Startup Visa: How Do You Apply?

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Large pools of applicants can greatly benefit from the pathway through a startup visa. A startup visa targets entrepreneurs who exhibit significant potential, intending to launch their first firm in the UK.  Far from its predecessor, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, you do not need a degree to apply. The application does not require investment money.

You also have the possibility of applying a team member of entrepreneurs who are starting a business with friends, colleagues, etc.

Are You Applying from Within or Outside the UK for a Startup Visa?

Usually, startup visa applications come from outside of the UK. If you are from within the UK under one of the following conditions, you cannot convert to this visa:

  • Visitor visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa
  • Domestic worker in a private household visa
  • Short term study visa
  • bail for immigration
  • Permission to remain outside of immigration laws, such as for humanitarian reasons

Are you planning on starting a new business in the UK?

Applying for a Startup Visa

Finding the Appropriate Endorsing Body

The endorsement for a startup visa must come from a recognised organisation. The Home Office has a list of organisations that are authorised to provide start-up visas. This applies to both commercial and academic establishments.

The criteria for endorsing bodies provide organisations a great deal of latitude in how they regulate and process applications in reality. This inevitably results in discrepancies in the paperwork, Ts&Cs, etc.

Whether the bodies choose to accept startup visa applications solely from enterprises with whom they are currently engaged or affiliated would be one of the crucial areas of discretion. For instance, several universities only accept applications from recent graduates.

Therefore, candidates without prior ties to or engagement with endorsing organisations must discover whether organisations accept “independent” applications.

Create and Submit an Application for Endorsement

Endorsing organisations evaluate startup visa applications in light of predetermined standards. Specifically:

Innovation: You have such a sincere, unique company concept that satisfies present or future market demands and/or establishes a competitive edge.

Viability: You already possess, or are actively working to acquire, the knowledge, abilities, experience, and market awareness required to effectively operate the firm.

Scalability: You show evidence of formal planning, as well as the capacity to expand into national markets and create jobs.

Commitment: Even though you are allowed to work outside your firm, the endorsing body had to be “reasonably satisfied.” this ,means being capable of spending most of your business time within the UK building your business.

If your prior leave was taken under the Graduate Entrepreneur visa and your startup endorsement are all from the same endorsing organisation, the requirements of creativity, viability, and scalability will not apply.

Applications must answer each of these requirements in accordance with the application procedure established by the appropriate organisation. The creation of a business strategy, marketing materials, and a presentation to the body are probably required.

Ensure your documents are credible and up-to-date

Decision of Endorsement

You will be provided a letter of endorsement. Your endorsement letter must be submitted with your visa application to The Home Office. You can only do this once you are successful. Keep in mind that you only have just three months out from letter’s date to submit your visa application.

Application to Home Office
  • Age: You must be 18 or over to apply
  • English Speaking: You must be able to speak and understand English at the B2 level. An authorised English language test is necessary. This does not apply, unless you are a citizen of one of the majority-English speaking nations. This exemption also also extends to those that have degrees from a UK university, or you have a degree from a foreign university that has been English taught and is recognised by UK NARIC as being on par with a degree from the UK.
  • Maintenance funds: Only if the letter from your endorsing body states that a minimum of £945 for funding has been received, you must demonstrate that you have £945 in maintenance funds accessible with you and under your control for the stipulated minimum time period. You must provide proof that the dependent maintenance requirement is satisfied when dependents apply.
  • No general grounds for rejection: You meet the general requirements for acceptance and don’t have a criminal record or a history of breaking UK immigration laws.
  • Reliability: The applicant declares in their application that they truly plan to engage in any employment or commercial activity in the UK and that they are qualified to do so. You must also show that you have no intention of going against the terms and working in the UK. The money that the applicant alleges to have, is actually accessible as stated and will be used for the objectives stated in the application, according to the applicant.


The validity of the applicant’s presented proof must be credible. Statements made to other government agencies detailing the applicant’s prior employment and other activities in the UK. The Home Office will also take into account for educational, job and immigration history. The Home Office may also ask you to provide further information from you or your endorsing body.

The maximum term of leave under this category is two years. Successful candidates can stay in the UK. The expectation is that they will then transition into the Innovator category. If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read about the most important startup metrics every founder must know.


Amit Khanna

Amit Khanna, 7startup Founder


Amit has 18 years of experience in the industry and an MBA. He supports entrepreneurs with every aspect of their business including concept and product development, investor presentations, and fundraising. Amit & 7startup assist startups in the pre due-diligence process and help connect them to our vast network of investors. Reach out to us today and see if we’re a fit!

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