Start Up Visa Program UK
Announced by the Home Secretary in the summer of 2018, the UK Startup Visa is a new visa category under UK Visas and immigration introduced w.e.f. 29th March 2019. This visa replaces the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, which was exclusively for graduates, hence opening it up to a wider pool of talented business founders.
The UK Startup Visa is for people who wish to establish an early stage but high potential business in the UK for the first time, and are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business at this stage. However, they must not have previously set up a business in the UK.
Applicants must prove that they will spend the majority of their time developing their business, though they are permitted by law to take on other work outside of their business to support themselves.
For a business to be eligible under this visa category, it must satisfy the following criteria :
- Be Innovative – The business plan to be submitted must be original and genuine. Further, it must meet new or existing market needs and / or create a competitive advantage.
- Be Viable – The applicant must have (or is developing) the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
- Be Scalable – The business must have potential for job creation and growth into national markets.
It is important to note that a proposed business/business idea must be supported by a listed endorsing body. An “Endorsement Letter” will need to be obtained from an “endorsing body” confirming that the applicant’s business venture meets the endorsement criteria. This is to be done before you apply for the visa.
An applicant need not be the sole founder of the proposed business and may be a member of an entrepreneurial team. Also, the applicant must spend a majority of their working time developing the business venture in the UK.
This visa category allows an applicant to temporarily reside in UK for 2 years and does not lead directly to permanent residence in the UK. However, start-up visa holders can switch to the “Innovator Visa” category to further extend their stay & develop their business. At such time, they must also meet all criteria of the “Innovator Visa”.
To apply an applicant must –
- Be at least 18 years old
- Meet the English Language Requirement
- Be able to prove they have enough personal savings to support themselves.
Family members (dependents) who can apply along with the main applicant are –
- Your husband, wife or partner
- Your child under 18 years of age
Some other UK visa requirements that applicants need to show in order to make a successful UK visa application are the following :
- Maintenance Funds
- English Language Ability
- Criminal Record Certificate
- TB Certificate (if applying from a TB listed company)