START-UP VISA - UK

Start-Up Visa UK

UK Immigration Lawyers - Start-Up Visa Advice

Our UK Immigration Lawyers are experienced, ethical, and members of the Law Society of England and Wales. They can assist clients in our offices in Melbourne or Brisbane, Australia and in Hong Kong. In addition, our United Kingdom qualified Lawyers can advise clients worldwide, with a fast and efficient Consultation by telephone or skype where they advise you about:

  • Visa eligibility
  • Information about the visa process
  • Advice regarding preparation of New Idea in a Business plan, business set-up in the UK, company inorporation, tax and accounting
  • Advice regarding supporting documents including: Qualification certificates, Bank statements
  • Assistance in applying for Endorsement from a UK Authorised body
  • Advice regarding the English language requirement
  • Assistance in completion of UK Visa Application forms
  • Advice regarding an application for Criminal Record Certificates
  • Assistance in booking an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo)
  • Visa Processing time guidance
  • Information about the UK Government fee, Healthcare surcharge and Lawyers fees for complete visa application assistance

Contact VisaConnect's UK Immigration Lawyers in 2021 for advice and assistance with your UK Start-Up Visa application!

Start-Up Visa UK - Eligibility

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.

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

1. Non-EU Residents can Apply If the Applicant or their close family member started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, they may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. Otherwise each Applicant will need a visa to work in the UK. Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.

2.Start-Up Business Idea - The Start-up category is for early-stage, but high potential, entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time. You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • New Idea - you cannot join a business that is already trading.

  • Innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market

  • Viable - with potential for growth

3. Business Set-Up - They may have already begun setting up their business, but it should not yet have commenced trading. To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement.

4. No Funds required - 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.

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

6. English Language requirement - 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 bachelor’s degree, master’s 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.

7. Personal Savings - Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK. Specifically, the Applicant must have had at least £1270 in their bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying, or if the applicant has been in the UK for less than a year and is applying to switch to this visa.

8. Fingerprints taken - 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.

Endorsing Bodies

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

Business Endorsing Bodies

Outlined below is a list of Business Endorsing Bodies:

1. The Bakery - Endorses bona-fide entrepreneurs who qualify for their corporate innovation programmes.

2. Bethnal Green Ventures - BGV is an early stage investor in tech for good companies who only endorse start-up entrepreneurs accepted onto their support programme.

3. Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions Ltd - Endorses in all sectors, based in: Liverpool/Solihull, endorses business in: North West or West Midlands. Innovator application intake all year round. No Start-up applications will be accepted before February 2021.

4. Capital Enterprise (IDEA London) - Capital Enterprise will only be endorsing founders within their community.

5. Community and Business Partners - Award winning business development organisation, supporting highly innovative, skilled individuals to help realise their entrepreneurial growth ambitions.

6. Consilium Consulting - Consilium is committed to supporting entrepreneurs to achieve their business vision, and offers a comprehensive, compulsory mentoring programme, business workshop, networking and funding opportunities to dynamic, innovative entrepreneurs across all sectors. Based in Cardiff, they are interested in those seeking opportunities in Wales and accept applications all year round.

7. Cylon - Interested in applications from emerging cyber security companies or entrepreneurs planning on setting up an innovative cyber start-up.

8. Deep Science Ventures - Apply if you are a scientist or engineer determined to start a deep science company.

9. DRS Business Solutions - DRSBS provides practical, commercial advice and consultancy to entrepreneurs on business strategy, planning, plans, forecasting and finances, delivered on a flexible, one-to-one basis.

10. Edinburgh Innovations - This Body is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. Working with students, researchers and external organisations, they proactively identify, pursue and support opportunities in collaborative research, contract research, consultancy, studentships, secondments, executive education, startup and spinout creation, licensing, mentoring and incubation.

11. Emerge Education - This Body invests in and supports the growth of early stage education startups.

12. Emsworth Corporate Planning (ECP) - ECP is based on the South Coast of the UK, and provides business implementation and mentoring services for dynamic and disruptive companies looking to establish themselves in the UK.

13. Entrepreneur First (EF) - EF funds people to form and scale companies that transform industries. EF gives individuals the opportunity to meet a co-founder, form a company, and develop technology and business strategy, all while supported by mentors from EF’s team.

14. Envestors Limited - Envestors is an award-winning corporate finance advisor specialising in identifying innovators and high-growth businesses. Envestors has raised over £120 million for 200 portfolio companies, supporting their entire growth cycle within its FCA-regulated platform technology, from connecting founders to the early-stage investment community, to a dedicated shareholder reporting tool.

15. Fashion Angel - A fashion industry accelerator that supports start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to create innovative, viable and scalable businesses within the fashion sector.

16. First Corporate Finance - FCF offers an open invitation to entrepreneurs worldwide with innovative business ideas to register in their Business Support Program, with future potential endorsement.

17. Fortunis Capital Ltd - Works with motivated individuals and teams who have innovative, scalable and commercially viable proposals that have an element of positive impact on wider society. They manage a £25 million innovation fund that provides R&D Funding, and a £100 million private equity fund.

18. Founders Factory - This is an award-winning tech StartUp accelerator and venture studio.

19. The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP) The GEP leverages the global ambition of internationally mobile, tech-based entrepreneurs and helps them scale and internationalise their innovation rich companies from a UK global HQ.

20. (Innovator International) Geminus - Geminus provides endorsements to clients in their “Innovator International” business support programme, which offers bespoke 1-1 support covering all business sectors across the UK.

21. Ignite - Endorsement for applicants who are successful in applying for one of their accelerator programmes.

22. Innovate Britain - This Body invites applicants to take part in their Mentoring Programme, designed to last 3 years and enable companies to hire teams, register IP and export goods and services. The proprietary platform provides guidance and resources to engage fully with the programme as well as peer-to-peer mentoring from other companies.

