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WH Solicitors

Start-up visa

On 7th March 2019, the UK government set out new rules with many of the changes coming into force from 29th March 2019.


What is a Start-Up Visa?

One of the changes to the rule is the closure of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route, and two new categories have been created: Start-Up Visa and the Innovator Visa.

The new rules say that the Start-Up Visa ‘’category is an expanded version of the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category. It is for those starting a new business for the first time in the UK. Applicants will not need to be graduates and will not need to have secured any initial funding. Successful applicants will be granted 2 years’ leave (doubled from 1 year) and will be able to progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their businesses in the UK after that time.’’

This route is for those that want to start a business in the UK for the first time. There is no need for the applicant to hold a certain degree or qualification or have secured any initial funding.


What must the applicant provide?

To apply under this category, the applicant must show, in a business plan, that their business idea is:

Innovative.  The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viable. The applicant has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Scalable. There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

How is this Start-Up visa assessed?

The applicant’s business idea needs to be endorsed by a UK trusted body such as business accelerators, seed competitions and government agencies, as well as higher education providers. The endorsed body will assess the business idea for innovation, viability and scalability.

If satisfied, the endorsed body will issue an endorsement letter, which must be used within three months of submitting your application. What else does the applicant need to prove?

The applicant needs to be over 18 to apply under this category.

The applicant must pass B2 level of English language ability. Alternatively, this rule is met if the applicant:

  • is from a majority speaking English country.
  • have a degree that was taught in English.
  • met the requirement in a previous successful application.

This level of English is set so that the applicant can ‘have the good command of English they will need to interact with a variety of business organisations and potential customers.’

The applicant also needs to satisfy the credibility assessment.

The applicant must have at least £945 in their account consecutively for 90 days to meet the maintenance requirement.

Finally, the applicant must not be in breach of any immigration laws and or fall for refusal under the general grounds. The applicant can include family members.


What are the restrictions on the applicant once the application is approved?

Once the application is successful, the applicant will be subject to the following conditions:

  • no employment as a doctor or dentist in training.
  • no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).
  • no recourse to public funds.
  • if applicable, register with the police.
  • the applicant can study, subject to certain conditions.


Future steps

Once the Start-Up Migrant visa is granted, the applicant will need to keep in touch with their endorsing body after 6 and 12 months.

The endorsing body must satisfy themselves that the applicant is progressing with their business or are pursuing a new business idea which is also innovative, viable and scalable.

If the endorsing body is not satisfied with the progress, they can withdraw their endorsement, which means that the applicant’s Start-Up Migrant visa is curtailed.

The maximum leave that is granted under the Start-Up visa is two years. Before the expiry of this leave, the applicant is expected to move to the Innovator Visa.

WH Solicitors have extensive experience in helping business people to come to the UK and set up a business. Contact us if you require help and guidance to obtain a Start-Up Migrant Visa.

Start-up visa



Start-up is a new route (essentially replacing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)) to enable Entrepreneurs to establish their first business in the UK.

No Investment required.

The Applicant must secure an Endorsement from a Home Office-approved endorsing boding (many of which are UK higher education institutions), verifying that their Business Plan is Innovative, Viable and Scalable.

Time spent in the UK does not count towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and many Start-Up Migrants will wish to progress as soon as possible to the Innovator route.


Our Fees 

Our fees cover all work* required to submit an Application to the Home Office at a fixed fee between £2,000.00 – £4,000.00.

No VAT is charged or payable for Entry Clearance Applications.

If an Extension Application and the Applicant is an UK resident, VAT shall be chargeable at the current rate of 20%.



Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as visa fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The likely disbursements are:

Application Fees:

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £363.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £493.00
  • NHS Immigration Healthcare Surcharge: £624.00per year
  • Biometric Enrolment Fee: £19.20
  • UKVCAS Fees: Depends on the Application Centre, can range between £0.00 – £200.00

Up to date fees can be found at: : UK visa fees – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). 


What services are include

The work will involve:

  • File opening/Archiving;
  • All correspondences, emails, routine letters, telephone/video calls and meetings;
  • All inherent Administrative works;
  • Continuously assessing and advising the case;
  • Preparation of the Application Form;
  • Submission of the Application Form;
  • Advising on Dependants and the associated works and fees;
  • Providing a Checklist of required supporting/evidential documents;
  • Facilitating with ascertaining the supporting/evidential documents;
  • Where possible, providing Templates of how the supporting documents should appear to be in compliant with the Immigration provisions;
  • Preparing a comprehensive and legally orientated Cover Letter & Submissions, which shall include comprehensive Factual and Legal Submissions;
  • Arranging Application Appointment;
  • Liaising with the Endorser;
  • Discussing your circumstances in detail and confirming whether this is the most appropriate Application for you to make and what other options may be available to you;
  • Providing advice about the requirements of the Immigration Rules and whether you meet the criteria;
  • If you do not fulfil a certain criterion, whether this can be overcome and how.
  • Considering the supporting evidence, you have provided;
  • Where necessary, helping you obtain further evidence;
  • Providing advice regarding the outcome of the Application and any next steps.

*Our fee assumes that:

  • This a new Application and no previous Applications had been made to the Home Office or refusals received.
  • This is a standard case and the matter is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise.

*The costs quoted here do not include:

  • If your matter becomes overly complex and more work is required in order to prepare and submit an Application.
  • We will advise you if further work is required and if so, what would be the increase in our charges.
  • Where the Home Office refuse your Application, advice and assistance in relation to any Administrative Review and Appeal process. 


Processing timeframe

We will normally be able to submit this type of Application within 4 weeks of you instructing us.

However, we will let you know at the earliest opportunity if it is likely to take longer than this.

We cannot guarantee how long the Home Office will take to process your Application; however, you should get a decision within 8 weeks of attending your Appointment at the Visa Application Centre.

There are optional priority fees which can expedite the processing period.

Please see the link for up to date timescales for Entry Clearance pplications: Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).