The Start-Up Visa is an ideal visa category for new entrepreneurs who wish to set up a business in the UK for the first time.

With the entrepreneur visa no longer being available, the Start-Up Visa offers business people the opportunity to gain access to the UK and begin a path towards settlement through the Innovator Visa once they have been based in the UK for three years. The next steps would be to then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and potentially British Citizenship later down the road.

Start-Up Visa requirements overview

There are numerous requirements in order to obtain a Start-Up Visa, depending on your personal and business circumstances.

It is important to make sure that you have met all of the requirements before applying for a Start-Up Visa as a well-presented case that highlights that you meet all key requirements is much more likely to be accepted in a timely manner.

Working alongside a legal team like QC immigration will help you put together and present a strong case.

The following are some key requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must meet the English language requirement.
  • You need to show that you have sufficient personal savings to support yourself while you are in the UK. In particular, you need to prove that you have had at least £1270, plus £630 for each dependant in your bank account for 90 consecutive days prior to the application.
  • You must not have been in breach of immigration laws, except for any period of overstaying allowed under the Immigration Rules.
  • You must not have previously established a business in the UK.
  • Your business must be innovative, viable and scalable.
  • Your business or your business idea must be assessed and endorsed by an authorised endorsing body.

As a QC Immigration client, you will benefit from a detailed document list, document checks, a thorough guide for any interview and ongoing advice to help you meet the above-mentioned requirements.

Applying for a Start-Up Visa

You need to apply online for a Start-Up Visa via the Home Office website. How you apply will depend whether you are applying from outside the UK or switching from another visa.

You will be required to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre in order to obtain a biometric residence permit as part of your application. Thereafter, you will have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you initially stated that you would arrive in the UK. The cost for fingerprinting and photographs is approximately £19.20.

Settling after a Start-Up Visa

You cannot apply for any permanent settlement schemes through the Start-Up Visa, there are, however, ways in which you can work towards settlement while on a Start-Up Visa.

You may apply to switch to an Innovator Visa and after three years of continually residing in the UK on an Innovator visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

How QC Immigration can help with your Start-Up Visa

Our team of experienced legal professionals will be able to help you build a strong case with all the relevant documentation handled and submitted in an efficient and timely manner which will give your visa application a greater chance of being accepted. We can also provide recommendations for Endorsing Bodies that our clients have successfully secured endorsements from.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with a Start-Up Visa application, you can contact a member of the team; please call 0203 637 8633 or email today. Our fee is fixed and affordable.


How long can I stay on a Start-Up Visa?

The Start-Up Visa allows you to remain in the UK for up to two years.

How early can I apply for a Start-Up Visa?

The earliest you can apply for a Start-Up Visa is 3 months prior to travelling to the UK.

How much does a Start-Up Visa cost?

The cost of a Start-Up Visa is £378 per applicant and £508 if you are switching to this visa. You may have to include additional costs such as the healthcare surcharge and the cost of having biometrics taken.

How long does it take to get a decision on a Start-Up Visa?

A decision on a Start-Up Visa can take up to 3 weeks if you’re outside the UK and up to 8 weeks if you’re in the UK. You can check the Home Office guide processing times to find out how long obtaining a visa might take in your country. These times may prove to be longer as a result of the Covid19 pandemic which has slowed down the overall process. If you wish to receive a decision quicker, our team can help you with Priority services where available.

The best way to ensure that the process is quicker on your end is by putting together a clear and convincing application and supply all key documentation on time.

Can I bring my family members with me to the UK if I am on a Start-Up Visa?

You can bring your family members (‘dependants’) with you, namely your husband, wife or partner and children under 18. Importantly, they must apply for the relevant Dependent Visas.

Can I switch to a Start-Up Visa if I am in the UK on another visa?

You may be able to switch to a Start-Up Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements. As the rules have been relaxed, most people can switch as long as your current visa status is not:

  1. as a Visitor; or
  2. as a short-term student; or
  3. as a parent of a child student; or
  4. as a seasonal worker; or
  5. as a domestic worker in a private household; or
  6. outside the Immigration Rules.

Do I need to be the sole founder of the business in order to qualify for a Start-Up Visa?

You do not need to be the sole founder of the business in order to be eligible for a Start-Up Visa. You can apply as a member of an entrepreneurial team. Nevertheless, each member of the Start-up team must be issued their own individual endorsement and meet all the other requirements.

Will I be able to join or take over existing businesses?

You may establish a new and innovative UK business only. If you wish to join or take over an existing UK business, other visa categories are available such as:

What happens if my endorsing body loses or withdraws its status?

If an endorsement has been withdrawn or the endorsing body loses its status, the Home Office will consider curtailing the leave of any start-up migrants or innovators it had endorsed. They may do so with immediate effect, or to allow you to retain part of the remaining duration of their visa, or not to curtail your leave at all. If your leave is curtailed, you would need to secure a fresh endorsement from a new Endorsing Body.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

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