Our experienced business immigration solicitors at Woodcock Law can guide you through the UK Start-up visa route.

The UK Start-up visa route enables entrepreneurs to set up an innovative first business in the United Kingdom. This visa replaces the previous Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. There is no requirement to be a graduate, and no initial level of funding required to be eligible.


You must be endorsed by an approved by an organisation which has been selected by the Home Office in order to be eligible to apply for this immigration category, which is the first of two stages in order to successfully apply for this immigration category. Entities that can provide an endorsement are either universities or approved business sponsors. A detailed business plan will need to be prepared before an endorsement would be provided.

You can then submit a visa application to the Home Office once you have successfully obtained an endorsement.


  • Your idea must be assessed and approved for viability by an endorsing body before you apply.
  • They will provide you with an endorsement letter.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must meet the English Language Requirement.


You must have enough savings to support yourself. Current guidance requires you to have at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.


  • You can set up a business or several businesses, and work for your business.
  • You can bring your dependents with you if they’re eligible
  • You can travel abroad and return to the UK
  • You can switch to a different visa route. 


  • You cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • You cannot work as a professional sportsperson
  • You cannot settle in the UK on this visa.


UK Start Up Visa

Start-up Visa applicants do not officially need any funds to invest in their business. However, to achieve endorsement, the requirement to have a viable and scalable business plan means that you likely need to have funds available to invest.
Some endorsing bodies may require a level of funding as a condition of endorsement.

The Home Office has published a list of authorised endorsing bodies for Start-up Visa applications. This list contains links to websites of each endorsing body and, where available, details of their application process and endorsement criteria.

This will depend on your individual requirements. We can advise and guide you in selecting the right endorsing body for your application.

The endorsement is the first step of the application process. The Home Office will also consider other eligibility factors and may request further information or call you for an interview.

No. The Start-up Visa category is for people seeking to establish a new business in the UK for the first time.

Yes, but each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an endorsing body

Yes, but your endorsing body will need to be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business venture and have demonstrated reasonable progress in relation to your business idea.

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:
• 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK
• 8 weeks, if you’re applying to switch visas from inside the UK.

You can apply for Priority Service if it is available in your country. There is a cost to get a quicker decision – this depends on each individual visa application centre.

The Start-up Visa is valid for a maximum of two years. You will have to apply to switch to another visa category once the two year period draws to an end to continue to develop your
The Innovator Visa is intended to be the appropriate route after the initial period as a Start Up visa holder.

You can switch to the Start-up Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and are currently in the UK on one of the following visas:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa
  • Skilled Worker Visa
  • Intra-company Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Standard Visitor Visa – if you came to the UK to get funding and already had a supporting letter from an endorsing body
    You must switch to this visa before your current visa expires.

Contact us for our
expert advice

There are many requirements to be met to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration. The Immigration Rules contain strict requirements in terms of the evidentiary documents that must be provided.

Woodcock Law is well placed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on making a Start-up Visa application. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous, but we can assist you in your application.

We recommend getting in contact with us on 020 7712 1590 for our expert advice on such an application before any action is taken.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on

Complete this form to download the brochure.

Woodcock Law and Notary Public specialises in a wide range of visa categories.