The New Start-Up Visa

Change is a natural part of life, in fact change is the only constants in life, so one should be ready to embrace it  as ‘Without Change There Is No Progress’. To keep up the pace with the world, remain globally competitive and to achieve growth potential in core sectors of the economy, change in the immigration law is inevitable. In June 2018 the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced a new start up visa route, stating that the new visa is “for people wanting to start a business in the UK. This will help to ensure we continue to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs”. To a larger extent this visa category is offered as an alternative to Post-Study Work visa (PSW), and as a replacement for the scrapped graduate visa scheme.The earlier has been obsolete since April 2012. The idea behind the route was simple:  international graduates from UK universities could remain in the UK with a single grant of two years of leave, applying within 12 months of their graduation. This is an exciting launch of visa route for non-EEA nationals wishing to set up a business in the UK for the first time. Among other requirements the endorsement process remains the corner stone and the list of approved endorsers is being broadened to include business sponsors, as well as universities.  The benefit of this new visa is that decision-making for the business viability requirement will be addressed by qualified, experienced and more appropriate parties, and the visa will remain subject to Home Office strict scrutiny. Below is a brief overview of this visa route.

Specific Requirements for Start up Visa

Endorsement Criteria

Innovation, genuine, original business plan Viability necessary skills, knowledge, experience Scalability evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets

Investment funds Requirement

At least £50,000 funds must be available to the applicant for investment.


If the endorsement letter confirms that at least £50,000 funds are available or have been invested in the applicant’s business, no further evidence of investment funds is required

Credibility Assessment

The decision maker must be satisfied
  • The applicant genuinely intends to undertake is capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK as stated in their Application.
  • They do not intend to work in the UK in breach of their conditions
  • Money is genuinely available and the applicant intends to use it for the purposes described in the application
  • Of the applicant’s previous educational, work and immigration history


The applicant can switch to this category from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Tier 2 Tier 4 (General) the restrictions in paragraph W3.4 apply a visitor undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur under Appendix V

English language

B2 Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning


The applicant must have at least £945 Must have been held in the account for a consecutive 90 days

Absences from the UK

180 days or less during any consecutive 12 months. Exception: compelling and compassionate circumstances

Evidence provided with applications

Will only consider documents received by the Home Office before the date the application but under evidential flexibility can request the missing information.


  1. All applicant must have been endorsed in this category by an endorsing body
  2. Must provide an endorsement letter issued by the endorsing body
  3. Does not need to be the sole founder of the business and may be a member of an entrepreneurial team
  4. The endorsing body must not have withdrawn the endorsement by the time the

Endorsing bodies

To qualify as an endorsing body in this category, an organisation must meet the following requirements among other
  • The organisation has a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs,
  • The request to become an endorsing body is supported by a UK or devolved
Government department as being clearly linked to the department’s policy objectives.

Indefinite Leave to Remain  

This category offers leave for 2 years and does not lead directly to settlement in the UK, but applicants may progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their businesses in the UK after that time. The well-aligned above mentioned visa scheme is exactly what’s needed to make the UK a more attractive and accessible  destination for foreign talent and investment, and cementing the country’s place as a world-leading destination for entrepreneurs. The writer is Shahzad Saeed, a senior solicitor at Farani Taylor. Why not email him to find our more. Or call us on 0207 242 1666.