Start Up Visa

How to set up your first uK business.

Start Up Visa

The UK Start Up Visa is aimed at early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs starting a business in Britain for the first time.

It does not necessarily require an initial investment amount, and is open to both graduates and non-graduates.

Start Up Visa requirements 

You may be eligible for this visa if you are not an European Economic Area EEA or Switzerland citizen and you want to set up a business in the UK.

You must be at least 18 years old and you must not have previously set up a business in the UK.

You have to meet the English language requirements and provide evidence of personal savings to support yourself during your time in the UK.

Your business or business idea must also undergo an endorsement assessment by an approved body.

Endorsement criteria 

To apply for the visa, you must first be endorsed by a Home Office-appointed authorising body. Start up visa endorsement is granted by either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

  • Innovation – The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
  • Viability – the applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
  • Scalability – there is evidence of structured planning and of the potential for job creation and growth into national markets.


Unlike the UK Innovator Visa, you do not need to invest funds initially, although this may help to support your business case.

To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement.

How to apply for the Start Up visa

You apply for the Start-up Visa online. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Start-up Visa UK application.

The earliest that you can apply for a UK Start-up Visa is three months before you travel.

It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.

How long can you stay in the UK with a Start Up visa?

You can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up Visa and you can bring family members, including a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18.

There is no option to extend your Start-up Visa after two years, but you can switch to the Innovator Visa to extend your stay in the UK and develop your business.

Read more about: