The Tier 1 Start-up visa has replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The Tier 1 Start-up visa is available for new entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the UK. Overall the requirements for this visa are similar to the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The most significant change is that Applicants must present a business idea to the Home Office which has been assessed and approved by an endorsing body. There are also a few additional requirements where Applicants must now show that their proposed business is innovative, viable and scalable.
What is the Tier 1 Start-up visa?
The Tier 1 Start-up visa is a new business visa category for entrepreneurs who wish to set up a business in their UK for the first time. This visa is normally for applicants with limited entrepreneurial experience and is often an attractive option for graduates. It is possible for a few Applicants to apply together if they intend on becoming co-directors of the same company. However, these are not linked as “team” applications and each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an approved endorsing body. An applicant can stay in the UK on a Tier 1 Start-up visa for a period of 2 years but there is no option to extend beyond the initial grant. However, there is an option to switch into the Tier 1 Innovator visa.
What are the requirements for a Tier 1 Start-up visa?
The requirements for a Tier 1 Start-up visa can be found in Appendix W of the Immigration Rules. We have summarised the main requirements below:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old on the date of the decision;
- Applicants must be of good character and must not fall under the General Grounds for Refusal;
- Applicants must pass the credibility assessment (endorsement from an approved body);
- Applicants must meet the English language requirement (must have at least a B2 level of English language ability, as defined in the Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning) and the maintenance requirement (must show they have at least £945 of available funds, plus £630 funds for each dependant).
There is no minimum investment requirement for the Tier Start-up visa but Applicants must submit a well-prepared business plan with a financial forecast.
An endorsement body must be approved by the Home Office and has a specific list of tasks it must carry out. The endorsement body will not make immigration decisions or police the immigration system. The primary role of the endorsement body is to issue endorsements to Applicants based on the Home Office’s guidance. Applicants must provide a letter issued by an endorsing body which includes all the points listed in Appendix W.
Please click here to see a list of endorsement bodies for new entrants applying under the Tier 1 Start-up visa.
What is the alternative to the Tier 1 Start-up?
If you believe the Tier 1 Start-up visa is not for you; there are a few alternative business visa options for you to consider. The first option is the Tier 1 Innovator visa which is for the more experienced Applicants who wish to introduce a new business in the UK. The eligibility criteria for both applications are similar and both require an endorsement from an approved body prior to the Home Office visa application. The second option is the Sole Representative visa which allows companies registered outside the UK/EU to establish a subsidiary in the UK. The overseas company can send a worker to the UK on their behalf to handle affairs in the UK subsidiary. The main requirement is for Applicants to show that the overseas business has been operating for at least 12 months, has a good turnover and profitability. However, the overseas business must always remain the main focus of the business.
Using Legal Representation to apply for a Tier 1 Start-up visa
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 1 Start-up visa under the UK Immigration Rules via Appendix W.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 1 Start-up visa succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 1 Start-up visa application meets the Immigration Rules via Appendix W.
Successful Tier 1 Start-up applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your Tier 1 Start-up visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful Tier 1 Start-up visa. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.