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City Legal is a multi award winning law firm specialising in UK Immigration Law, Wills & Estate Planning, Global Citizenship as well as providing Business, Education and HR Consultancy to both individual and corporate clients around the world.
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Personal Immigration

Start-up Visa

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Start-up Visa

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 but high potential entrepreneurs starting a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business at this stage, and must not have previously set up a business in the UK (with some exceptions). Successful applicants are granted leave for 2 years and can also bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK. Start-up visa holders will not be required to spend any particular amount of time in the UK and will be permitted to undertake employment other than working for their own business. This category offers leave for a maximum of 2 years and does not lead directly to settlement in the UK, however start up entrepreneurs may progress into the innovator category, which can lead to settlement. This route is permitted to be counted as part of the 10 year long residence settlement.

How can we assist?

Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their business in the UK. We have also partnered with industry experts who work with us on a regular basis to assist our clients in preparing their endorsement applications. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the endorsement criteria for a UK Start-up visa?

The approved endorsing body will adopt their own assessing methods to satisfy that the business proposal meets the criteria for Innovation, Viability & Scalability. In addition to this, the applicants would also need to satisfy that they will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures.

Can I switch into the Start-up visa category?

The applicants may switch into a start-up visa if they were last granted leave as a Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur, Tier 2 general or ICT, Tier 4 general student or as a prospective entrepreneur. It is also possible to apply for this route from overseas.

Can I join an existing business as a Start-up visa holder?

This route is intended for entrepreneurs establishing a new business in the UK for their first time and is not suitable for joining an existing established business.

Can I apply for a Start-up visa as part of an entrepreneurial team?

It is possible for the applicants to apply as part of a team and share the business plan and idea; however each applicant must independently obtain the required endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

Do I need to stay in touch with the endorsing body after approval?

Start-up visa holders must stay in contact with the endorsing body on checkpoints at 6 months and 12 months intervals and ensure that they are satisfied with the progress of the business. Failing to do so may result in endorsement being withdrawn resulting in the leave being curtailed.
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