentation –to consider whether your business or business idea satisfies the below criteria:

  • Innovation: You have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and 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 the potential for job creation and growth in 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.

At e-lhr, we have an impressive UK Start-up visa success rate, which is largely attributable to the sheer comprehensiveness of our services for clients seeking this visa. We project manage all of our client’s cases from start to finish, to help ensure both financial predictability for our clients and a positive outcome from their application.

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