As part of efforts to ensure the UK remains one of the best locations for innovators, the UK government launched the UK Start-Up visa. The visa, along with the Innovator visa, is currently among the most sought-after visas for investors looking to establish in the UK.
Applying for a Start-Up visa involves many intricate processes, most of which involve finance. As a result, it requires a comprehensive understanding from anyone who wants to apply.
You are on the right page if you intend to get a UK Start-Up visa. This post has all the details you should know about the application process.
What is a UK Start-Up Visa?
The United Kingdom encourages and supports new ideas and is a welcoming place for creative entrepreneurs. The government issues start-up visas to persons with bold ideas so that they can set up businesses in the country and contribute to its economic development.
Endorsing bodies in the UK will look at your company plan and give you the green light if they think it has potential. If you want your visa application accepted, you will need to receive a letter of support from one of these organizations.
Your company plan needs to be specific, original, and ground-breaking to achieve this. You can get endorsements from the following official institutions:
- An established group with a history of helping UK business owners
- Any UK University or College
Getting your visa application accepted will be easier if you have endorsements from the appropriate UK bodies.
Eligibility Requirements to Apply for Start-Up Visa UK
The UK Visa and Immigration has set some mandatory criteria for the start-up visa application. It is crucial to meet the below-mentioned eligibility requirements for foreign individuals to grow business in the UK:
- You should be at least 18 years old
- You should meet the required level of English language proficiency
- You should have a valid endorsement letter from any authorized endorsing body in the UK
- You should have financial proof for supporting yourself in the UK
To sustain yourself in the country, you must have at least £1270 in your bank account for the last 28 consecutive days before the date of your visa application.
Endorsement Criteria for UK Start-Up Visa
As stated before, an endorsement letter is crucial to the success of a business proposal. Here, you will need to demonstrate that your business idea fits the standards set forth by a recognized endorsing body.
Startup visas are intended to encourage and facilitate the development of novel, ground-up commercial initiatives that either fill an unmet market demand or provide a sustainable competitive advantage.
You need to have or acquire the information, skills, and experience, as well as an understanding of the market, to manage a business in the United Kingdom successfully.
Your business plan should be capable of expanding to meet the needs of the national market and creating jobs.
The endorsing organization will also want assurances that you plan to base yourself in the UK while building your business there.
The Home Office’s website features a list of all endorsing organizations for startup visa applications. In addition to links to each organization’s website and information about the application process, the list provides the names of all currently recognized start-up visa endorsing bodies.
Documents You Need for Start-Up Visa Application
You will need to present the following documents for your UK Start-Up Visa application.
- Valid international passport. You can also present any other document proving your nationality and identity.
- Proof that you are proficient in the English language
- A valid letter of support for your business concept from the UK endorsing organization.
- Proof that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the country. Usually, you should have at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.
- Tuberculosis test results, if it is mandatory for your home country.
Your documents must be original and in English or Welsh. If it is in any other language, you must provide a certified translation.
UK Start-UP Visa Application Fees
The application fee you will pay depends on if you are applying from outside the UK or you are in the UK and you want to switch visas.
If you are in the UK, you will pay £508. Your dependents coming with you will also pay the same. On the other hand, if you are applying from outside the UK, you will pay £378, which is cheaper.
The UK Start-Up Visa attracts a healthcare surcharge, in addition to the processing fee. You must pay a yearly fee to receive medical care in the United Kingdom. How long you intend to remain in the United Kingdom is a factor.
When applying for a multiple-year visa like the Start-Up Visa, the application fee is £624. You will be prompted to pay a healthcare surcharge for yourself and your dependents during the online application process.
The UK Home Office will email you if you have not paid your healthcare surcharge within 7-10 business days. Your visa application will be denied if you do not make the payment.
Steps to Apply for the UK Start-Up Visa
People who want to launch a business in the UK must submit an online start-up visa application. All required documentation must be included with the application form.
After that, you must also send your biometrics through official visa centers. Depending on your passport type, there are two ways to do this.
After logging into your UKVI account, you can scan your documents using the UK Immigration ID Check app. Alternatively, you can have your fingerprints and photograph taken in person at a visa application center.
Make sure you fill out your application form correctly and meet all of the requirements listed on it. Most mistakes happen on the application form or in the documents sent with it.
