News article

UK Start-up visa

5 April 2019

People who want to start a business in the UK can apply for a start-up visa

You can apply for a UK Start-up visa if:

  • you want to set up a business in the UK
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements


Before you apply you need to have your business or business idea assessed by an approved body.

You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs

Authorised bodies will have eligibility criteria. For example, Invest Northern Ireland is an approved body that can issue endorsements for UK Start-up visas. To be eligible for endorsement you must be a participant in their Ignite Accelerator Programme or be an Invest NI customer.

You must also:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • meet the English language requirement
  • be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK

How long you can stay?

You can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up visa.

GOV.UK provides application details and further information on the Start-up visa.