The Start-up visa is for entrepreneurs who have an innovative, viable and scalable idea to establish a business in the UK for the first time. This route is ideal for new businesses as there is no initial funding, education or experience requirements. This route was introduced by the UK government in early 2019 effectively asserting the point that the UK is ‘open for business’ and replaces the old Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Entrepreneur routes.

Start-up visa requirements

The key requirement to be eligible to apply for a start-up visa route is as follows.

  • Endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed the business idea for innovation, viability and scalability
  • Endorsing body must be reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing your business venture
  • Competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2
  • Have a credible business plan and genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK
  • Be able to support themselves and family without relying on the public funds vy meeting the maintenance requirement

The Start-up category is for early-stage yet high-potential entrepreneurs who are launching their first firm in the UK. At this stage, applicants do not require any capital to invest in their firm, and they must not have previously established a business in the United Kingdom (with some exceptions). Successful candidates will be allowed two years of leave and will be able to bring their families (spouses/partners and children under the age of 18) to the UK. Start-up visa holders will not be forced to stay in the UK for a set period of time and will be allowed to work in jobs other than their own businesses. This category allows for a maximum of two years of leave and does not lead to direct settlement in the UK; however, start-up entrepreneurs may be eligible for the innovator category, which can lead to settlement. This route is allowed to be included in the ten-year residence settlement.