Start-up route

What is the Start-up visa and who is it for?

The Start-up visa, which was introduced in March 2019, superseded the existing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. The Start-up visa allows foreign entrepreneurs with little or no business experience to come to the UK and start a new venture. There is no necessity to have investment capital to acquire a start-up visa because this is intended for people who are growing their company experience, particularly new graduates. Applicants must create a thorough business plan to demonstrate their creative company concept, which must be backed by a UK-based certified endorsing authority.

This initiative was created in the run-up to Brexit (the UK left the EU at the end of 2020) as a way of promoting new entrepreneurial ideas and enterprises to keep the UK on the cutting edge of innovation and re-establish the country as a worldwide powerhouse.

It’s crucial to understand that the Start-up visa does not give a direct path to permanent residence (Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR) in the UK, but you can change to another visa type while you’re here to get ILR.


In order to make a successful application for a UK Start-up visa, applicants need to show they:

  • Are over 18 years old
  • Have a business plan for a new start-up business that is innovative, viable and scalable
  • Have the (or be developing) the business skills necessary to establish a successful start-up business in the UK
  • Have an endorsement for their business or business idea
  • Meet the English language proficiency requirements
  • Have enough fund to support yourself in the UK

Start-up visa to indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

A Start-up visa does not offer a clear route to permanent residence (ILR). There are methods available for extending the visa that will allow you to get ILR at a later date. The majority of Start-up visa holders will utilise this approach as a ‘spring-board’ to apply for another visa that will allow them to apply for ILR directly. There are several ways open to you to accomplish this, including the following:

  • Innovator visa: this is a logical step for start-up visa holders with £50,000 in investment money, and it permits ILR after only three years.
  • Skilled Worker visa: this option is open to people who have found work with another firm (the employer must have a sponsor licence) and fulfil the minimum wage criteria. After 5 years, ILR can be obtained.
  • Spouse visa: You can apply for a spouse visa via the family visa route if you live with a British partner or spouse who has obtained permanent status in the UK. After 5 years, ILR can be obtained. 
UK HNW Immigration
Call NA Law Solicitors for a consultation


Speak to the professionals here at NA Law Solicitors about your choices for obtaining ILR as fast as possible in the UK and then citizenship after a further year. We will be able to explain all of your options and propose the best approach based on your circumstances and intentions. 

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