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Start-Up Visa
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    This category is for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time.

    The Start-up visa is for those applicants that are not business persons.

    Applicants can apply from out of country; and those already in the UK on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 2, Tier 4 (General) student or Standard Visitor visas may be able to switch to a Start-up visa if they meet the eligibility requirements.

    Can a Start-up migrant join an existing business?

    We would advise that they can as the new rules have an apparent contradiction in Paragraph 245D(a)(iii): ‘Other migrants who wish to establish, join or take over one or more businesses in the UK may apply under the rules for the Start-up or Innovator categories, which are set out in Appendix W.’   We are awaiting guidance on the application of Appendix W from the Home Office.

    No Investment Fund Required

    There is no specific requirement to have investment funds if you wish to apply for a Start-up visa. However, you will still need to show maintenance funds of at least £945 to enter the Start-up category.

    Eligibility Criteria for a Start-up Visa

    Applicants must show that they have a new, innovative and viable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body:

    • A new idea – you cannot join in a business that is already trading
    • Innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
    • Viable – it has potential for growth

    These criteria are similar to the Innovator visa route. However, those applying for an Innovator visa cannot be developing the knowledge, skills, experience and market awareness, but must already have these skills. With regard to scalability, an Innovator visa applicant must also be able to demonstrate the potential job creation and growth in international as well as national markets.

    As well as gaining the approval of an endorsing body, Start-up applicants must satisfy the endorsing body that they will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on promoting and developing business ventures. This can be distinguished from Innovator applicants who have to spend their entire working time in the UK on such development.

    Endorsing Bodies

    Endorsing bodies must be either:

    • a UK higher education institution, that is in receipt of public funding (from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales or the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland). It must have an established process for identifying, nurturing and developing entrepreneurs among its undergraduate and postgraduate population.


    • an organisation that has a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs (including resident workers) or is a new organisation set up for this by another body that has such a track record. Additionally, the request to become an endorsing body must be supported by a UK or devolved government department and be linked to the department’s policy objectives.

    There is a Two Stage Process

    Stage 1- Approval of endorsing body to establish innovation, viability and scalability

    Stage 2- Application to the Home Office to establish the credibility of the applicant

    Does the Start-up Visa lead to settlement in the UK?

    • Not directly. The maximum grant of leave is for 2 years. For Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants the total time in both Graduate Entrepreneur and Start-up categories can likewise only be two years.
    • Start-up visas may progress into the Innovator category, which can lead to settlement; or perhaps be used as part of a 10-year qualifying period for long residence.

    How can Healys Help?

    The experienced Immigration team at Healys Solicitors will prepare and submit your Start Up Visa application (and those of your dependants) from the UK.

    We will ensure that all supporting documents are carefully drafted and compliant with UK Immigration Rules and specifically assist your bank and/or third-party funders to produce financial documents that also comply with the rules.

    We will advise you on the best type of application for your situation and give you the insight you need to make informed decisions along the way. We aim to not only make the process as smooth as possible but to enhance it and improve the chances of your permanent residence application being successful.

    We are a law firm that understands its customers and treats every individual case as something new. We focus on building relationships with our clients to ensure that we can provide them with the best legal representation and advice possible. With several decades of experience across different aspects of law, including immigration, we believe that we are in a unique position to offer our clients the best advice available on managing and processing UK visa applications.

    Call Us Today
    Call our London office on 020 7822 4000 or our Brighton office on 01273 838734. You can also contact us online.
    Call Us Today
    London: 020 7822 4000 Brighton: 01273 838734 Or you can contact us online: Contact Us