Start up / Innovator Visa


Start-up Visa  

If you would like to come to the UK under Start up visa category, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good business plan. This visa category can lead to new business ventures and opportunities. You can apply for a Start-up visa if you want to set up a business in the UK.

You must have a business idea which is endorsed by an authorised body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. These may be the Royal Society for Science and Medicine, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Tech Nation if you are IT specialist, etc. The authorised body will assess your business plan and provide an endorsement letter if your business is viable.

You will also need to meet the English language and maintenance requirement in order to be eligible for a Start up Visa application.

You can apply from outside the UK or switch to this category from within the UK if you have leave in one of the following visa categories:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • any Tier 2 visa
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Standard Visitor visa – if you came to the UK to get funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body

You can stay in the UK for 2 years on a Start-up visa and thereafter, we can assist you to explore other routes  for you to extend your stay in the UK. This can be either as an Innovator or under another visa category.

Please note, you are allowed to work in another job as well as working for your own business.

Innovator Visa

You can apply for an Innovator visa if you want to set up or run a business in the UK.

You need to have your business or business idea endorsed by an approved body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs as explained above. The approved body will provide an endorsement letter if your business is viable.

You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business, which can come from any source; there are some exceptions to this.

You will also need to meet the English language and maintenance requirement.

You can have a team with other Innovator applicants, but, you cannot share the same investment funds.

You can apply for entry clearance to come to the UK or even switch to this category from the UK if you are on one of the following visas:

  • Start-up visa
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • any Tier 2 visa
  • Standard Visitor visa – if you came to the UK to obtain the funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body

You will initially be granted stay for 3 years and can apply to extend for another 3 years before your visa expires. You may be entitled to settlement for an indefinite period once you have been in the UK for 5 years, provided you meet the relevant requirements. In this category you can come with or invite your family members to the UK.