As promised, the UK government has finally announced 2 years ‘UK Startup Visa’ with no heavy requirements of money held in bank account (funding) and capitals initially to apply for the visa. The main thing is that people with no graduation will also be able to apply for this program. UK startup visa program is in action from 29 March 2019. This new visa is aimed at aspiring and ambitious non-European young businessmen who want to set up business in the UK. Previously, it was UKBA caseworkers to look at the business proposals for TIER 1 visa streams, but for this new startup visa, there will be newly announced endorsement bodies to decide whether the applicant is good enough to be funded and endorsed. This visa will well be a great replacement for Entrepreneur visa to set up a business in the UK.
Who can apply?
In order to apply for this visa program, you need to meet certain requirements. For doing so, you must:
- be from non-EEA countries
- have a good business plan that could help the economy of the UK
- have had received an endorsement from one of the endorsement bodies assigned by the UK government
- have £945 in your personal bank account for the consecutive 90 days before you submit your visa application
In addition to the above, you must also have certain English proficiency requirements such as:
- a test result of approved English language tests at the level of at least CEFR B2 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
- having an academic degree that was taught in English medium of instruction and is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or Ph.D.
You do not need to prove above mentioned English level requirements if you are a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
⇒Important to know: The processing timing fr this visa is 3 weeks after applying. You may apply 3 months in advance for the visa before the intended travel date. The visa duration is 2 years and it cannot be extended.
Benefits and drawbacks
First of all the benefits. You can:
- bring your family members including spouse and under 18 children
- switch from other visas to this visa if you are already in the UK and hold Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), any Tier 2 visa, Tier 4 (General), student visa, and Standard Visitor visa(if you came to the UK to get funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body). Please do note that 2 years visa time will count altogether and this time includes any time spent in the UK on previous visas.
- do a job alongside working for your business
Some drawbacks are that you can not:
- settle in the UK on this visa permanently
- claim public funds
- work as a professional sportsperson, for example, a sports coach
- work as a doctor or dentist in training
You will have to pay online a certain amount as a visa fee which is:
|Applying person||from outside the UK||from inside the UK (switch)|
|dependants||£363 each person||£493 each person|
|citizens of Turkey & Macedonia||£308||£438|
⇒Important to know: You may have to pay healthcare surcharge. You can calculate it here.
Documents required to apply for the visa online
Depending upon your personal circumstances, you may need to provide some extra documents to support your visa applicant, but the following are the major one:
- a current valid computerized passport (there must be a blank page in it to stamp the visa)
- tuberculosis test results (TB test report) if you are from certain countries)
- certified English translation of your supporting documents if they are not in English or Welsh.
- academic qualifications (optional but important)
- work experience documents (optional but important)
- bank statement of last three months with a saving of £945 held for consecutive days
- endorsement letter from endorsement bodies
- English language proficiency certificate at CEFR B2 level for all four modules (for example IELTS with minimum 5.5 band score). You can check here the complete list of approved English language tests and their CEFR levels.
Authorized Endorsement Bodies
One really important factor that allows you to apply for this visa is an endorsement letter from authorized endorsement bodies. Some of these do this free of cost for you but some do charge an amount for the process. They not only examine your business plan but also support you financially to set up the business in the UK. Even after reaching the UK and working, these bodies keep on you an eye if you perform well or not. In some cases, they may withdraw your endorsement. If you first time apply for the endorsement letter and get a refusal, you will next time be able to apply again with a better business plan. Though the UKBA does not ask for any academic degree, the endorsement bodies may do so and additionally may well also ask for your previous experience for setting up a new business. There are two types of endorsing bodies; business endorsing bodies and HEI (higher education institutions) endorsing bodies. You can click here and download the list of both bodies.
How to apply for the visa?
You have to apply for this visa online. On paper application, is not possible. At the time of applying for the visa, you must have all personal documents with you in original scanned form. You will have to upload the documents and pay the fees online too.
