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Start-Up & Innovator Visas

UK Start Up Visa

The Start Up Visa offers an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their career by pursuing a business idea in Britain that will bring wider benefit to the UK economy.

The visa is available for a maximum of two years, after which point the visa holder will either have to apply to switch to another visa category, such as the Innovator visa, where they can continue to develop their business.

The visa will only be open to those who have secured appropriate endorsement. Gold Atlantic will help you secure Endorsing Body approval.

Professional guidance is critical to ensure correct interpretation and understanding of the new rules and what these mean in practice for securing endorsement and making a successful visa application.

With so much at stake, it’s important to ensure the Start Up visa is the most suitable route for your needs, and that you follow the application process and submit all required documentation to avoid issues, delays or even refusal of your application.

UK Start Up Visa

  • No initial funding required (you’ll be bringing sufficient funds to establish your business)
  • available for a maximum of 2 years (after this you can switch to another visa, such as Innovator Visa, then 2 years start up + 3 years innovator visa = 5 years for permanent UK residency and UK citizenship after 1 year from permanent residency)
  • Endorsing Body approval required before application

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • a new idea – you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable, with potential for growth
  • must be over 18 years of age and a national of a non-EEA country
  • English language requirement to Level B2

UK Innovator Visa

Unlike the start-up visa, which is for first-time businesses, the innovator visa is for experienced businesses. The route requires £50,000 investment in the business from any legitimate source. This is a significant reduction on the £200,000 required under the preceding Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.

Interestingly, the funding requirement will be waived for those switching from the new Start-up scheme, who have made significant achievements against their business plans.

Applicants should also note that across the board, the Home Office is heavily scrutinising supporting documentation in respect of business visa applications. Evidencing the source and ownership of funds will be critical to your application.

Before applying to the Home Office for the visa, applicants must first secure endorsement from a business sponsor in support of the applicant’s relevant experience in business.

Endorsement must be secured from one of a number of Home Office-appointed endorsing bodies.

The endorsing bodies have been charged with assessing applicants’ business ideas against specific criteria of innovation, viability and scalability:

Innovation

Originality will be the critical factor. The business plan is to demonstrate the product, service and/or its promotion is genuinely innovative, inventive and original and that it new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viability

Applicants will need to show they bring more than a great idea to the table. They must themselves possess and evidence the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business. Further, the business itself must be able to show it can maintain cash flow until profitability.

Scalability

A key determinant will be potential contribution to the UK economy in the form of job creation and planning for growth into national and international markets. This is likely to be more challenging for start-ups, where projections will need to be relied on.

Commitment

The endorsing organisation must also be reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend their entire working time in the UK on developing the business venture and the innovator may not work for another business.

Where endorsement is granted, and the visa ultimately approved, visa holders will be required to maintain contact with their endorsing body at the 6, 12 and 24-month marks to confirm continued compliance with the route conditions. Gold Atlantic will be assisting you in all those required steps.

UK Innovator Visa

  • Min £50,000 investment in the business from any legitimate source (the funding requirement will be waived for those switching from the new Start-up scheme, who have made significant achievements against their business plans)
  • must be over 18 years of age and a national of a non-EEA country
  • English language requirement to Level B2
  • Innovation – Viability – Scalability – Commitment criteria
  • 3 years (you can extend for another 3 years. There’s no limit on the number of times for extension)
  • Endorsing Body approval required before application
  • Permanent UK residency after 5 years and UK citizenship after 1 year from permanent residency.

GOLD ATLANTIC SERVICE TO YOU

At Gold Atlantic we help individuals and businesses meet their UK immigration needs, including Start-Up and Innovator Visa applicants.

As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of visa applications, and for providing expert visa-related advice.

We are on hand to help you through the endorsement and visa application stages, making the process as smooth as possible.

  • Free assessment on your circumstances by a qualified specialist
  • Application preparation & submission
  • Bespoke Business Plan Writing
  • Unlimited legal advice by our British lawyers
  • Unlimited face to face consultations
  • Fixed fee for all applications
  • Multi-lingual support
  • 24-hour WhatsApp communication service by Istanbul and London offices
  • Regular updates on your case
  • Get in touch and let us help you establish your business in UK.

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