Big Ben and Westminster Bridge at sunset


United Kingdom (UK) Start-up visa is issued to new entrepreneurs who are keen on establishing a business in the UK for the first time. To obtain this visa, it is necessary for the entrepreneur to have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea approved by the endorsing body. To apply for the UK Start-up visa, it is necessary to have a unique business idea and the stipulated eligibility criteria must be met. The Start-up visa is valid for two years and does not entail permanent settlement in the UK. Moreover, the Start-up visa can be extended in the innovator visa category to prolong the stay in the UK and ultimately lead to settlement.


Earlier, the Start-up visa was available for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category for graduates from UK universities, presently, the Start-up visa is open to anyone with an astounding idea. Applicants for UK Start-up visas can apply for the same from outside of the UK or can switch to other categories of the visas

Suitability of the UK Start-up Visa

This visa is suitable for early-stage entrepreneurs with original and viable business ideas. Entrepreneurs with a vision to commence a business in the UK are suitable for a Start-up visa. There is no requirement of funds for investment in the business. This visa allows the budding entrepreneur to undertake other work apart from the Start-up business.

A Start-up visa holder is not required to spend any particular time in the UK, however, the applicants have to keep in contact with the endorsing body at several checkpoints of time. The endorsing body keeps a check and assesses the business idea for its progress.

Icon 1-01

Eligibility Criteria for Applying to UK Start-up Visa

To be eligible to apply for the UK Start-up visa, the entrepreneur must be endorsed by an authorised body, such as:

The applicant has to prove that his/her business idea is new, innovative, viable, and scalable. The entrepreneur must portray that the idea has uniqueness and potential for growth in the market.

To apply for the visa, the entrepreneur must be:

Requirements for Proving Proficiency in English

The applicant must establish that he/she can read, write, speak, and have a clear understanding of English which is equivalent to a level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. To prove the level of English the entrepreneur has to:


  1. Qualify a Secure English Language Test (SELT), or
  2. Have a:
    • General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)- level A, or
    • Scottish National Qualification (level 4 or 5), or
    • Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, or
    • A degree-level academic qualification is required that is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. A confirmation through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) is needed to apply for the visa

Some applicants are barred from proving their English proficiency. If the applicant is a citizen of one of the following countries, English proficiency proof is not required. The countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.

Requirements for Personal Savings

The entrepreneur applying for the visa needs to have at least £1270 in his/her bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying for the UK Start-up visa, or one can switch to the start-up visa if he/she has been in the UK for less than a year. For switching to this visa, one has to make sure that their current visa status is not:

  1. Visit Visa
  2. Short-term Student Visa
  3. Parent of a Child Student Visa
  4. Seasonal Worker Visa
  5. Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa
  6. Immigration Bail
  7. Granted Permission to Stay Outside the Immigration Rules
Icon 2-01

If the entrepreneur is willing to apply for the UK Start-up visa and holds one of the above-mentioned visas then one has to leave the UK and apply from abroad.

Duration of the UK Start-up Visa

Icon 3-01

An entrepreneur can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up visa or in case of switching to this visa. The duration of this visa cannot be extended, however, a switch to an innovator visa is possible after setting up a sustainable business with approval from the endorsing body

The duration of the visa can be reduced in case the endorsing body withdraws the endorsement. In such a scenario, the entrepreneur has to reapply for the visa with a new endorsement before the expiration of the current visa. However, the total duration for staying in the UK on a start-up visa remains two years even in the case of a new visa.

Applying for the UK Start-up Visa

The entrepreneur has to submit the application for the visa. The application is submitted online by the applicants inside or outside of the UK. The partner and children of the applicant can be included in the application for staying in the UK only if the eligibility criteria are met. For applying for the UK Start-up visa, the entrepreneur has to provide identity proof along with relevant documents.

Icon 4-01

Documents Required for the Application

There are several documents required for applying for the UK Start-up visa, such as:

Endorsement letter issued by the endorsing body
Passport and other documents as the proof of identity and nationality
Bank statement showing the balance of savings, i.e., a minimum of £1270 in the bank account of the applicant for 28 consecutive days
Proof of English proficiency
The test result of tuberculosis

The documents should be in English or Welsh, else a certified translation of the same has to be provided. An applicant from outside the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein must have a blank page in the passport. Applicants without biometric passport chips from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein must also have a blank page in their passports.

Decision on Visa

After successfully applying, and submitting the documents, a decision on the status of the visa is provided. For the entrepreneurs outside the UK, the decision is provided in three weeks, and for those in the UK, the decision is provided in eight weeks. The applicant might be contacted in case the review of the application takes longer.

For instance, in some cases, the decision takes time, such as:

  1. A family member requires an appointment
  2. Verification of supporting documents is required
  3. Requirement for attending an interview
  4. Personal circumstance(s), such as criminal conviction, etc.
Icon 5-01

Changes in Application after Applying

Icon 6-01

In case the applicant wishes to make changes in the submitted application for the UK Start-up visa, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can be contacted. The changes made will be shared through an email or a letter along with the decision on the application.

Who are the dependents?

