The UK Start-Up Visa is aimed at new entrepreneurs launching their first UK business and carries no requirement for initial capital investment. Successful applicants are granted a 2-year visa after which they may be able to progress to the Innovator category in order to further develop their business(es) within the UK.

Entry clearance applications

The Start-Up Visa requirements may be met by the following criteria:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • Applicant may not be a Swiss citizen or from the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Applicant must not have previously set up a UK business
  • Applicant must be endorsed by a relevant Endorsing Body
  • Applicant must have sufficient personal savings in order to reside in the UK
  • Applicant must meet the English language requirement

Key Benefits:

  • There is no investment fund requirement, however applicants may require investment funds as a condition of endorsement
  • Applicants may bring their family members, including a spouse/partner and children under the age of 18

Applicants may transfer to the Start-Up Visa category should any of the following apply:

  • Applicant is already resident in the UK
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) program
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from any Tier 2 Visa program
  • Applicant wishes to transfer from the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
  • Applicant is a UK visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur

Visa Duration

The Start-Up Visa is a one-off visa without the option for extension after 2 years or qualification for further leave to remain under this category.


However, Start-Up Visa holders may switch to the Innovator Visa program in order to extend their stay in the UK and facilitate further business development. The Innovator Visa is valid for a 3-year period. After 3 years there is an option to extend the visa prior to expiry, or to qualify for ILR. Should a 5-year period have passed since an applicant first entered the UK through the Start-Up Visa programme, they may well become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (UK settlement).

Processing Time

  • Applicants may apply up to 3 months prior to travel to the UK. To expedite the decision-making process, applicants may pay for a Priority Service.