Know About UK Startup Visa

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UK Startup Visa

This category of visa is aimed at individuals who are planning to start their own business in the UK and have no requirement for capital. To qualify for such a visa the candidates are required to get a sponsorship from a recognized body that their business is valuable, scalable, and at the same time innovative. After a specific period startup visa holders can get their startup visa converted to an innovator visa to extend their period of stay. Check below the guide given to learn more about the UK startup visa such as the requirements, endorsement criteria, validity period, process of extension, etc.

Check What is an England Visa? Check the Detailed Guide

What is a UK Startup Visa?

This visa is for individuals who are about to become entrepreneurs and want to establish a business in the UK for the first time.  For this, the candidates are not required to be graduates or have any initial funds. However, they should have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea that has been approved by an endorsing body. The start-up visas are valid for 2 years and this category of visa does not allow the individuals to settle in the UK. However, they can extend their innovator visa and qualify for an ILR of three years. These visa holders can bring their partner and children who are under the age of 18 to the UK.

Who Needs a UK Startup Visa?

The candidates who are young entrepreneurs planning to start their businesses for the first time will require a UK startup visa. Generally, the applicants have already not started to set up their business but even if they have then the business would not have started trading. The only exception in this case would be if the applicant has been granted leave under the startup or Tier 1 or Tier 4.

Documents Required for UK Startup Visa

Check below the documents required for the UK startup visa application:

  • Endorsement letter from an approved UK body.
  • A passport or a travel document 
  • Bank statements prove that they had a minimum balance of £945 as savings for 90 consecutive days.
  • Proof of proficiency in the English language
  • Certified translation of any document which is not in English or Welsh.

Candidates must read Global Talent Visa UK – Eligibility, Application Process

Requirements of a UK Startup Visa

To qualify for the UK startup visa the candidates will have to fulfill the given below requirements:

  • The candidates must be at least 18 years old
  • The applicant should not have a previously established business in the UK unless he/she has previously been granted leave as a tier 1 graduate entrepreneur.
  • The candidate must have been endorsed by a UK-approved endorsing body that has assessed the business idea and is satisfied to spend the majority of the time in setting up the business.
  • The endorsement letter issued should not be more than 3 months before the date of the Start-up visa application
  • The candidates genuinely intended to undertake, and are capable of doing any work or business activity in the UK as stated in their application;
  • Individuals should be fluent in the English language in terms of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  • If the candidates belong outside the UK or have been staying in the UK for less than 12 months then they should have at least £1270 to support themselves, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child, and £200 for each additional child.

Watch the video below to learn more about UK startup visa requirements

Credit: @YourKnowledgeBudd

Endorsement Criteria for a UK Start-up visa

For any business proposal to be endorsed, an approved endorsing body has to be satisfied that their business idea meets the required criteria:

  • Innovative: The business idea should be genuine, an original business plan that meets the needs of new or existing markets and also creates a competitive environment.
  • Viability: The candidates must have or should be actively developing, the required skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness to successfully carry on the business
  • Scalability: The business plan should have the potential to create a job market and grow into national markets.

Start-up Visa Validity Period

The UK Start-up visa is usually valid for 2 years unless the individuals are previously granted leave as Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs, in which case they will be granted leave for a period that will take them to the maximum 2-year limit.

UK Startup Visa Processing Time

The candidates can travel at least 3 months before their travel time. The candidates will get the priority service for entry clearance applications, which should result in a decision within 10- 15 days. However, the standard time for entry clearance applications is approximately 3 weeks from outside the UK. For the applications inside the UK, the processing time is 8 – 12 weeks. 

UK Startup Visa Fees

Check below the fees for a UK start-up visa:

  • Candidates applying from outside the UK will have to pay £363 as processing fees, but if they are switching within the UK then they will have to pay £493.
  • If the candidates have any dependents then they will have to pay £363 for each person, if applying outside and will have to pay £493 for each person if applying inside the UK.

Check SELT Test | Secure English Level Test for UK Visa

Is it Possible to Extend a UK Start Up Visa?

It might be possible to extend the Tier 1  (Entrepreneur) visa. To extend the visa application must be made before the current visa expires. The visa extension is only possible if the applicant fulfills the criteria below:

  • Be registered as a self-employed person not more than 6 months after permission to stay in the UK was given. Otherwise, the applicant must be registered as a director 
  • Provide proof of being self-employed, working as a director, or as a member of a partnership  business 3 months before the application
  • Must have created at least 2 full-time jobs that have existed for a minimum of 12 months 
  • The applicant can continue to support themselves and have invested in 1 or more UK businesses. That is either £200,000 in cash or £50,000 in cash
  • The visa extension application for the partner and children must be made separately 

UK Start-Up Visa: Latest Update 

Since 13 July 2023, the UK Start Up visa has been closed for applications. It means you can no longer apply for this visa. However, those who already have a UK start-up visa can apply for their dependents and partners to join them in the UK. If your partner’s or your child’s visa is successful then their visa will expire on the same day as yours.

If your visa is expiring and you want to stay in the UK. You can apply to switch your visa to an innovator founder you. You may or may not receive this visa based on whether you meet the eligibility criteria.

What is an Innovator Founder Visa?

An Innovator Founder visa is given to applicants who want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK. However, the business must be something different than what is already available on the UK market. Moreover, your business idea must be endorsed by the an approved body and you must meet other eligibility criteria  Previously, this visa was known as an innovator visa.  This visa is given for 3 years.

Innovator Founder Visa Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility criteria for an Innovator Founder visa are as follows:

  • Your business idea must be new. It means you are not allowed to join a business that is already trading.
  • Moreover, the idea must be innovative, viable and scalable. Therefore you need to demonstrate that your business has growth potential. You must also provide proof of planning that includes creating jobs for the UK and other international markets.
  • Additionally, you must have an endorsing board to assess that the business idea meets the eligibility standards.

Watch the video below to learn more about innovator founder visa

Credit: @TomBradford


Who is eligible for a UK start-up visa?

Candidates who are at least 18 years old and have not previously set up any business in the UK are eligible to apply for the UK start-up visa.

Can the candidates work full-time under a UK start-up visa UK?

The candidates are not allowed to work as a full-time employee under the UK start-up visa after having a business. 

What IELTS score is required for UK start-up visa applicants?

Candidates require a score of 5.5 in IELTS in reading, writing, and speaking. 

How can I get 70 points for UK visa?

The 70 points can be met in different ways. For example, if the salary of the applicant offers them 10 points, then they can attain 20 more points by getting a job offer in shortage occupation. 

We hope you now understand what is a UK startup visa, processing time, application fees, etc. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below, or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu, and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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