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UK Start-up visa

In June 2018, as part of Tech Week, the Home Office announced the new “start-up visa” which aimed to replace the graduate entrepreneur visa and allow a greater number of talented foreign entrepreneurs come to the UK to establish new businesses.

Westkin Associates is a specialist immigration law firm based in London. We have a successful track record of helping companies in all stage of development with their visa applications and have also launched successful appeals against Home Office decisions.

We believe that all businesses are unique and will tailor our services to support you create your vision and start the next chapter of your life here.

If you are interested in our service, please contact us at: 020 7118 4546 or email us at

What is a start-up visa?

The UK Start-up visa is a new category of visas which allows non-European entrepreneurs to come to the UK to start up a new business.

Unlike the innovator visa, this visa is specifically for those seeking to “establish a business in the UK for the first time” and is aimed to include those without a great deal of business experience

Those eligible to switch over to a start up visa will likely be; Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrants, who have recently graduated; Tier 2 Migrants; Tier 4 (General) Students; and, Visitors who are here as prospective entrepreneurs.

What are the requirements for a start-up visa?

– You must have your business plan and idea reviewed and gain endorsement from an approved body.

– You must show you English language skills at a level of B2 in the Common European Frame of Ref (CFR) or above.

– If required, we can assist you in this by putting you in contact with an appropriate English Language course and exam provider. We have supported our clients with this on a number of occasions and will do so free of charge.

– You must provide evidence that you have enough funds for your own maintenance as well as any dependents

– There is no minimum investment requirement for this visa

– Evidence that you won’t fail the “general grounds for refusal”

– This asks you to address any criminal convictions or breaches of UK immigration law you may have.

Creating a business plan

Key to the innovator visa application is your business plan which should highlight the innovation, viability and scalability of your business.

Westkin Associates has a proven track record, working with thousands of clients to create high calibre business plans which have been seen as highly attractive by the Home Office.

Timeline from Start-up visa to a British passport

1. If you have been granted a start-up visa you will be granted two years leave after which you may apply to switch over to the innovator visa. It should be noted that you are not automatically granted this visa as the requirements are more stringent but will depend on the success of your business.

2. If granted an innovator visa you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after just three years, granted that your business has made significant strides in progress relative to your business plan and reached many achievements.

3. If you are not eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years you may apply to extend this visa. After 5 years you may eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

4. If granted you will hold “settled status” and after a year of hold said status you may apply for naturalisation which will entitle you to as well as your own British passport.

Curious about setting up your start-up in the UK?

Contact Westkin Associates at: 020 7118 4546 or email us at

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