Start-up Visa

Apply for a Start-up Visa in the UK


New entrepreneurs and individuals who wants to established a business in the UK for the first time, can apply for a UK Start-up Visa. This is a new visa category launched by the British government recently. An educational background is not needed for a Start-up visa. New, innovative and viable business ideas would be eligible for this UK visa category.


You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • a new idea – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea that is different from anything else on the market
  • viable – it has potential for growth

If you’re not eligible for a Start-up visa

You may be eligible for another type of visa to work in the UK.

How long it will take

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents. You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

What visa will I receive?

You can stay for 2 years if you either:

  • come to the UK on a Start-up visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You cannot apply to extend this visa.

You may be able to switch to an Innovator visa if you set up a business while on a Start-up visa and:

  • your endorsing body assessed and agreed on it
  • it is active, trading and sustainable
  • you have the day to day involvement in it

If your endorsement is withdrawn

Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn by the endorsing body.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

You can only stay for a total of 2 years even if you’re granted a new visa with a new endorsement.

What you can and cannot do

With a Start-up visa you can

  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • work in another job, as well as working for your business
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

You can also switch to this visa from some other visa categories.

You cannot

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example, a sports coach
  • settle in the UK on this visa

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Start-up visa.

Costs of the application (UKVI fees)

How much you pay for a Start-up visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.

Who you’re applying forApply (outside the UK)Switch (in the UK)
Your partner and children£363 each person£493 each person

You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.

If you are looking to apply for a Start-up Visa in the UK, or need assistance in your ongoing Start-up Visa application, contact our highly experienced team today for professional advice and guidance throughout your visa process.

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