What is a UK Start-Up Visa?
The UK StartUp Visa is a visa category recently introduced, that has replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa program.
This visa is reserved for early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs who have a business idea wish to start their company in the UK for the first time and who hold an endorsing letter from an authorised body.
If you are an entrepreneur and you want to learn more about applying for a Start up Visa, or if you need the help of an immigration professional, you can get in touch with our team by calling us at 0121 667 6530.
What is the Start up Visa?
The Tier 1 Start-up Visa is for applicants who:
- Wish to set up a business in the UK
- Are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- Meet all the eligibility requirements
Unlike the UK Innovator Visa, you do not need to invest funds initially to be eligible for this visa.
What are the Startup Visa requirements?
To meet all the Start-up visa eligibility criteria, you must:
- Get endorsed by an authorised body. You must be able to provide an endorsement letter
- Be at least 18 years old
- Meet the English language requirement
- Be ready to prove that you can support yourself financially during your stay in the UK. You will need to demonstrate that you had at least £945 in your band account for 90 consecutive days before your application.
What is the English requirement?
You may need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply for a UK Start-up Visa. You can do this by either:
- Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing speaking and listening
- Having an academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or above.
Business ideas eligibility
Authorised agencies can only endorse a business plan that is:
- New, meaning that you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading in the UK or abroad
- Your business idea must be original and different from anything else on the market
- Your business must have a demonstrable potential for growth.
How do I apply for a Start up Visa?
Although you must apply online, you will still need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre.
If your application is successful, you must collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you plan to arrive in the UK.
Migrants who wish to submit their application from North Korea cannot apply online. They must download the application form and read the instructions to find out how to proceed.
What are the required supporting documents?
The Home Office will need to review the following documents:
- An endorsement letter from an authorised body, supporting your business
- Your business plan, which must clearly describe your business idea
- Your current passport or other valid travel identification
- Bank statements showing you have had at least £945 in savings in your bank account for consecutive 90 days before your application
- Your tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
- Proof of your English language fluency
Each document that is not written in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation. If you need help with your Start-up Visa application bundle, you can get in touch with one of our Birmingham immigration lawyers.
What are the Start up Visa application fees?
Your application fees depend on your personal situation and where you apply from.
It costs £363 to apply for a Tier 1 Start-Up Visa from within the UK, while the fees for applications sent from abroad are £493.
If you wish to apply with your family, you should pay an additional £363 (or £493, if applying from abroad) for each dependant you Start-Up to include in your forms.
Besides, you will have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
How long can I stay in the UK with a Start-up Visa?
Your Start-up Visa will be valid for 2 years.
At the end of this period, you cannot apply for an extension.
Nevertheless, you may be able to change your immigration status and switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa if you have:
- Completed your second year on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa
- Already switched from a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa to a Start-up Visa for your second year
How do I switch to a UK Start-up Visa?
You can apply to switch to this visa if you meet all the eligibility criteria, and if you are already in the UK on one of the following immigration routes:
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
- Any Tier 2 Visa
- Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
- Standard Visitor Visa (a supporting letter from an endorsing body confirming you are looking for funding is required)
You must apply online if you wish to switch your visa. Speak to one of our immigration experts in Birmingham if you want to learn more.
Can I bring my family members to the UK with me?
You can include your dependants in your application if they are from outside the EEA or Switzerland. For immigration purposes, a dependant is any of the following:
- Your husband, wife or civil partner
- Your child under 18
- Your child over 18 who is currently living in the UK as a dependant
When applying with your family, you must have £630 for each dependant in attrition to the £945 required to support yourself.
If you have children who are born in the UK while you are in the country on a Start-up Visa, you can apply for permission for them to stay by sending a full UK birth certificate for each child.
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Once you submit your application, it takes up to 3 weeks to get a decision from the Home Office. If you wish to receive a faster response, you can apply for the Priority or Super Priority services. To learn more about these services, you can get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham.
It must be noted that the earliest you can apply for a Start-up visa is 3 months before the date your plan to enter the UK.
If your endorsement is withdrawn, your visa will not be valid anymore. If you wish to remain in the UK, you must re-apply for this permit with a new endorsement, before your current authorised stay expires.
While in the UK on a Start-up Visa, you cannot:
- Get public funds
- Work as a doctor or dentist in training
- Settle in the UK on this visa
- Work as a professional sportsperson or a sports coach
You do not need to prove your English knowledge if you:
- Are a national of an English-speaking country
- Have already shown your fluency to be level B2 or above in an earlier successful application