• 18 years +. 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, Tier 2 General or Tier 2 ICT Skilled Worker, Tier 4 General Student or Prospective Entrepreneur.

  • No previous qualifications, business experience, or investment funds required. However, you may wish to keep in mind that the Home Office will want to be satisfied that you genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, business activity in the UK and that you do not intend to work in the UK in breach of conditions.

  • No previous business in the UK (unless you previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur).

  • You must be endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body. You do not need to be the sole founder of your business or business idea and may be a member of an entrepreneurial team and share the same business idea and plan as another Start-up team member. However, each member of the Start-up team must be issued their own individual endorsement and meet all the other wider requirements in their own right.

  • Your endorsement letter must not be issued more than 3 months before the date of your Innovator visa application.

  • You must be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking), unless you have a UK degree or its equivalent (NARIC recognised) or you are a national of a majority English speaking country.

  • Your partner and any children under the age of 18 may accompany or join you as your dependant(s).

  • You must have at least £945 of available funds to support yourself (and £630 for any dependants) without relying on public funds, held for a consecutive 90 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance on the statement), ending no more than 31 days before the date of their application, unless the endorsing body confirms in the endorsement letter that it has awarded the amount of maintenance funding to you. Evidence must be in the form of cash funds held in an account (this includes savings accounts and current accounts, even when notice must be given). If you supply evidence of multiple accounts (on which you are named), you can take the closing balance of the account that most favours you - as long as it ends no earlier than 31 days before the date of application - and use any other monies from any other accounts to make up the funds required. If the money is in a joint account, your name must be on the account along with one or more other named individual.

  • Your initial Start-up visa will be valid for 2 years unless you have previously been granted leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.

  • 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.

  • As a Start-up visa holder you will not be required to spend any particular amount of time in the UK and you will be permitted to undertake employment other than working for the business that you have established.

  • You will need to stay in contact with your endorsing body with checkpoints at 6 and 12 months. The 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. Your endorsement may be withdrawn and your leave curtailed if this is not the case.

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