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Foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time have been given a new route to do so via the Start-Up visa. Commencing on 29th March 2019, it has replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and is the best way for professional businesspeople with proven potential to start setting up a business within the UK.

Here at Osbourne Pinner, we’re committed to providing clear advice to help you navigate the complexities of the Start-Up visa and the UK’s immigration system, ensuring your business gets off on the right foot.

You’ll undoubtedly be keen to get started with your business and won’t want to be held back by endless paperwork or unsuccessful applications. With numerous requirements to meet, thorough preparation is essential to meet the standards set by the Home Office. That’s why it’s crucial to have straightforward guidance to help you throughout the process.

Osbourne Pinner can assist with everything from the initial application of the visa, right through to legal advice when handling a rejection. We have proven expertise in helping clients understand how to process their visa and arrange the correct documentation when needed.

Don’t risk going through the process unassisted and without the correct guidance. We’re ready and waiting to achieve the outcome you need.

What is the Start Up visa application process?

In March 2019, the UK replaced the previous Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa with the ‘Start-Up’ and ‘Innovator’ visas.

The two key introductions mean that it is now a requirement to be endorsed by an approved organisation as listed by the Home Office.

The change was made to make the visa more inclusive to entrepreneurs worldwide and help further attract ambitious people wanting to set up businesses within the UK. In turn, it’s hoped that this will drive growth by increasing levels of productivity and creating high-paid jobs for local residents, which will benefit the economy as a whole.


The first step when starting to apply for a Start-Up visa should be to speak to an expert immigration solicitor. The dedicated Osbourne Pinner team will first invite you for an initial consultation where we will work with you to review your credentials and suitability for the visa.

We will also run through the requirements for the visa and analyse your business plan to ensure you are eligible enough to be successful when applying. This is the time where you can ask questions and explore alternative options which may be more suitable for your particular case.

Stage 1 – Business Proposal

The first stage in obtaining a Start-Up visa is to ensure the business proposal is a new idea that meets the Home Office’s requirements:

Your dedicated solicitor will be able to advise as to whether a business plan is suitable and will help with any supporting documentation. Still, it will be up to you to devise the plan and come up with any creative aspects.

  • Innovation: You must have an authentic and original business plan that meets the needs of the UK’s new or existing market, or creates a competitive advantage.

  • Viability: You must be in the process of, or already boast, the skills, knowledge and experience that is required to successfully run the proposed business.

  • Scalability: You must be able to provide evidence that the business has structure and the potential for growth, including job creation.

  • Investment: While there is no specific requirement for your business to have secured investment, they will consider a company without investment to be less viable.

Stage 2 – Endorsement

You then must obtain an endorsement letter from an approved body to submit with your application. The endorsing body will then review your business proposal and decide whether it meets the required tests, as well as ensuring that you have not previously established a business in the UK.

Our solicitors will guide you through this endorsement stage by creating an application that clearly demonstrates your skills and match you with a suitable endorsement body.

A full list of authorised organisations is published and regularly updated by the Home Office on the GOV.UK website. The list mainly includes UK higher education institutions and business organisations that have a history of supporting entrepreneurs in the UK.

Once approved, it is the endorsing body’s responsibility to keep in contact with you. If they do not accept your application, they will be required to report to the Home Office where you have not met the requirements of the scheme. The visa may be halted if an endorsement body withdraws their endorsement or loses its status as an approved endorsing institution.

Stage 3 – Credibility

You will then be invited to attend a credibility interview to ensure that your business is genuine. At this stage, you would need to prove to that Home Office that you:

  • Plan to undertake the business referred to in their application and are capable of doing. The Home Office will consider things such as your previous work experience, education and immigration history and any declarations made to other government departments (such as HMRC) regarding previous roles.

  • Do not intend to breach immigration law.

  • Intend to make sure that any money you claim is genuinely available as you have described and that you intend to use it for the purposes described in your application.


Once you have been successfully granted the Start-Up visa, you will be able to remain in the UK for two years. At the end of the two years, you will be expected to switch to the Innovator visa if you wish to remain in the UK to manage your business.

The Innovator visa is for individuals with more experience. As well as an endorsement, applicants for the Innovator category will need £50,000 to invest in their business from a legitimate source.

Once the Innovator visa has been secured, you will be able to remain in the UK for three years, at which point you can apply for the right to stay in the United Kingdom permanently, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain.


If you’re ready to start your Start-Up visa application, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our practised immigration team are available to guide you through the whole process – from securing endorsement to collecting the supporting documents – ensuring you obtain a successful outcome.

We’re available via phone, video call, or in person, ready and waiting to answer any questions you may have. For a free and no-obligation initial chat, contact us today on 0203 980 9348 or

Speak To An Expert Now!


    • Experts in UK Start Up Visa with high success rate

    • Honest & Transparent Advice

    • Always work in your best interest

    • Investment: While there is no specific requirement for your business to have secured investment, they will consider a company without investment to be less viable.

    • A dedicated team providing a professional and personal service

    • A wealth of experience and a strong reputation

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    Our Clients Say About Us?

    • This review is in regard to Riyadh to UK Sole Representative visa for my business. Their location and staff availability were the first thing that stood out. Solicitor Akuji & Patricia handled the application process with great professionalism and we are grateful, Samina is an outstanding solicitor and gave us the best and most professional service we could ever ask for. There was never a time when Samina was not available to help and to answer all our questions. Additionally, Ms. Patricia went out of her way to make sure that all of our sensitive documents were protected and kept secure throughout our application process. They both worked so diligently on our visa application that it ended up being approved almost a month and half earlier than we expected. I highly commend you and your team at Osbourne Pinner to anyone that requires professional and experienced Corporate Immigration work.

    • I got a positive result on my UK Start Up visa application within a couple of weeks. The entire process was very straightforward and was handled efficiently by the team. I will definitely be working with Samina and Patricia in the future.
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    Investment Funds for an Innovator Visa

    You are usually required to have a minimum amount of £50,000 to invest in your UK business or you should have already invested an amount of £50,000 in your UK business. You can rely on money of your own or funds provided to you by an endorsing body.

    The requirement to have a ‘scalable’ and ‘viable’ business idea which means that you are required to have more than £50,000 available to invest. Some endorsing bodies also require an additional level of funding as a condition of endorsement.

    The investment funds required for an Innovator visa are waived for applicants switching from either the Start-up category to continue the same business venture or the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or extending as an existing Innovator to continue the same business venture. In both cases, applicants are required to explain significant achievements judged against their business plan.

    Get Legal Help for UK Startup Visa: Immigration Lawyers | Business Visa Route to UK

    New businesses have great expansion opportunities in the UK. All they need is a UK Start-up visa to enter the country and set up their business. Osbourne Pinner has over 25 years of experience in UK immigration. They can provide you with exceptional legal consultancy to acquire a Start-up visa in the UK. Take our legal help today to get your new business started in the UK. Request a free call back.

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    A sponsor licence allows UK-based companies to employ overseas workers within the UK. After approval, the licence is valid for a period of 4 years with the option for renewal.