Student business start-ups and the UK Start Up visa

 
 

Graduation from university is a proud day for a student as well as their family. It is a chance to celebrate all the hard work throughout the university years. It is also a bit frightening as for most students it marks the end of student hood and entering a new phase of their lives. For some, their Immigration status is also a concern and many might consider switching their Tier 4 student visa to a Start-up Visa. 

 
For international students who have either studied at a university in the UK or who have graduated overseas but want to work in the UK, starting a new path that involves visa applications is a bit daunting. 
 
top London immigration solicitors can really empathise with international students as this year marked the commencement of the new Start-up Visa, aimed at the young entrepreneur (or older but less business experienced entrepreneur). It is hard enough to look at visa options when there is lots of information about a visa route but it is doubly difficult if the visa route is new and largely untested.  
 

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

 
Are you interested in applying for a Start-up Visa? Do you have questions about the UK Start-up Visa requirements or your alternative visa options? 
 
The friendly Legal 500 recommended Immigration team at OTS Solicitors can help you consider the option of a Start-up Visa and assess whether it is the best visa route for you. 
For advice on Start-up Visa endorsement and the application process, call Immigration solicitors who specialise in helping entrepreneurs making a start in the UK by providing first class legal advice and seamless access to the business resources to best assist you with your visa application.
 
Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 for a chat to see how our experienced approachable Immigration solicitors can help you.  
 

Who can apply for a Start-up Visa?

 
First and foremost, the Start-up Visa is not restricted to graduate applicants. top London immigration solicitors say that anyone can apply for a Start-up Visa provided you are:
 

• A non-EEA national who wants to set up their first business in the UK;

• Over the age of eighteen (there is no maximum age limit);

• Able to meet the English language test requirement;

• Able to demonstrate that you have the required minimum level of maintenance funds (currently £945 held for at least ninety consecutive days. The figure is higher if you have dependants);

• Able to show that you are eligible to enter the UK under the Immigration Rules general grounds (for example that you have not previously breached UK Immigration Rules and you are of “good character”).

 

Switching from a student visa to a Start-up Visa

 
Applications for a Start-up Visa can either be made within the UK or from outside the UK. 
top London immigration solicitors advise that some Start-up Visa applicants can apply from within the UK if they want to move from the following visa categories: 
 
• Tier 4 Students;
Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur);
Tier 2
• Visitor visa – if, for example, you came as an entrepreneur to the UK to look at funding for your planned new business under a visitor visa.
 

The team Start-up Visa 

 
The positive about a Start-up Visa is that you can apply for the visa on your own or the application can be made as part of a team. For the young entrepreneur, starting their first business in the UK , the option of being able to apply for a Start-up Visa as a member of a team is an attractive option and, for some applicants, it will give the bests prospects of making a successful Start-up Visa application.
 

Securing Endorsement for a Start-up Visa 

 
The first stage of the Start-up Visa application process is to secure endorsement from an Endorsing Body. 
 
The government has published a list of Endorsing Bodies that includes specialist endorsers for various industry sectors as well as qualifying higher education institutions across the UK. Some university Endorsing Bodies require you to be a graduate from the institution. Experienced Immigration solicitors and business advisors can help you find the best Endorsing Body that matches your business idea.
 

The Endorsing Body assessment for a Start-up Visa 

 
Once you have chosen your Endorsing Body, a Start-up Visa applicant submits an application to the Endorsing Body who assesses the application against the UK Start-up Visa requirements.
 

The Endorsing Body will look at:

 
• Viability –  is the business viable or are you acquiring the necessary skills and experience to make a success of your business idea;
• Innovation – the business idea has to be new or innovative and you have to be able to demonstrate that there is a market for the business;
• Scalability – you must be able to show, in your visa application paperwork, that your business idea is scalable and will grow and create jobs.
 
In addition to the three key requirements, Start-up Visa applicants also need to show: 
 
• That you have not previously established a business in the UK, unless you are applying to switch from the Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) Visa;
• That you intend to spend the majority of your time in the business;
• That you have the resources to make the business work and to meet the key criteria of viability, innovation and scalability. Although there is no set minimum amount, you have to commit to invest in the new venture; your business plan will need to demonstrate how your business will be funded and how cash flow will work for the new enterprise. 
 

The Start-up Visa Home Office application

 

The Start-up Visa application process does not end with getting endorsement from an Endorsing Body.
 
The application process for a Start-up Visa is two stage – endorsement by an Endorsing Body followed by Home Office application. 
 
Once you have an endorsement letter from an Endorsing Body you have three months from the date of endorsement to make the Home Office application for your Start-up Visa. Without the endorsement letter, the Home Office will not assess your Start-up Visa application.
 
top London immigration solicitors say that as the Endorsing Body stage is a rigorous assessment some Start-up Visa applicants assume that the Home Office stage is the easy bit of the process. That is not the case.
 
An applicant will need to show the Home Office that:
 
• There is a genuine intention to set up the business and grow it;
• They have the capability (this can be qualifications or experience or the detail in the business plan) to set up the business;
• The required maintenance funds are available;
• They meet the general Immigration Rule requirements to enter the UK. This will involve the Home Office looking at your Immigration history.
 

What next after a Start-up Visa? 

 
Many Start-up Visa applicants see the Start-up Visa as a stepping-stone. That is because the Start-up Visa only lasts for two years. An application to renew the Start-up Visa cannot be made. 
 
When the Start-up Visa expires, your options are to:
 
• Leave the UK;
• Apply for an Innovator Visa – this is similar to a Start-up Visa but is designed for more experienced entrepreneurs;
• Get a job through a Certificate of Sponsorship by an employer who has a Sponsor Licence and is regulated to employ non-EEA citizens;
• Look at alternative visa options, for example depending on your family background; you could even consider the investor route.
 
What is agreed is that if you secure your Start-up Visa the likelihood is that the two years will fly by and you will soon be looking at your next visa option and the steps you need to take to secure a new type of visa. top London immigration solicitors say that it pays to get early legal advice on your best future visa options. A specialist solicitor and business advisor can not only assess the prospects of your securing your Start-up Visa but also guide you through the goals you should be looking to achieve in your first two years to make your Innovator Visa application or alternative visa option easier to achieve at the expiry of the Start-up Visa.  
 

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

 
Legal 500 recommended central London OTS Solicitors specialise in Business Immigration Visas and can help you secure a Start-up Visa or advise you on your switch and settlement options. 
 
With a vast amount of experience in representing Start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, our London immigration solicitors understand the needs of entrepreneurs for no nonsense Immigration advice tailored to personal and business needs.
 
Call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how our experienced London immigration law solicitors can help you.
 

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