Your application may be rejected as a result of this. Therefore, please review your application well before sending it.
It takes around eight weeks for the UKVI to process your Start-Up Visa application if you are in the UK. On the other hand, if you are outside the UK, you can get a decision within three weeks, which is faster.
Like many other UK visas, the Start-Up visa is eligible for priority and super-priority processing if you pay the fee. Paying for priority or super-priority service means you get a faster decision on your application – a few days, to be specific.
Duration and Extension of the Start-Up Visa UK
A UK Start-Up visa permits you to stay in the country for two years. The duration is also two years if you switch to the Start-Up visa from a different visa.
Notably, you cannot extend the Start-Up visa when it expires after two years. Instead, you are to switch to an innovator visa. An Innovator Visa lets you stay in the UK for longer and is extensible when it expires.
However, you may not need to extend your Innovator Visa as you can apply for indefinite leave to remain after three years. In order words, you can move from a visa holder to a permanent resident in the UK.
However, the UK Innovator Visa is just as intricate as the Start-Up Visa. You can find out more about the visa in this WorldTravelPride post.
Start-Up Visa UK Dependents
As a Start-up Visa applicant, you can bring close family members with you to the UK. Family members who are eligible will need to fill out their individual visa applications and pay the processing fee.
You can bring your:
- Spouse or civil partner, or a long-term partner who is not married
- Children younger than 18
- Child over 18 who is living with you in the UK as a dependent – if you’re switching visas.
If your family joins you in the UK, you will have to show that you have more money. You will need an extra £285 for your partner, £315 for one child, and £200 for your other children.
UK Start-Up Visa Application Refusal: What Can You Do?
Undoubtedly, you must have an amazing business idea to apply for a Start-Up visa, which is what the UK government needs. However, your startup business visa can be refused or rejected due to many reasons, including:
- Errors in your application form
- Incorrect information or documents submitted
- Not responding to the follow-up requests made by the UKVI
Any reason out of these or all of these combined can lead to your visa application refusal.
Now, if this happens to you, here is what you can do. You can proceed with an administrative application record if you are outside the UK. Secondly, make sure that you initiate this within 28 days of getting your visa refused or rejected
You can also seek the intervention of judicial authorities and appeal against the immigration decision. Lastly, you can opt to resubmit your application and begin the entire process again.
In addition, you also need to keep some patience. Dealing with visa refusals can be time-consuming and overwhelming at times. Hence, check on your follow-up process with legal authorities to know if you should start your application again.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Start-Up Visa UK
Here are some commonly asked questions by people who want to apply for a Start-Up visa:
What Happens After 2 Years of Start-Up Visa?
You and your family members are permitted to remain in the UK for two years. After this time, you will not be able to extend your startup visa, but you can change to an innovator visa to extend your stay in the UK and grow your firm. When the innovator visa is about to expire, there are options to renew it for another three years.
What You Can and Cannot Do on a Startup Visa?
Your loved ones can join you in your new home country if you have a startup. Changing visa categories and moving from a startup visa to another type of visa is possible.
The government will not provide you with any money, though. You also can not practice medicine or play a professional sport while in the UK on a startup visa, nor can you permanently reside there.
Does the Start-up Visa lead to permanent residency in the UK?
Since you cannot extend the Start-Up visa, you cannot use the duration to apply for permanent residency in the UK. However, as mentioned in this article, you can easily switch from the UK Start-Up to the Innovator Visa.
Time spent on the innovator visa counts as residency, which means you can apply for indefinite leave to remain – permanent residency. In other words, you can get permanent residence from your Start-Up visa by first switching to the Innovator Visa.
You might be able to apply for British citizenship after having indefinite leave to remain for a year. However, you must meet many requirements before getting indefinite leave to remain if you have a Start-Up or Innovator Visa.
These include staying in touch with the group that backed you and showing proof that your business venture is moving forward.
The Start-Up Visa was launched to help talented people from other countries build their business ideas in the UK.
Compared to the Innovator visa, you do not have to be a college graduate or have excess money in the bank to apply for this visa. As a result, it is a more affordable option for investors.
The visa is for businesses that are just starting but show a lot of promise. You can follow up on the application process with the information in this post. If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section.