Things you must know about UK Start up Visa

There are thousands of capable entrepreneurs who want to start up their business in the UK as the country offers bundles of opportunity. The UK is an attractive country for startups with political stability, language advantage, generous tax structures for entrepreneurs and a robust economy. The UK also recognizes the contribution of foreign talents who can contribute to a country’s growth immensely. Thus, the UK allows for startup visa for non-EEA nationals who wish to start up a business in the UK. So, anyone with an endorsement from an authorized body in the UK can apply for a UK startup visa.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Endorsement letter

All individuals who wish to apply for a UK startup visa must have their business idea assessed by an approved body in the UK. After they find that your business is viable they will provide you an endorsement letter which is essential for a UK startup visa application. You will get an endorsement letter only if the endorsing body finds that your business venture meets the criteria of innovation, viability, and scalability. Another condition is that the endorsing body should be reasonably satisfied with the fact that you will dedicate most of your working time in the UK on developing your business.

Other eligibility conditions include:

  1. You must be 18 or above.
  2. You must have the minimum required English language knowledge.
  3. You must prove that you will be able to support yourself financially while you stay in the UK. The minimum amount of £945 you must have had in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.

Documents you must provide

Apart from the endorsement letter from an authorized body, you need to submit the following documents when applying for a UK startup visa:

  1. Your current passport or any other document as valid travel identification.
  2. Bank statement that shows that you have had a minimum of £945 in your bank accounts as savings for 90 consecutive days before you apply.
  3. Your TB test results in case you are from a country where you are required to take this test.
  4. Documents as proof of your knowledge of the English language.

Keep a blank page in your passport where you’re your visa can be put. If there are documents that are not in English or Welsh language then you need to provide a certified translation of such documents. You may also have to submit more documents other than mentioned here depending upon various circumstances.

When to apply, how long it takes and how long you can stay on the UK startup visa?

Well, at the earliest you can apply 3 months before you plan to travel to the UK and in normal circumstances, you should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

With the UK startup visa, you can stay in the UK and do your business for 2 years. There is no possibility of any visa extension in this category. Also, the time period to stay in the UK may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn. However, you can re-apply with a new endorsement if you want to stay longer before your current startup visa expires. With a new visa with a new endorsement in place also you can only stay for a total of 2 years. If you wish to extend your stay in the UK you will need to make an application as an Innovator

What you can do and what you cannot do?

With a startup visa, you are allowed to bring your family members with you. You can also switch to a UK startup visa from any other visa category.

You cannot seek and access public funds. You cannot work as a doctor, professional sportsperson and you cannot settle in the UK with UK startup visa.

What is Unmarried Partner Visa?

This visa is for people who are not married or do not want to get married but stay in a genuine and subsisting long term relationship.

As an Un-married Partner, you can either be a dependent if your sponsor who has a temporary visa i.e. limited leave to remain for example as a Tier 2 visa holder or Tier 1 Visa holder. OR You can be an unmarried partner of a person who is British or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

The applicant can apply entry clearance to come to the UK or apply leave to remain as a partner provided his/her current visa category allows the switch.

The applicant must be in a relationship with a person who is a British Citizen or settled in the UK or on Limited Leave to Remain (exceptions can be made if the applicant’s partner is remaining in the UK as a recognised refugee). The applications are made under the Immigration Rules. All the unmarried partners whether their sponsor is  British Citizen or settled in the UK or on Limited Leave to Remain generally need to show –

  • Both the applicant and the UK partner are over 18 years of age;
  • have met each other;
  • have been in a genuine and subsisting for at least 2 years period;
  • the applicant can be accommodated in the UK;
  • the applicant can be maintained without recourse to public funds;
  • the applicant does not fall for refusal under general grounds for refusal; and
  • the unmarried partners intend to live together in the UK

How to Apply?

The application can be submitted from within or outside the UK. The in-country application can only be made if you are in a category which allows you to switch from within the UK (generally any visa except visitor visa). Once the applicant has completed the application they should provide evidence to meet the above requirements for the Home Office to consider the application.

Documents to Submit

  • Your passport
  • Copy of your partner’s passport
  • Proof of relationship
  • If any of your documents are not in English or Welsh language then you need to provide a certified translation of those

N.B. this is not a complete list of documents. Contact the advisors at Visa and Migration Ltd for a fully comprehensive list according to your situation or circumstances.

How long you can stay on Unmarried Partner Visa

For applications made outside the UK, once the application is approved the applicant will be given one month visa and they will collect their Biometric residence permit which will be for

– Length of a Main Applicant’s or Sponsor’s Temporary Visa ( Tier 2 or Tier 1 visas)

– 2.5 years if applying under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules

For applications made within the UK will also follow the above timeline.

Once an applicant has completed 5 years in the UK as a dependent of the sponsor or main applicant or under Appendix FM of the rules they can apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK provided all requirements are met.

The application fee to the Home Office depends under the category you apply –

Tier 1 – Entrepreneur – Outside the UK – £1021 + Immigration Health Surcharge of £1200; Inside the UK – £1,277

Tier 1 – Investor – Outside the UK £1,623 ++ Immigration Health Surcharge of £1200

Tier 2 General – From outside 3 years or less – £610 + Immigration Health Surcharge of £1200

Appendix FM – from outside the UK is £1523 + Immigration Health Surcharge of £1200. From inside the UK, you will pay a Government fee of £1033 + and Immigration Health Surcharge of £1000

Contact Visa and Migration Ltd now to know more or apply Unmarried Partner Visa.


Applying for Sole Representative Visa

Overseas companies who intend to establish their operations in the UK are able to send a representative from your organisation who can set up a company branch in the UK. The representative will be solely responsible for the operations of the company in the UK.

Requirements for Sole Representative

  • You must be from outside EEA and Switzerland
  • You must be recruited and employed by a company outside the UK. The company is considered to be fit if they have headquarters and principal place of business outside the UK.
  • You must hold a senior position in the company. However, you cannot be a major shareholder/director in the company which means they cannot be holding more than 50% shares of the company.
  • You must have full authority to make operational decisions on the company’s behalf in the UK.
  • You must intend to work full time for your employer to establish the first commercial presence in the UK, for example establishing a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

You may also be a sole representative if the company has a legal entity in the UK which does not employ staff or does not transact any business in the UK. If your company has already been making efforts to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but so far no branch or subsidiary has been set up, in that case, you can replace a previous sole representative.

Moving employees to the UK

Businesses overseas can send their employees to the UK through Tier 2 ICT or Business Visit visa options. The choice of choosing the visa category will be determined by a number of factors which includes the role of the employee in the company and role they will perform in the UK, the nature of the activity they have to carry out, the time they plan to spend in the UK and also the status of the company’s operations in the UK.

How long it takes and how long can you stay

You can apply the earliest 3 months before you travel to the UK. Once you apply from the outside UK, you should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

Once you are granted Sole Representative Visa, you can come to the UK for 3 years initially and you may extend your visa for 2 more years, provided you meet the requirements for an extension. After you complete 5 years in the UK, you can apply for permanent settlement/Permanent Residence/ Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

What you can do and what you cannot do

As a sole representative in the UK, you can work full time for your employer. You can also bring your family to the UK and you can extend your visa multiple times.

However, with Sole Representative Visa, you cannot work for yourselves or any other company or business. If the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer then you cannot stay in the UK anymore. You cannot switch from any other visa category to this visa category and you are not allowed access to the public funds in the UK.