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.
- 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:
- You must be 18 or above.
- You must have the minimum required English language knowledge.
- 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:
- Your current passport or any other document as valid travel identification.
- 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.
- Your TB test results in case you are from a country where you are required to take this test.
- 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.