Do you have business ideas in mind? Do you wish to start your firm in the UK? If your answer is yes, read on. It is essential to understand the different categories of visas. It is easy to get confused between an Innovator Visa and a Start-up visa. Our team is here to help you figure out the right category and apply at the correct time.

What is a Start-up Visa?

A Start-up visa is for entrepreneurs with approved business ideas to move to the UK. Aspiring entrepreneurs can apply for this category without huge funds upfront.


  • Your business idea needs to be assessed by an approved endorsing body before you apply. If your business is viable, you will receive an endorsing letter.
  • You must also be at least 18 years old and prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK.
  • You need to meet the English language requirement.
  • You also need to submit necessary medical documents such as a Tuberculosis report.

What is an Endorsing Body?

A business organization with a history of supporting entrepreneurs or a higher education institution in the UK can endorse an applicant. It would be best if you referred to the approved list of endorsing bodies and their details before you contact an endorsing body. You visit their website and ensure that they match your requirements. You should only contact an endorsing body if you are applying for an endorsement from them. If you have received an endorsement from a body not on the list, it should be reported. Team Taqween will guide you through these procedures and help you locate the right endorsement body.

Your business proposal should be innovative; it cannot be already functional. It needs to be viable and should have the potential for growth to be endorsed.

English Requirement

  • Applicants have to prove their English language abilities unless they have done so, for another visa application. You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to a level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
  • The approved language tests/ qualifications are:
  • Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English from a UK school before 18.
  • A degree-level academic qualification in the English medium is an accepted qualification. For degrees from outside the UK, you have to receive a confirmation through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D.

How to Apply

You should apply for a start-up visa from outside the UK.  However, there are some exceptions. You can apply from within the UK if you are in the UK with any of these visas.

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa – You need not prove that your business idea is new if you switch from this category.
  • Tier 2 visa
  • Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Standard visitor visa – If you have an endorsing letter and are in the UK to arrange funding.

Business Idea

Your Business Idea should be

  • Innovative
  • Viable
  • Growth Potential

 It should have an endorsement from an approved body.


  • One significant advantage is bringing a dependent partner and dependent children below 18 to the UK.
  • You can work in another job along with running the business.

What CANNOT be done

A person with a start-up visa cannot

  1. work as a professional sportsperson/coach
  2. work as a doctor or dentist in training

Start-up is not a route to settlement. You can progress from start-up to an Innovator and then apply for settling in the UK.

We will assist you in preparing the required documents and ensure that you fulfill all the conditions before applying.

Business Plan – Pre-Requisites

  1. The business plan should be original. It should meet the market needs and create a competitive advantage.
  2. It should be achievable with the available resources
  • Applicants should develop the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness requires for the business.
  1. Evidence of structured plan and job creation potential.
  2. The applicant must not have previously established any business in the UK. However, there is an exception for companies that commenced trading during the applicant’s last permission period. This exception is applicable only if the permission was in the following routes:
    1. Start-up
    2. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
    3. Student on the doctorate extension scheme.

How Long Can You Stay?

The duration of a Start-up visa is two years. This is the same if you switch to Start-up from another category. There is no option for an extension. However, you can switch to an Innovator visa if you set up a business while on a Start-up visa. This is possible if your endorsing body agrees. Your business needs to be functional and sustainable for the same. Switching categories can be confusing. Our consultancy team will provide you with details and clarify your doubts.

How Long Does It Take?

After applying, applicants are required to provide identity proof and other necessary documents. After verifying these, you will receive a decision –

Application from outside the UK – In 3 Weeks

Application from inside the UK    – In 8 Weeks

There are options for getting a faster decision.

Our Services

At Taqween, we believe that coming together and working with the focus can turn dreams into reality. We have a successful history as an immigration consultancy and our expert team will make your work easier. Contact us for more details. Let us give wings to your business dreams.