23. International Innovation Hub Ltd - An award-winning team who work with highly innovative and skilled individuals to realise their growth aspirations. Located in the Manchester and Liverpool region, with expertise in green and renewable energy, engineering, manufacturing, digital and tech.

24. Invest Northern Ireland - Invest NI endorses entities for Start-up/Innovator visas through participation on its accelerator programme or request from client companies only.

25. Kollider - This Body is a high growth business incubator. They endorse members with innovative ideas in the creative, digital and tech sectors expected to scale in their markets within 24 months.

26. Level 39 - They are a very connected tech community, encompassing 1,250 leaders in Cyber Security, Fintech and Retail Tech, based in Canary Wharf, London.

27. MDR LAB - This is an accelerator for tech start-ups in the legal space. They only endorse migrants accepted onto their 10-week May-July programme.

28. MedCity - They are the life sciences organisation for the greater south east, with offices in Cambridge, London and Oxford. MedCity can help applicants find expertise, resources, infrastructure, places and people to grow your company, operate successfully in Europe’s leading life sciences cluster and understand the route to market and regulatory frameworks.

29. NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator - Their Accelerator is designed for Entrepreneurs who already have a defined and validated business model. They provide a 6-month programme designed to help businesses grow and scale.

30. North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) - Providing professional accommodation and business support services to ambitious and innovative business from all sectors, encouraging start-ups and scaling companies to foster innovation to gain competitive advantage and accelerate growth.

31. Pall Mall Investments International - This Body is located in Hampshire, close to London and provides corporate support, finance and mentoring for companies across a range of industries and sectors.

32. Panacea - Based in Oxford, and operates in the following sectors: Life Sciences, Biotech and Healthcare, Materials, Food, Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence. Endorses business UK wide, but must be able to incorporate in the UK and commute occasionally to Oxford.

33. Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator - Their Accelerator is designed for Entrepreneurs who already have a defined and validated business model. They provide a 6-month programme designed to help businesses grow and scale.

34. The Royal Society of Edinburgh - They provide endorsement to their awardees who have received an RSE Enterprise Fellowship.

35. Sapphire Capital Partners LLP - Sapphire is a multi-award winning venture capital firm located in London and Belfast. Sapphire seeks to identify and assist bonafide entrepreneurs who will qualify for further investment through Sapphire’s numerous startup venture capital funds.

36. Scottish EDGE - This Body can endorse winners of its bi-annual funding competition for innovative, high-growth potential Scottish businesses. Approximately 10% of applicants win. Winners receive grant and loan funding from £10,000 to £150,000, business support, training, mentoring alumni and networking events and acess to a business support package.

37. Seedcamp - This Body invests early in world-class founders attacking large, global markets and solving real problems using technology.

38. SETsquared Bristol -This incubator will only endorse technology start-ups meeting entry criteria to their incubator and looking to establish an office in Bristol.

39. Severn Seed Finance (SSF) - SSF seeks interesting, dynamic and innovative business proposals. It offers applied technology solutions, specialist cross-sector expertise and commercial experience to assist UK and global entrepreneurs develop and deliver high growth businesses.

40. SFC Capital - This Body is an award-winning investment firm, active in the startup ecosystem since 2013. SFC Capital specialises in first time equity funding (SEIS/EIS) and offers a wide range of supporting services to entrepreneurs directly or via associated businesses and selected partners.

41. Startup Giants plc - This Body is a high growth business accelerator, providing endorsement for founders that have highly scalable business ideas.

42. The Start-Up Race - Online accelerator programme is run by experienced, well connected Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors who have coached and mentored 1,000’s of entrepreneurs over the past 20 years.

43. Techstars London - Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.

44. Tech X - Unique technology accelerator & incubator for global start-ups looking to transform the energy sector – offers unparalleled funding and support as well as deep market access and access to investors.

45. Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator - Their Accelerator is designed for Entrepreneurs who already have a defined and validated business model. They provide a 6-month programme designed to help businesses grow and scale.

46. Wayra - Offers investment of up to €250k, online scale-up services and access to real clients.

47. Zinc - This Body builds new companies that solve the developed world’s toughest challenges. They do this through a Mission-led 9-month full-time Company Builder Programme.

Higher Education Endorsing Bodies

Outlined below is a list of Higher Education Endorsing Bodies:

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University Limited
  • Brunel University London
  • Cardiff University
  • City, University of London
  • De Montfort University
  • Derby University
  • Girne American University Canterbury
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Hult International Business School
  • Imperial College London
  • Keele University
  • King’s College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Arts University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Sciences
  • London South Bank University
  • Loughborough University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Northern School of Contemporary Dance
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Ravensbourne University London
  • Regent’s University London
  • The Robert Gordon University
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal College of Art
  • Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Solent University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • University College London
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • The University of Buckingham
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • The University of Northampton
  • University of Northumbria at Newcastle
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton
  • The University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • The University of West London
  • University of Ulster
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David – Carmarthen Campus
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of York
  • York St John University

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)

Visa Duration

A. Stay for 2 Years - You can stay for 2 years if you either come to the UK on a Start-up visa or switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK.

B. No Extensions - Applicants cannot apply to extend this visa.

C. Switch to Innovator Visa - Applicants may be able to switch to an Innovator visa if they set up a business while on a Start-up visa and:

  • Your endorsing body assessed and agreed it

  • The business is active, trading and sustainable

  • You have day to day involvement in the business

Start-Up Visa UK - Endorsing Bodies

Registered Migration Agents Australia Member of American Immigration Lawyers Association MIA migration Agent Member UK OISC Immigration Adviser Qualified Education Agents