Last Updated: 15th May 2019

What is a Start-Up Visa?

On the 7th of March 2019, the Home Office published immigration changes advising of the termination of the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route. In its place, it announced the new Start-Up visa.

The Start-Up Visa is aimed at those who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time and are from outside the EEA and Switzerland. The business idea needs to be Innovative, Viable & Scalable. These 3 requirements are assessed by one of many Endorsing Bodies.

Like the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa that the Start-Up visa replaces, there is no financial requirement.

Discover if you qualify for a Start-Up Visa, today.

Who is the Start-Up Visa suitable for?

  • You are from outside the EEA and Switzerland
  • The Start-Up visa has no minimum investment requirement
  • This must be the first time you are looking to established a business in the UK
  • You can stay in the UK for up to 2 years on this visa
  • This visa cannot be extended
  • You can apply as an entrepreneurial team
Start-Up visa. Up to 2 years in the UK

The Start-Up visa allows applications individually or as a team.

What are the requirements for a Start-Up Visa?

You need to be endorsed by one of the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) that are participating in the scheme. You can see a list of Endorsing Bodies here.

Your business needs to meet 3 criteria:

Innovation Viability Scalability
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.


  • You must satisfy English language requirements
  • You must show proof of having Maintenance Funds of £945, held for a minimum of 90 consecutive days and within 31 days of your application
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must prove that you’re a genuine entrepreneur

Common questions asked about the Start-Up Visa

Do I need a sponsor?

No, a sponsor is not required for the Start-Up Visa.

How long can I stay in the UK?

The Start-Up Visa is granted for a maximum of 2 years. If during this period of leave, your business shows sufficient progress, you may be eligible to apply for the Innovator Visa which will give you a further 3 years of leave. The Innovator Visa has no time limit.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

This visa does not lead to settlement.

Can I bring my family?

Yes you can bring dependants to the UK on this visa. If you have family members outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), they will require a visa. When bringing dependants, you will need to prove an additional £630 in maintenance fees as per Maintenance Fees above.

Discover if you qualify for a Start-Up Visa, today.

Jacqueline Ma