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Start-Up Visa

The UK Start-up visa is for individuals who are new entrepreneurs and want to establish a business in the UK for the first time. You do not need to be a graduate or have secured any initial funding. However, you will need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which has been approved by an endorsing body.



The Start-up visa category is suitable for early-stage, but high-potential, entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in the UK for the first time.

Start-up visas are one-off visas, valid for 2 years and the category does not lead directly to settlement in the UK.  However, Start-up visa holders may extend their stay in the Innovator visa category and qualify for ILR three years later.  Start-up visa applicants can bring their partner and any children under the age of 18 to the UK.

Generally, Start-up visa applicants will not already have started setting up their business in the UK.  However, where they have, the new business should not yet have started trading.  The only exceptions to this are if the applicant has already been granted leave under the Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories, or under the Tier 4 doctorate extension scheme.

Who is the Start-up visa suitable for?

If you are an experienced businessperson seeking to establish a business in the UK then the Innovator visa may be more appropriate. If you wish to join an already trading business then the Skilled Worker visa may be more appropriate. If you are a senior employee of an overseas business looking to establish a commercial presence in the UK then you may like to consider the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

Requirements for a Start-up visa

To qualify for a Start-up visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are at least 18 years old;
  • You have not previously established a business in the UK (unless you previously held leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur);
  • You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend the majority of your working time in the UK on developing your business venture;
  • Your endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Start-up visa application;
  • You genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in your application;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • If you are outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months then you have at least £1270 to support yourself, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child and £200 for each additional child.

The exact requirements that you will need to satisfy may vary depending on the circumstances of your case.  We recommend speaking to an immigration adviser for expert advice.

Stages to Obtaining a Start-Up Visa

Our start-up visa application preparation and submission service is divided into 6 discrete stages:

Stage 1 – Complete our start-up visa enquiry form

To receive a free initial assessment of your suitability for a start-up visa, complete our Enquiry Form.  An adviser will review your responses.  We aim to respond within 24 hours.

Stage 2 – Eligibility & Concept Assessment

All endorsing bodies require that applicants have checked that they are eligible as an individual for a start-up visa before they are contacted for endorsement. All endorsing bodies require applicants to demonstrate that they have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea.

Stage 3 – Endorsement Application

Having successfully completed stages 1 and 2, we will formally introduce you and your business plan to up to 3 Home Office-approved endorsing bodies. As a trusted introducer, Nexus Associates can ensure direct contact with investment panel members as well as transparent, timely decision-making.

Stage 4 – Business Plan Approval

The endorsing body will have an initial consultation where you can pitch your concept and business plan. If the endorsing body feels that it is appropriate to take the proposal forward then they will spend time with you to fully understand your model, the cashflows, and other requirements they deem necessary to make sure your concept has the best prospect of being endorsed.

Stage 5 – Visa Application

Having successfully passed stages 3 and 4 and secured an endorsement, we will prepare your start-up visa application and submit it to the Home Office. The Immigration Rules contain strict requirements in terms of the evidence that must be provided in support of an start-up visa application. We will ensure that your start-up visa application is professionally presented, technically correct and approved the first time.

Stage 6 – Approval & Mentoring

Once your start-up visa application has been approved by the Home Office, you will be able to enter the UK to start deploying your investment funds and developing your business concept. We will continue to support you until switching applications for start-up visa after 2 years. Via our trusted partners, we can also provide education consultancy services for UK schools and universities, if these services are desired.

How Our Immigration Advisers Can Help

Nexus Visas is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading immigration advisers for start-up visas.

Our team of immigration advisers has experience in assisting all types of innovative entrepreneurs and their businesses. Our advisers are experts in immigration options for start-ups and will guide you through the complex Home Office rules and policies.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our client’s needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to businesspersons as part of a professional and friendly service.

Contact us today

Nexus Visas assists international clients in obtaining UK visas, residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.

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Nexus Visas is the trading name of Nexus Immigration Limited company registered in England and Wales with company number: 12633225. 

This firm is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

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