Start-up Visa

Note that the UK Start-up Visa has closed for new applications. The information below is for current visa holders. The UK Start-up visa offers a wonderful opportunity for persons who want to set up a new and innovative business in the UK. This immigration route will allow the successful applicant to come to the UK for two years.

Table of contents

Advantages of the UK Start-up Visa

The biggest advantage of the start-up visa is that no investment funds are needed. There is also no need for the involvement of a UK employer. It also allows the successful applicant to move into a more permanent UK immigration category after two years.

Getting Endorsement from an Endorsement Body

To apply for the start-up visa, you first have to get an endorsement from an approved body. You have to apply to the endorsing body that will suit your individual requirements. Requirements may include your specific business field, the location of your business and the support that you will need. Breytenbachs will be able to introduce Start-up visa applicants to suitable endorsing bodies.

How to get an endorsement from an approved body

The keywords to obtain this visa are innovative, new and viable. The applicant has to prove that he/she has a new idea that is original and innovative. It has to be a different idea from anything else that is available in the UK market. You cannot join an existing business in the UK. The applicant will also have to show that the business idea can be a viable business.

The bodies that can endorse a person can be one of two organisations:

  • UK higher education institution, or
  • A business organisation that has a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

If you are successful, you will receive an endorsement letter. You can then submit the endorsement letter with the UK Start-up visa application.  Your Breytenbachs consultant will provide full guidance to obtain your endorsement letter.

How to qualify for the UK Start-up Visa

To qualify you have to be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Meet the English Language Requirement.
  • Fulfil the Maintenance Requirement.
  • Get an endorsement from an approved endorsement body.

Length of Stay

The Start-up visa is valid for two years. It is not possible to extend the visa. However, after two years on this visa, you should be able to switch to another visa, such as the Innovator visa.

Switching to the Start-up Visa

In most cases, applicants apply for the Start-up Visa from outside the UK. However, it is also possible to switch to this visa from some other UK visa categories from within the UK. It is also possible to switch to different visa categories from the Start-up visa. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for more specific advice about switching.

Right to Work

With the Start-up visa, you will be allowed to work in your own business or businesses. You will also be permitted to work in another job. However, if you take up other work, you will still need to satisfy your endorsing body that you are committed and continuing your work on your business venture. You cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

Spouses and Dependants

Your dependants can apply to accompany you to the UK.  Your dependants also have to fulfil the maintenance requirement. Dependants will include any one of the following persons:

  • Your wife, husband, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children older than 18 years of age, if they are currently in the UK as your dependants.

If your dependents are successful in their application, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. If your dependents are accompanying you, they also have to pay this surcharge as part of their visa application.

Extension of the UK Start-up Visa

Unfortunately, it is not possible to extend your visa. The visa is valid for a period of two years only. After two years on the Start-up Visa, you should qualify to apply for further leave to remain under the Innovator visa. You will then be able to further develop your business.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Unfortunately, this is a temporary visa, and it does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, after two years on this visa, you should be able to switch to another visa that does lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain.

How Breytenbachs can help you

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have a highly trained and experienced team of consultants dealing with business visas, such as the Start-up visa.  We assist Start-up applicants with the entire process, including getting an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. Breytenbachs will also be able to assist applicants to switch to the Innovator visa after three years on the UK Start-up Visa. Please feel free to contact us for more information or to proceed with your application.