Once done online applying, you will have to go the Visa application center in your country of origin to submit your photograph and biometrics. You will be guided at the end of the visa application submission page on how to proceed forward.
Once you reach the UK with a stamped visa on your passport, you will be asked to collect your biometric residence permit card from the immigration authorities.
Important information about family members
Your family members can come with you to the UK on this visa if they are from no-EEA countries. The family members include a wife, husband or a child under 18 years of age. In addition to your fund requirements of £945, you must also show them an extra amount of £630 of each for the consecutive period of 90 days before applying. They will have to pay the same visa fees as you do regardless from inside or from outside the UK. The application is also the same as it is for you.
How to get an endorsement from Endorsement bodies
- In order to get an endorsement from UK endorsement bodies, you can follow the following steps:
- First of all, choose if you have to apply to normal business endorsement bodies or HEIs. Most of the HEI (higher education institutions) acting as endorsement bodies are only for their graduate students.
- Secondly, chose a relevant awarding body as some are specialized in tech, some in science and some in services etc.
- Contact them only when you are applying for endorsement.
- Send them your business model plan and apply for the endorsement.
- Prepare the startup business model carefully. Teamwork is important so that you may avoid any mistakes.
- Always chose the startup models which are required in the UK.
- For more general queries regarding the Start-up route, applicants and immigration advisors should refer to the information on gov.uk contact the UKBA here.
Startup Business Ideas
There are many startup up business ideas related to tech, science, e-commerce and other walks of life, here you will find some easy to start 100 business ideas:
1. Property Business
2. Courier Services
3. Chatting App
4. iBeacon App Solution
5. E-commerce Business
6. Food Ordering System
7. Classified Business
9. Video Editing
10. Services Provider
11. Bidding Portal As a Freelancer
12. Online Appointment System
13. Taxi Booking Service and Solution
14. Video Uploading System
15. Image Sharing Solution
16. Job Portal for Job Seeker
17. Loyalty Reward Program
18. ChatBot Solution
19. Game World
20. Matrimonial Business
21. Social Networking
22. Delivery Services
23. Hardware Intelligence
24. Promotion Business
25. The Point of Sale Solution
26. Stock Management System
27. Internet of thing (IoT)
28. Payment Gateway System
29. Room Booking System
30. Voice Conversation
31. Kiosk System
32. Laundry Business
33. Team Message App Solution
34. Grocery Business
35. Car Washing Business
36. Live Streaming Solution
37. Group Management Software
38. Plumbing Business
39. Event Management
40. Mobile Auto Workshop
41. Cleaning Services App
42. Interior Decorator
43. Jewelry Making
44. Marketing Copywriter
45. Personal Trainer
46. Property Management
47. Old Book Sale
48. Wedding Planner
49. Appliance Repairing Services
50. Website Developer
51. Buy-sell Websites
52. Virtual Assistant
53. Online Consultancy
54. Graphic Design Business
55. VR Product Manufacturing
56. App Development
57. Affiliate Marketing
58. WordPress Development
59. Create and Sell Online Courses
60. Domain Sell and Buy
61. Sales Consultancy
62. Investment Advisor
63. Business Consultancy
64. Health Coaching
65. Social Media Management
66. Social Media Influencer
67. Translation Services
68. Content Proofreading & Editing
70. Custom Product Selling
71. Coach Online
72. Teach English
73. Real Estate Analyst
74. UI/UX Designers
75. Build Websites
76. Online Journalism
77. Online Podcast
78. Remote Customer Service
80. Start a YouTube Channel
81. Teach Music
82. Freelance Accounting & Bookkeeping
83. Travel Consultancy
84. Yoga Instructor
85. SEO Consultancy
86. Voiceover Services
87. Content Marketing
89. Event Planning
90. Custom Furniture Making
91. Sell Photos Online
92. Vacation Rental System
93. Sell Bottled Water
94. Mobile/Computer Repairing
95. EV Charging Station
96. Online Advertising Business
97. Privacy Protection Services
98. Food Truck
99. Organic Farming
100. Electric Bikes