Start-up Visa

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What is the Start-up Visa?

The Start-up visa will enable individuals to establish their businesses for the first time. It has replaced the existing Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and was introduced with the Innovator visa.

What is the Difference between the Start-up Visa and the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

Unlike the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, you can apply for a Start-up visa without a degree. However, an endorsing body will need to endorse your business proposal to confirm that you intend to spend the majority of your time developing the business.

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What is Meant by an ‘Endorsement’? 

If you want to apply for a Start-up visa you will need to have the following:

  • an endorsement by an endorsing body. 
  • a pitch pf your business plan to an endorsing body and, if they are convinced your business idea is innovative, viable and scalable, they will write a letter of endorsement which confirms this. You will then be able to apply for the next stage of the application process.

What does an Innovative, Viable and Scalable Business Plan look like?

The Home Office will largely leave the assessment to the endorsing bodies. Although the Start-up and Innovator visa categories are different, the roles of the endorsing bodies will be the same. Read more about their roles here.

  • An endorsing body will see if the business plan is innovative by considering if it is genuine, original and if it meets existing or new market needs.
  • The endorsing body will consider if the business plan is viable, if you can show how you are actively developing or already possess essential skills, experience and knowledge in order to successfully run your business.
  • Finally the endorsing body will consider if the business plan is scalable by assessing whether there is evidence of a structured business plan which could lead to creating jobs and growth in the national and international markets.

The three requirements are not applicable if your last grant of leave was in the Tier 1 (Graduated Entrepreneur) category. In this case, the endorser will need to identify that your business venture is genuine and capable.

What Else Does The Endorsement Body Need to Consider?

The endorsement body will be satisfied that you intend to spend the majority of your time developing your business. They will also summarise the business venture and the main products or services to be provided.

Does the Applicant Need to be the Sole Founder of the Business?

No, whilst the sole founder could apply for a Start-up visa, a member of the entrepreneurial team can also apply for this visa.

Additionally, an individual who is part of a multiple start-up migrant team can also apply.  Even if the whole team shares the same business idea, this will be independently endorsed.

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What other Requirements will I need to Satisfy?

English language – you will need to prove your English language ability satisfies at least the B2 Level.

Maintenance – you will also need to provide evidence of at least £945 available to you.

How Can NA Law Solicitors Help?

As a specialist immigration law firm, we can help answer your queries about the Start-up visa or the Innovator visa, whether it is an initial application or switching from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Applying for a Start-up visa is a big decision to make as it is both time consuming and highly complex.

At NA Law Solicitors we recognise such concerns and aim to put you at ease by developing efficient solutions. We will advise you depending on your circumstances and with your best possible chances of success in mind.

For further information regarding Start-up visas click here.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

With a start-up visa, a migrant is permitted to stay in the UK for 2 years.

You cannot apply to extend the visa however, you may be able to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn. If you want to stay longer you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.

With a start-up visa, a migrant is permitted to:

  • Bring family members with you
  • Work in another job, as well as working for your business.
  • Switch to this visa from another visa category.

Under the visa a migrant is prohibitied from the following activities:

  • getting public funding
  • Working as a doctor or dentist in training
  • working as a professional sportsperson.
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