The Startup visa was launched on 29 March 2019 to replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. The new immigration route is designed for entrepreneurs from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who wish to establish a UK business for the first time.

You may be able to switch to the Innovator visa if you are already in the UK on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, Tier 4 General Student visa, or any Tier 2 visa.

You may also be able to switch to an Innovator visa from a Standard Visitor visa provided you come to the UK to get funding and obtain a supporting letter from an endorsing body.

Please speak to Tanya Laidlaw if you would like to learn more. If you require corporate legal support for your new venture, we are able to provide specialist advice.

Startup Visa Eligibility & Requirements

You will need to obtain endorsement of your business idea from one of the organisations approved by the Home Office – this will be either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

You will need to have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply. You may also need to provide evidence of your English language ability – the minimum level for an Innovator visa application is B2 (‘Independent User’ in the CEFR classification).

Startup Visa Conditions

You will be able to stay in the UK for 2 years on a Startup visa. Any time you previously spent in the UK on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will count towards the 2 years.

You cannot apply to extend or settle in the UK on this visa. You may be able to switch into the Innovator visa category if you have made significant progress against your business plan.

On this visa you can work both in another job and for your own business. You can bring your family members to the UK with you.