Tier 1 Start-up visa

What is the Start-up visa?

The Start-up visa was introduced on 29 March 2019 replacing the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa/Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. The Start-up visa is for non-EEA national entrepreneurs who wish to set up a business in the UK. Applicants must show that their business idea is innovative, viable, and scalable and they must secure an endorsement from a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. A significant difference is that there is no longer an investment requirement. In the past, Applicants had to show that they had at least £50,000 to invest in their proposed business. The application is broken down into two stages. Applicants must first apply for an endorsement from an approved industry body and then apply to the Home Office for the visa. Applicants can still apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur extensions until 5 April 2023 and settlement until 5 April 2025.

How to submit a Start-up Visa application?

Applicants who wish to apply for a Start-up visa must meet the requirements listed under Appendix W of the Immigration Rules. To summarise, Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old on the date of the decision;
  • Be of good character and not fall under the general grounds for refusal;
  • Not have a history of overstaying except for any period of overstaying allowed under the Immigration Rules;
  • Pass the credibility assessment (see below); and
  • Meet the English language and maintenance requirements (see below).

It is important to submit a well-prepared application with all the mandatory documents. Our Immigration solicitors can advise on the requirements and application process.

What is the Start-up credibility assessment/endorsement requirement?

The Home Office will no longer carry out a genuine entrepreneur test in reviewing an Applicants business idea. Immigration practitioners often questioned and criticised the Home Offices’ approach in conducting the genuine entrepreneur test. As a result, the Home Office has now introduced a credibility assessment/endorsement requirement for the Start-up visa. Applicants secure an endorsement from a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. Applicants are required to submit their business idea alongside a detailed business plan to a relevant endorsement body. The endorsement body will review whether the business is innovative, viable, and scalable. The endorsement body must provide a letter to the Applicant confirming the details listed under Appendix W of the Immigration Rules.

What is the Start-up English language and maintenance requirement?

Applicants must show that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language by passing an English test at level B2 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework. In the alternative, Applicants can meet the English language requirement if they have obtained an academic qualification which was taught in English or if they are from a majority English speaking country.

Applicants must show that they have at least £945 in savings to meet the maintenance requirement. The money must be held for a consecutive 90 days with the last statement dated 31 days before the date of the application.

Is it possible to switch into a Start-up visa?

In some circumstances, Applicants can switch into the Start-up visa from within the United Kingdom.  In order to switch into this visa Applicants must have been last granted leave (visa) as a:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant (who has not yet been granted 2 years’ leave in the category);
  • Tier 2 migrant;
  • Tier 4 (General) student; and
  • A visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur, as set out in Appendix V.

Successful Applicants will be granted a visa for 2 years. Similar to the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, this route does not lead to settlement (Indefinite leave to remain).

Applying for a Start-up visa as a team of 2 or more

It is possible for an Applicant to apply for a Start-up visa as an entrepreneurial team of 2 or more. There is no formal requirement for an Applicant to be the sole founder of the business as the Home Office accepts applications from 2 or more Applicants who share the same business idea. However, each member of the entrepreneurial team must obtain an endorsement in their own right and also meet all the other requirements under Appendix W of the Immigration Rules. It is important for each member of the team to provide information on what their role will consist of and their involvement in the business.  

Using our Solicitors to submit Start-up business endorsement application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application to apply for a Start-up business endorsement application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence (evidence of endorsement). In order to ensure your UK Start-up visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Start-up Visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London

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 prospects of submitting a UK Start-up visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a Start-up business endorsement and ensure that you meet all the necessary rules.

We 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 successful immigration applications. 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 to discuss a Start-up visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02030110276 or complete our contact form.

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