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Start-up

**Please refer to the government website if you have any immigration concerns relating to your Start Up visa due to COVID-19**

The start-up route opened to applicants from 29 March 2019. The route is aimed at early-stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time.

The University of Warwick are an endorsing body for Start Up applicants.

At Warwick, Student Opportunity: Immigration & Compliance work closely with the Enterprise team to manage the route.

Student Opportunity: Immigration & Compliance provide advice and help with the compliance duties imposed by the Home Office, whilst the Enterprise team lead on the recruitment and assessment of potential applicants.


Please read on for details about the Start-up route for new applicants and existing Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs:

  • The University of Warwick is an endorsing body of the Start-up route
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old
  • Applicants who receive an endorsement from Warwick Enterprise will be eligible to apply under the Start-up route
  • The route is open to graduates and non-graduates
    • The University of Warwick will only endorse Warwick Graduates on the scheme.
  • The visa will be granted for 2 years at the outset
  • Applicants will spend the majority of their time developing their businesses but can also take on other work outside of their businesses to support themselves
  • Current Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs may switch into this route.
    • Switching is permitted inside the UK.
    • The length of leave granted to someone switching from Tier 1 GE into the Start-Up route will be 2 years minus the time already granted in the Tier 1 GE category
  • Application fees remain unchanged:
    • Entry Clearance £363;
    • Leave to Remain £493.
      • Leave to remain applications will also be subject to a fee of £19.20 to cover the cost of biometric data enrolment.
  • IHS will also need to be paid at the point of application, which will be £800 for a two year visa.
  • The maintenance requirements for applications remains unchanged.
    • You must have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.
    • Information on the format of the evidence may be found in the Immigration Rules for maintenance
  • It is possible for successful applicants to bring their family members, spouses/partners and children under 18, to the UK
  • The start-up route does not lead to direct settlement in the UK.
    • Start-up visa holders can switch to the Innovator visa route, which can lead to UK settlement.
  • Those on the start-up route will have their progress monitored every 6 and 12 months by Warwick Enterprise .
  • Anyone applying under the Start-up route must meet the Home Office requirements under the following three headings, which will form a large part of the assessment process which the Enterprise team will facilitate before offering an endorsement:
    • Innovation
      • The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
    • Viability
      • The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business and the applicant’s business plan is realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
    • Scalability
      • There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets
  • Applicants to the start up route may only begin self-employment or engage in business activities once their Start-up leave has been granted.
  • The Start Up route will no longer prohibit applications from individuals who have previously been granted leave in any of the following categories
    • Tier 1 (Post study work)

    • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme

    • International Graduate Scheme

    • Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme

  • If you have previously received financial sponsorship from your home Government or institution of study, you will need to obtain their permission in the form of a letter, which you will enclose with your Start Up visa application.

A link to the Home Office website is provided below, which provides detailed information on the eligibility requirements and details of how to apply.