Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who wishes to migrate to the UK? We are here to help you understand the process. The basic requirement, as we all know, is getting a visa. There are different categories of visas and this can be confusing. How and when to apply? What are the requirements? Here’s a guide:

Start-up Visa

A Start-up visa is for entrepreneurs with approved business ideas to migrate to the UK. Aspiring businesspersons can apply for this visa without huge funds at hand. The initial investment is not fixed for this category.

Who can Apply?

EU and Non-EU citizens can apply for this category

Individuals or teams who wish to set up business in the UK can apply – The applicant need not be the sole founder. However, if a start-up team is applying, each member should have an individual endorsement letter.

What are the Eligibility Requirements?

  • Endorsement – 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.
  • Age – You must also be at least 18 years old and prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK.
  • Language -You need to meet the English language requirement.
  • Medical Documents – You also need to submit necessary medical documents such as a Tuberculosis report.

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.

Application and Approval – Duration

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.

Business Endorsement – Who and How?

An endorsement body refers to a business organization with a history of supporting entrepreneurs or a higher education institution in the UK. They can endorse an applicant. The UK government specifies that applicants need to be endorsed by institutions in the approved list of endorsing bodies. It is advised that you understand the details of an endorsing body before you contact them. Applicants can visit their website to 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 that is not on the approved list, it should be reported to the authorities. Team Taqween will guide you through these procedures and help you locate the right endorsement body.

Business Requirements

Your business idea should be

  1. Innovative – You cannot apply with an already functional business concept
  2. Viable – You need to prove that you can manage the investments and funding requirements
  3. Possibilities- It should have growth potential.
  4. Endorsement – It should have an endorsement from an approved body.

Business Plan

  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.

What ate the Language Requirements?

  1. Applicants have to prove their English language abilities unless they have done so for another visa application. Applicants need to submit proof that they can read, write, speak and understand English to a level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
  2. 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.

From where do I Apply?

Application for a start-up visa should be submitted 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 to fund.

What are the Advantages?

  • Applicants can bring a dependent partner and dependent children below 18 to the UK.
  • You are allowed to work in another job along with running the business.


  1. Jobs that cannot be taken up – A person with a start-up visa cannot work as
    1. work as a professional sportsperson/coach
    2. work as a doctor or dentist in training
  2. No Direct Settlement – Start-up is not a route to settlement. You can progress from start-up to Innovator route and then apply for settling in the UK.


Application Fees

ApplicantFrom Outside the UKSwitch Inside the UK
Dependents (Partner/Children)£493£363


In addition to this, applicants have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The fees are lower for applicants from Turkey (£308) and Macedonia (£438).

Our Services

We believe in focused and coordinated work that can turn your business dreams into reality. We have a successful history of immigration consultancy. Our expert team will make your visa application process smooth and easy. Contact us for more details. Let us give wings to your business dreams.