Start Up Visa

Are you seeking to open a business for the first time in the UK?

Applicants need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. Applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business at this stage.

It offers a one-off, 2- year visa, during which applicants spend the majority of their time developing their businesses but can also take on other work outside of their businesses, to support themselves.

Successful applicants can bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK. At the end of 2 years, they can switch into the Innovator category (see below) to extend their stay and develop their businesses in the UK

What is an Endorsement Body?

Before applying all applicants must be endorsed in this category by an endorsing body.  

An endorsing body can be either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

A list of current endorsing bodies can be found here.

What is the Endorsement Criteria?

The endorsement letter must confirm both of the following:

The applicant’s business venture meets all of the requirements in the table below:

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

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

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

The endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures.

Corporate Immigration Team