The UK Start-Up Visa was introduced in April 2019 and requires endorsement by a designated organization.
Awards and Accreditations
The Start-up visa category was introduced in April 2019. The start-up visa is for early-stage but high potential entrepreneurs who want to establish a new business in the UK. A major attraction of the start-up visa is that you do not need to invest any funds in your business at this stage. However, you will need an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an approved endorsing body.
What are the main eligibility requirements for a Start-up visa?
In order to qualify for a Start-up visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are at least 18 years old;
- Your score a minimum of 5.5 in an IELTS English test;
- You have not previously established a business in the UK;
- You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability;
- You genuinely intend to undertake business activity in the UK and do not intend to work in the UK in breach of conditions;
- You have at least £945 available to support yourself without relying on public funds.
There is no investment funds requirement, meaning that in theory a Start-up visa can be obtained without any investment funds.
Key Elements of a Start-up visa
You must demonstrate that your business idea is innovative, viable and scalable. This is defined as:
The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets.
All applicants must be endorsed by a designated endorsing body. There are specific requirements for this endorsement letter.
“Entrepreneurial teams”, where multiple applicants share the same idea and plan, are permitted. Each start-up team member will need their own individual endorsement and meet all the other requirements in their own right for a successful grant of leave.
The start-up visa can include a credibility assessment. This is a “balance of probability” test that should only be carried out by the decision maker if they have a reason to believe there are specific grounds to doubt a migrant’s credibility. The credibility assessment provides the Home Office with a “power” to use information that wouldn’t have been available to the endorsing body.
Start-up Visa Duration & Settlement
Start-up visas are two years in length. A start-up visa does not provide a path to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. The aim of the star-up visa is that an Applicant will progress to an Innovator Visa, which does lead to indefinite leave to remain.
An applicant who switches to the innovator route can avoid the requirement to evidence investment funds of at least £50,000.
How our immigration lawyers can help
Our team of immigration lawyers has experience in assisting all types of startup businesses. Our lawyers are experts in the immigration options for startups and will guide you through the complex Home Office rules and policies.
We can assist with drafting a Start-Up Visa compliant business plan demonstrating that your business is innovative, scalable and viable and has the potential to create jobs. We will prepare you for interview by the relevant endorsement body as well as by the UK immigration authorities.
For further information, please schedule a consultation.