The Start-up visa category is for early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business for the first time in the UK. Applicants do not need to be a graduate or have secured any initial funding. However, applicants will need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which has been approved by an endorsing body.

Applicants can work on their own as a sole founder, or together as part of an entrepreneurial team, provided that each applicant is an original and significant member of the founding team with a day-to-day role in the business.

The business idea may relate to any sector, provided the business idea is sufficiently innovative, viable and scalable.  Applicants can develop other businesses as well as their main business idea, and are permitted to work or study outside of their business venture, provided that they spend the majority of their working time in the UK on building their business venture(s).


  • Startup Visa is Valid for 2 years
  • You cannot apply to extend the visa
  • You may be able to switch to Innovator Visa.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for the Start-up visa applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • You are at least 18 years old;
  • You have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has positively assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend the majority of your time in the UK on developing your business venture;
  • You have not previously established a business in the UK;
  • 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.
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