Tier 1 Start-Up Visa

Tier 1 Start-Up Visa

Start-up visa is designed for business beginners who want to set up a business in the UK for the first time. Start-up visa applicants do not need to make an initial investment. Instead they must obtain endorsement from an endorsing body confirming that the business project is innovative, viable and scalable. Successful applicants will be granted a 2-year visa. Upon its expiration they will be able to apply for an Innovator visa if they plan to further develop their business in the UK.

You can apply for a UK Start-up visa from March 29, 2019. This visa category is designed for beginning and ambitious entrepreneurs from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are seeking to set up their first business in the UK. The key requirement for both Start-up and Innovator visa applications is the endorsement letter from an endorsing body. A business project is assessed by specific criteria of being innovative, viable and scalable, and the results are stated by a competent authorized organization in the endorsement letter.

The letter should report whether the project is:

The applicant must have an authentic business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or offers a competitive advantage.

The applicant has the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to run and develop a business.

The business project should provide information on structured planning, job creation opportunities and growth prospects in the UK market.

Start-up visa is issued for 2 years and does not require initial investment. It is anticipated that during this period applicants will devote most of their time to developing their business. To support their living in the UK applicants are allowed to work outside their business project.

Start-up visa holders are entitled to apply for the Innovator visa after 2 years if they plan to stay in the UK and to develop their business.

Start-up Visa Application Requirements

  • be 18 or over
  • set up a business in the UK for the first time
  • receive an endorsement letter from an endorsing body. It may be a UK higher education provider or a business organisation that has a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.
  • have sufficient funds to support your living in the UK.
  • confirm the English proficiency of at least CEFR B2 level in reading, writing, speaking and listening. There are two exceptions to this rule depending on your specific circumstances.

You can:

  • work in another job, as well as working for your business
  • Switch to Start-up visa from some other visa categories
  • Bring family members with you to the UK

You cannot:

  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson
  • get public funds

Application processing time:

  • The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel to the UK.
  • Priority service is available only for those applications that can be processed in 10-15 days period.
  • You can get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK. If the application is submitter inside the UK, it can take about 8-12 weeks to get the decision.

Your stay in the UK:

  • Start-up visa is issued for 2 years. Later you cannot apply to extend it.


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