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Start-up Visa - Top 10 FAQ’s Answered

The UK Start-up visa is for new entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time.  In this post we answer the top 10 most frequently asked questions about the Start-up visa route.

1. Is there an investment funds requirement for a Start-up visa? 

Start-up visa applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business. However, the requirement to have a ‘viable’ and ‘scalable’ business idea means that, in practice, you may need to have funds available to invest. Some endorsing bodies require a certain level of funding as a condition of endorsement.

2. Where can I find out more about Start-up visa endorsing bodies? 

The Home Office has published a list of endorsing bodies for Start-up visa applications. This list of endorsing bodies contains the names of all currently approved Start-up visa endorsing bodies, as well as links to their websites and, where available, details of their application process and endorsement criteria.

3. Which endorsing body should I apply to? 

The right endorsing body for your application will depend on your individual requirements, such as the field in which your business will operate, the timing of your application, where you plan to base your business, and what support, if any, your business requires.

Our barristers can advise you on the most appropriate endorsing bodies for your application. Richmond Chambers is also a trusted introducer to several endorsing bodies, ensuring eligible clients direct contact with investment panel members as well as transparent and timely decision-making.

4. Can I switch into the Start-up visa category? 

Applications for Start-up visas can be made from outside the UK, but it is also possible to switch into the Start-up visa category from within the UK if you were last granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (if not yet granted 2 years’ leave in the category), Tier 2 General or Tier 2 ICT Skilled Worker, Tier 4 General Student or Prospective Entrepreneur. 

5. Can Start-up visa applicants join an existing business? 

The Start-up visa category is for people seeking to establish a new business in the UK for the first time. If you are looking to join an existing business then the Start-up visa category is not an appropriate immigration route.

6. Can I apply for a Start-up visa as part of a team? 

You do not need to be the sole founder of your business and may be a member of a Start-up team. This means that you may share the same business idea and plan as another Start-up team member. However, each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

7. How long is a Start-up visa valid for? 

Your initial Start-up visa will be valid for 2 years, unless you were previously granted leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, in which case you will be granted leave for a period that will take you to the maximum 2-year limit. 

8. Will I be able to extend my Start-up visa and apply for ILR? 

It is not possible to extend a Start-up visa and Start-up visa holders are not eligible for settlement. However, at the end of 2 years you will be able to apply for further leave to remain in the Innovator category in order to continue developing your business. The Innovator category can lead to settlement after a further 3 years.

9. Does the Start-up visa have a residence requirement? 

As a Start-up visa holder you will not be required to spend any particular amount of time in the UK. However, your endorsing body will need to be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business venture and have demonstrated reasonable progress in relation to either your original or a new business idea. 

10. Will I be able to undertake other work? 

Start-up visa holders are permitted to undertake employment other than working for the business or businesses that they have established. However, your endorsing body will need to be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business venture and have demonstrated reasonable progress in relation to either your original or a new business idea. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance regarding an application for a Start-up visa, contact our business immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


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