The basis of the UK’s Start-up Visa programme is very similar to that of the Innovator Visa. The key difference is that no initial funds are required to start up the business and the visa is a one-off, only valid for two years.

The UK Start-up programme is aimed at ambitious business people who wish to start their careers by building a new business idea that will benefit the UK economy. As with the Innovator programme, the Start-up business must fulfil the following criteria:

  • New – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • Innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • Viable – it has potential for growth

Britain’s Start-up Visa programme also requires business ideas to be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution; or
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

Whilst funds are not officially required to apply, in theory, we would advise having some investment funds available as any business idea will naturally need some funding to start.

Start-up visas are one-off visas, valid for two years only and this category does not lead directly to settlement in the UK.  Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn by the endorsing body. If you wish to stay in the UK longer you may apply for another visa category such as the Innovator Visa, which will require a business investment of £50,000. The Innovator Visa category can qualify investors for ILR three years later, so if this is the long-term goal, we would recommend applying for the Innovator Visa instead. Start-up visa applicants can bring their partner and any children under the age of 18 to the UK.

For more passive investor visas involving real estate investment, with flexible stay requirements, there are several other citizenship investment programmes to consider in Europe, the USA and the Caribbean.

For more details on your options, please contact our experts.

Tags: business visa, UK

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