Launched in March 2019, the UK startup visa provides a route to enter the UK but also works towards settlement and British citizenship. The UK start up visa is for foreign nationals outside of the European Economic Area who are at the initial stages of developing their business. Under this visa route, applicants must exhibit their business idea met with the eligibility requirements by obtaining endorsement from an authorised endorsing body.
What is Startup Endorsement?
Endorsement is a mandatory requirement for an applicant to the UK home office to obtain leave to enter or stay in the UK under the startup visa route. If successful in obtaining the endorsement, the body will furnish an endorsement letter explaining the proposed business idea for the home office visa application. It is vital that the applicant submit their UK start up visa application within three months from the date of the letter of endorsement.
When determining the endorsement of a UK startup visa applicant, endorsing bodies must evaluate the applicant against the requirements laid down by the home office. You can seek the help of UK immigration solicitors to help you figure out the endorsement criteria of the home office. The proposed business idea must satisfy the following conditions:
- Innovative: The business plan must be genuine and original that meets existing or new market needs or has a competitive advantage.
- Viable: The visa applicant is developing the required skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness to successfully run the business in the UK.
- Scalable: Applicant must prove that there is a structured business plan with the potential to create jobs and growth in the UK market.
Apart from the above-mentioned endorsement criteria, additional criteria apply to the UK startup visa route.
- First-time Entrepreneurs: The endorsing body has to ensure that the applicant has not previously established a business in the UK. Those who have established a business earlier will need to apply under the UK start up and innovator visa route. If you have any confusion regarding what constitutes business, seek guidance from UK immigration solicitors.
- Investment Funds: The home office guidelines do not specify a minimum funds requirement needed to invest in the venture. However, it is recommended to show some form of investment to prove the viability and scalability of the enterprise.
- Permitted Activities: Applicants must spend most of their working time in the UK building their business after obtaining this visa. However, they will not be barred from conducting work outside the business.
- Group Applications: The home office permits group applications under the startup visa scheme. It means that the applicant need not be the sole founder of the proposed venture.
Which Endorsing Bodies?
The government has identified a list of endorsing bodies that are authorised to issue an endorsement for a startup visa. The approved bodies for endorsement include higher education institutions and business accelerator groups. Contact the UK immigration solicitors to know more about the government-approved endorsing bodies.
Immigration Visa Consultations at Osbourne Pinner
Look for professional legal advice before applying for a UK startup visa. At Osbourne Pinner, we provide legal advice and guidance to make sure that the applicants have selected the right immigration option. Our UK immigration solicitors guide them to make successful applications and meet the home office requirements for UK startup and innovator visas. Our visa solicitors are experienced and offer legal advice on eligibility and suitability of the relevant visa routes and immigration options.