The United Kingdom is well-known for its strong and thriving tech industry, particularly in areas such as fintech, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. With numerous startups and tech companies based in the country, the UK has become a tech hub for innovation and entrepreneurship and it was documented in UK Innovation Strategy 2021. In an effort to attract even more talented entrepreneurs to the country, the UK government has created UK Startup Visa On the 29th of March 2019, UK Startup visa category was launched by the Home Office.
This visa offers a unique opportunity for tech entrepreneurs to access one of the world’s most lucrative tech markets, as well as benefit from the country’s supportive startup ecosystem. For those aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to launch a business in the UK, applying for a UK Startup visa could be a promising option, especially if they have long harboured dreams of residing and working in the country.
UK Startup Visa is open to all entrepreneurs who have a business idea that is innovative, scalable, viable, and has the potential for significant growth. From the point of view of the rules, a visa does not require start-up capital; however, we advise you to have additional funds and a strong business plan, as this will definitely increase your chances of success. The funding can come from a variety of sources, including venture capitalists, angel investors, or crowdfunding platforms.
In addition to the funding requirement, entrepreneurs must also meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be considered for UK Startup Visa. These criteria include having a proven track record in the tech industry, possessing sufficient proficiency in the English language, and being able to demonstrate that their business idea has the potential to create jobs and contribute to the UK Tech Economy.
Main Requirements & Eligibility of UK Startup Visa
The following requirements must be fulfilled for an application to be considered valid:
- Business idea must be innovative, viable and scalable.
- The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
- The applicant’s business plan is realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources;
- The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business;
- Demonstrate systematic planning and potential for job creation and growth into national markets.
- The applicant must be at least 18 years old on the date of application;
- The applicant must have been issued with an endorsement letter from approved endorsing body/accelerator licensed by a Home Office;
- The date of application must be no more than 3 months after the date on the endorsement letter;
- The endorsement must not have been withdrawn by the endorsing body.
- If the applicant has in the last 12 months before the date of application received an award from a government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, they must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.
Applying for a UK Startup Visa
To obtain a UK Startup Visa, you must submit an online application through the Home Office website with the specific process depending on whether you are applying from outside the UK or switching from another visa.
- Check your eligibility: before reaching out to any endorsing body, ensure that you fulfill the eligibility criteria.
- Create a unique business plan: your business Idea must stand out.
- Contact an endorsing body: If you and your business plan meet the requirements, reach out to an endorsing body. During the initial meeting, you can submit your business plan, MVP and Pitch Deck with clear following 3 createriaes – Innovation; Scalability; Viability.
- Receive endorsement approval: If the endorsing body is convinced of your business plan’s potential for success, they will approve it, and you can move on to the next step after receiving the endorsement letter.
As part of your application, you will need to visit a visa application center to have your fingerprints and photograph taken in order to obtain a biometric residence permit (BRP Card). Once your application is approved, you must enter the UK within 90 days which is stated in vignette in your passport and collect BRP Card.
Advantages of a Start Up Visa UK
One of the main benefits of the UK Startup Visa is that it offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to work and live in the UK for a period of two years. During this time, entrepreneurs are able to focus on building and growing their business, with the support of the UK’s startup ecosystem. This includes access to business incubators, mentorship programs, and networking events.
Another advantage of the UK Startup Visa is that it offers a pathway to permanent residency in the UK. After the initial two-year period, entrepreneurs may be eligible to switch to UK Innovator Visa to extend their stay in the UK for 3 more years and then meet UK Settlement (UK PR),if they meet certain criteria. This includes demonstrating that their business has generated a certain level of revenue, applied for Patent, and has created jobs.
The UK government has also recognised the value of the UK Startup Visa, and has made efforts to streamline the application process and provide additional support to entrepreneurs who are participating in the program.
If you find UK Startup visa interesting and suitable for you, please check your eligibility right here, we have developed a specialised platform for assessing qualifications.
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