The partner and children of the applicant are the dependents. The dependents can apply for the visa along with the applicant if they are eligible. The dependent partner could be a husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner. A dependent child could be either below or above 18 years. The relationship with the dependents has to be proved. Pieces of evidence have to be provided if the child is 16 years or above, for instance, a bank statement, credit card bills, driving licence, NHS registration document, an official letter from their university or college, etc.

A certain amount of money must be available with the dependents for financial support in the UK.

Icon 7-01

Dependents Applying from Outside the UK

Icon 8-01

The dependents have to apply for the visa through a separate application and visa fee. The application must be submitted before travelling to the UK. The dependents require the application number of the entrepreneur which is given at the time of application. The allotted number is known as Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). The number is available on the emails and letters received from the Home Office about the application. For the application, the dependents have to provide their fingerprints and photograph at a visa application centre.

Dependents Applying from Inside the UK or Switching

The application for switching the visa of partner and children can be submitted at the same time along with the entrepreneur, or any time before the expiration of the current visa. The dependents are refrained from switching to Start-up visas if they are currently living in the UK in any one of the following circumstances, such as:

  1. Visit Visa
  2. Short-term Student Visa
  3. Parent of a Child Student Visa
  4. Seasonal Worker Visa
  5. Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa
  6. Immigration Bail
  7. Granted Permission to Stay Outside the Immigration Rules
Icon 2-01

As per the application procedure, the dependents have to make an appointment at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point for providing their biometric information. The submission of supporting documents is essential. The requisite documents can be uploaded on the online service portal and scanned at a UKVCAS appointment. During this time, the applicants are not allowed to travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Travelling outside will lead to the withdrawal of the application.

Visa for Children Born in the UK

If the applicant’s child is born in the UK, the child does not automatically become a British citizen. Application for the dependent visa must be submitted in case the applicant wants to travel in and out of the UK with the child. The application requires a UK birth certificate of the child with the names of both parents.

Icon 9-01

Who are the dependents?

Icon 10-01

The fees for the Start-up visa depend on the geographical location and situation of applying. If one is applying for oneself then the fees are £363 (outside the UK) and £493 (switching in the UK). The visa fees have to be paid for every person applying for the visa. For each dependent, the application fee of £363 (outside the UK) and £493 (switching in the UK) has to be paid separately.

The application fee is automatically reduced by £55 if the applicant belongs from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey. The reduction of the fee is applicable only for the entrepreneur and not for partners and children.

As a part of the application, a healthcare surcharge has to be paid. For biometric information, £19.20 has to be paid.

What can and cannot be done with the Start-up visa?

With a Start-up visa, one can bring their partner and children to the UK as “dependents”, can work in a job alongside the business, one can travel to other countries and return to the UK, and one can switch to a different visa.

Through a Start-up visa, most of the benefits, such as public funds, state pension cannot be availed. One is not allowed to work as a professional sportsperson, and cannot get settled in the UK.

Icon 11-01

Advantages of the UK Start-up Visa

Icon 12-01

The greatest advantage of having a UK Start-up visa is that there is no requirement for investment funds. Moreover, there is no need for the involvement of any UK employer. This visa allows the successful entrepreneurs to embrace a more permanent UK immigration category after two years.

We hope this article on the UK Start-up visa will be helpful for you. For more such information please visit our official website.

How can we help you with your Start-up visa?

Our team of endorsement specialists can leverage their years of experience to help you navigate the bureaucracy and get the visa endorsement approval you need.

Our Services:

  1. Our team of experienced business professionals will assess your business plan for the viability of endorsement.
  2. We offer complete Idea Development to meet the three main endorsement requirements - Innovative, Viable, Scalable.
  3. Entrepreneur skills development and coaching from our experts.
  4. Exclusive pitching and presentation of your Start-up idea to the endorsing body.
  5. Professional coaching to prepare you for your final panel interview and guide you to get the desired result.

Our Benefits:

  1. We work to make sure your business plan is ready for presenting and meets or exceeds all requirements.
  2. This visa is for 2-years and allows you to switch to other valid visa categories, mid-term or on expiration.
  3. Our services provide peace of mind and let you focus on your business, family, or relocation instead of visa paperwork.
  4. We can find ways of relating your skills, experience, and achievements that may have been overlooked, to further enrich and develop your business portfolio.
  5. We understand how important these applications are, and we will do everything possible to be available at your service to answer your questions, address any concerns, offer advice and provide guidance.

Our Guarantee:

  1. We co-develop your business idea and present it to the endorsing body. To Start the process, an initial deposit of £1500 is required upfront.
  2. Once the endorsement body approves the business idea, our team of experts would progress with the networking and guidance stage for the business plan for which you would be invoiced £2500.
  3. Once your Start-up has secured endorsement, we bill the final deposit of £3500 in the final invoice and ensure delivery of endorsement.

We offer 3-tier outcome-based pricing and are very confident that we can get the result you desire, however in the event of no endorsement, we will provide a full refund (100%).

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified legal or immigration expert. If you require any specific legal or immigration advice, you can seek the service by filling in the contact us form here. All rights reserved.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]