Start-Up Visas

Start-up visa 

You can apply for a Start-up visa if:

Getting endorsed 

You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:
  • a UK higher education institution 
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs 
You must be able to show that your business idea is:
  • a new idea - you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading 
  • innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market 
  • viable, with potential for growth 
Read the endorsing bodies list - you should only approach ones that are suitable for your business idea.

How long it takes to get a visa 

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June. 
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK. 


How much you pay for a Start-up visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.

Healthcare surcharge 

You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you will have to pay before you apply.

How long you can stay 

You can stay in the UK for 2 years on a Start-up visa.
You cannot apply to extend this visa.
You may be able to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if you have:
  • completed your second year on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa 
  • switched from a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa to a Start-up visa for your second year 

If your endorsement is withdrawn 

Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.
You can only stay for a total of 2 years even if you are granted a new visa with a new endorsement.

What you can and cannot do 

You can: 
You cannot: 
  • get public funds 
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training 
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach 
  • settle in the UK on this visa 
See Also: