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Start-Up Visa

What is a start-up visa?

If you would like to set up a business in the UK, you are able to apply for a start-up visa. However, you must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and meet the requirements below.

What are the requirements?

In order to apply for the start-up visa in the UK you must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • a new idea – you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading
  • viable, with potential for growth

You must also be:

  • at least 18 years old;
  • meet the English language requirement; and
  • be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you are in the UK. You need to have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.


There are many endorsing bodies and you should only approach ones that are suitable for your business idea. The endorsing body will provide you with an endorsement letter if your business is viable

How long does it take to get a visa?

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

What are the Home Office fees?

How much you pay for a start-up visa depends on your situation and where you apply from. However, if you are applying for outside the UK it would cost £363. If you are a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia it would cost £308 and the cost for dependants would be £363 each.

You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

How long can I stay?

You can stay in the UK for 2 years on a Start-up visa. You cannot apply to extend this visa.

What happens if your endorsement is withdrawn?

If your endorsement is withdrawn, your visa may be cut short. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.

You can only stay for a total of 2 years even if you are granted a new visa with a new endorsement.

Mandatory documents that you must provide

You must provide the following documents. However additional documents may need to be provided depending on your circumstances:

When you apply you need to provide an ‘endorsement letter’ from an authorised body.

You will also need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • bank statements showing you have had at least £945 in savings in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply
  • your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test
  • proof that you have knowledge of the English language.

You will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

What can you do in the UK, if your application is successful?

You can:

  • bring family members with you
  • switch to this visa from some other visa categories
  • work in another job, as well as working for your business

You cannot:

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • settle in the UK on this visa

Contact our expert business immigration lawyers at Davenport Solicitors

If you need help with your Start-Up Visa application, call us on 020 7903 6888 or request a call back at a time convenient for you. You can also drop us an e-mail at contact@davenportsolcitors.com. We aim to reply within 24 hours.

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