“Can a foreigner start a business in the UK?” For many, this question ultimately leads to the Start-up visa. One of the most popular UK business visas, the Start-up is available to non-UK nationals who want to come to the United Kingdom for the purpose of starting a business there. Today’s blog will answer “What is UK Start-up visa,” as well as some of your most frequently asked questions about this visa and working in the UK generally, including “Can I get a UK work visa without sponsorship?” and “How much does UK Start-up visa cost?” Among other topics, readers will learn how to get a Start-up visa, how to get a UK Start-up visa endorsement, and how much bank balance is required for UK Start-up visa. Read on for these top FAQs and more!

How can I legally work in the UK?

  • If you are a non-UK national living in the UK who is looking to work in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, you may do so—provided you obtain the correct visa. 
  • If you obtain a Start-up visa, you will be allowed to work legally in the UK. 

Can a foreigner start a business in the UK?

  • Yes! Foreigners can absolutely start a business in the UK provided they apply for and receive the correct visa; i.e. one that grants them permission to work in the country. 
  • If you are wondering “How can I legally work in the UK?” and (particularly if you are considering starting a business there) the Start-up visa might be for you. 

What is UK Start-up visa?

  • The UK start up visa is available to foreigners who are looking to immigrate to the UK in order to start a business there that both unique and dynamic.
  • Applicants who apply for and successfully receive a UK Start-up visa can remain in the country for a maximum of two years. 

How to get a Start-up visa

  • Applicants who are interested in the Start-up visa must fulfill the eligibility requirements and gather their required documents and materials before launching an application. 
  • Before you apply, check to make sure that you fulfill each of the eligibility requirements relating to finances, age, and the English language (applicants must have a certain amount of money in their possession, be a minimum of 18 years old, and demonstrate their English language speaking/writing abilities to be considered eligible). 
  • Begin your application process by contacting us here

How to get a UK Start-up visa endorsement

  • As previously mentioned, one of the requirements for the UK start up visa is that applicants receive an endorsement from a particular body. 
  • There are a number of different entities that offer endorsements on behalf of Start-up visa holders. These include businesses which are based in the UK and are already well established in the country. 
  • For help securing a UK endorsement body, contact us here

Can I get a UK work visa without sponsorship?

  • The majority of UK work visas require applicants to obtain sponsorship, and the Start-up visa is no exception. 
  • While some UK work visas require applicants to be sponsored by an employer (such as the Skilled Worker visa category), Start-up visa applicants should instead secure sponsorship from an endorsement body (this is known as an endorsement, rather than sponsorship). 

How much does UK Start-up visa cost?

  • The basic application fee for the UK Start up is £363—for a single applicant. If you are applying from within the country (i.e. switching into this visa category from another) the cost is £493. 
  • Please keep in mind that the application fee is separate from other mandatory fees, such as healthcare. 
  • As a separate financial requirements for the UK start up visa, applicants must also display a specific amount of funds in their bank account (more information on this below).
  • Finally, keep in mind that any of your family members who apply as your dependents on a Start-up visa will also be subject to application fees (£363). 
  • Please note that nationals from the below states will have their application costs reduced by £55 (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey).

How much bank balance is required for UK Start-up visa?

  • In addition to the mandatory cost for applying, applicants must also demonstrate their possession of a certain amount of funds (£1,270), which they must hold in their bank for a minimum of 28 days in a row prior to applying.  

How long does it take to get a Start-up visa?

  • The processing time for the majority of Start-up visa applicants is 21 days. 
  • Please note that the process could take longer, depending on the completeness of your application and other factors. 

How to switch to this visa

  • Depending on what category of visa you are currently on, you may be able to switch to the Start-up visa provided you are already legally in the UK. 
  • How to switch to this visa depends on where you are when you apply and what type of visa you are currently on.  
  • Please note that applicants who are currently in the UK must travel outside of it in order to apply to switch to the Start-up (essentially, this means you cannot apply to switch to the Start-up from within the UK). 

Who cannot switch to this visa?

  • If you are currently on immigration bail, if you have received permission to stay outside the immigration rules, or if you are already in the UK on one of the below categories of visas, you are unfortunately barred from switching to a Start-up visa. 
    • Short term student 
    • Visit 
    • Seasonal worker
    • Parent of a Child Student 
    • Domestic worker (in a private household) 

Can the Start-up visa be extended?

  • No. While some UK business visas allow for the possibility of extension, the Start-up visa is strictly limited to two years. This means that if you want to stay longer in the UK while on a Start-up, you will have to apply to switch into another visa category in order to do so legally. 
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