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The Start-Up visa came into force in the UK, on 29 March 2019 following a number of changes to the Immigration Rules, and closure of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme.

Start-Up Visa - UK

Start-Up Business Visa UK

Outlined below is information about the process of setting up a business in the UK, under the Start-Up visa:

Start-Up Visa UK - Eligibility

To apply for the UK Start-Up visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. The Start-up category is for early-stage, but high potential, entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time.

2. They may have already begun setting up their business, but it should not yet have commenced trading.

3. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and the applicant does not need any funds to invest in their business at this stage.

4. The Start-Up applicants must be endorsed by an approved body to get the visa.

5. The applicants must meet the English language requirement. To meet the English requirement, you must pass an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening or having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelorís degree, masterís degree or PhD. Exceptions to the English language requirement apply if you are a national of a list of English-speaking countries, such as Australia or USA.

6. Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while youíre in the UK.

7. The applicants will need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

Who can endorse the Non-EEA Start-Up business?

You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution, such as an authorized UK University
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

To get an Endorsement, you must prove that your business idea is:

  • a New Idea - you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading
  • Viable, with potential for growth
  • To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement.

What are the restrictions of the UK Start-Up Visa?

1. The applicants cannot Settle in the UK, under the Start-Up visa.

2. They cannot work or train as a doctor or dentist.

3. They cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

4. They cannot get public funds.

Start-Up Visa Processing Time

A decision will be made on the applicant's Start-Up visa application:

  • Within 8 weeks of their application date if they use the standard service
  • Within 1 working day of their UKVCAS appointment if they pay an extra fee to use the super priority service

Applicants will be notified if their application is complex and will take a longer processing time, for example:

  • If their supporting documents need to be verified
  • if they need to attend an interview
  • Due to personal circumstances (for example if they have a criminal conviction)

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