UK Start-Up Visa
It is for entrepreneurs who are seeking to establish a new enterprise or business for the first time in the United Kingdom. To apply, you need an endorsement letter from one of the home office approved endorsing bodies in UK. The startup visa is valid for two years and it does not lead to settlement in the UK but you can switch to an innovator visa in order to apply for settlement.
You also do not need any funds to invest in your business. However, the requirement is to have a viable and scalable business idea. In practice, you may need to have a certain level of funds available to invest as some endorsing bodies do require it as a condition of endorsement.
The following are some requirements for Startup Visa:
- You should be at least 18 years old
- You have not previously established a business in the UK
- You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body
- You endorsement letter was issued not more than three months before the date of the startup visa application
- You genuinely intend to undertake any work or business in the UK as you have stated in your application
- You are competent in English language to at least IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking
- If you are outside the UK then you need to have at least GBP 1270 to support yourself plus GBP 285 for a dependent partner, GBP 315 for a first child and GBP 200 for each additional child.
- During 2 years visa period spouse will be allowed to work full time and dependent children will be eligible to free education till high school.
Startup Visa Endorsement
For endorsement, you will need to identify the problem specifically in the UK market and also find its solution. You may also explain as how your product or service not only solves the problem but how it solves the problem better than your competitors. Also keep in mind that the UK government is seeking to attract applications who will not only bring innovation but should also contribute to economic growth of United Kingdom.
After you have been granted the Startup visa, you must spend the majority of your time working in the UK developing your own business, but you will not be restricted from undertaking other work outside of your business.
Switching To Innovator Visa
After two years and also after making significant progress on your business, you can switch a start-up visa into innovator visa from the inside the UK. In order to be able to do this, you need to satisfy the requirements and meet the criteria of an innovator visa.
The innovator visa is for more experienced business people who are seeking to establish a business in the UK with investment funds of at least UK Pound 50,000. You should have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an authorized endorsing body. Before you apply for switching into innovator visa, you need to apply for and obtained the endorsement letter from the relevant endorsement body.
If your application is successful, you will then be granted leave to remain for a period of 3 years. After completion of three years of residence in the United Kingdom as an innovator, you can become eligible to apply for ILR. In case, if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for ILR, you can apply for an extension or/and renewal of your innovator visa.