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What you need to know about the UK Startup visa

The UK start-up visa is a new type of business visa category that is designed to enable entrepreneurs to come to the UK to start up a business. There are certain general and financial requirements you must meet if you are planning to apply for the startup visa, which are listed below.

What is the UK startup visa?

The UK startup visa is a category of business visa that was introduced in March 2019 and is aimed at people who come from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are looking to start up a new business in the UK. The startup visa UK has replaced the Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa so as to widen its scope and not just rely on university graduates to bring fresh new business ideas to the UK.

The UK startup visa is valid for two years, after which applicants can apply for their further leave to remain in the country under another new business immigration visa category, the UK innovator visa. This will lead applicants to be eligible to apply for permanent residence after another three years in the UK.

The fees for the UK startup visa are between £308 and £363 to apply from outside the UK, or between £438 and £493 to switch to this category from another category from inside the UK. You can apply, at the earliest, three months before you intend to travel to the UK.

What are the requirements?

The requirements for the UK startup visa are:

  • Being over eighteen years of age
  • Having not have started a business in the UK before, unless this was under the Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur scheme
  • Having had the business endorsed by an approved UK body
  • Intending to carry out the work you stated you would in your application, and being able to prove that you are capable of doing so
  • Having met the required level of English language, which you may have to take a test to prove
  • Having at least £945 in savings to support yourself upon arrival in the UK
  • Proving that you will not need to access public funds whilst you are in the UK

Before getting your application accepted, a registered UK body will have to endorse your business idea by assessing how viable and innovative it is. Without an endorsement, you will not be granted a UK startup visa.

Furthermore, although there are not any requirements for investment funds to be had, you should bear in mind that the Home Office will have to be satisfied that you will not need government help to establish your business in the UK.

To apply for a UK startup visa, you will also have to be a university graduate, the sole founder of your business, or a member of some sort of entrepreneurial team. The Home Office will consider your credibility, as well as investigating your education, immigration and work history.

Other business visas

As well as the UK startup visa, there are two other main types of business immigration visas, the innovator visa and the investor visa. The innovator visa is aimed at experienced business-people who want to establish a presence in the UK for their current company, as opposed to people just starting their business. Innovators must have at least £50,000 in investment funds. The investor visa is intended for established business-people with a high net worth to visit the UK to make big financial investments. Investors must have at least £2 million ready to invest.

You can apply for any of these business visa types by yourself, but do bear in mind that they can become quite complex because of the amount of evidence you have to submit and requirements you have to meet. For this reason, many UK-based immigration solicitors offer visa application services where they can compile your whole application for you or conduct a thorough check at the end.

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