If establishing a business in a different country is one of your goals, it’s a great idea to consider having one in the United Kingdom.

The UK government welcomes entrepreneurs with promising business ideas through entrepreneurial visas such as the Startup Visa and Innovator Visa. Successful applicants can develop their business while living in the UK, with the option of bringing their partner and kids.

For those that are still beginning their business venture, the route to go through is the UK Startup Visa. More experienced business owners can apply for an Innovator Visa. Otherwise, the Startup Visa is more suitable, as it has less cost and you’re allowed to have another job while starting your business. 

Immigration Through the UK Startup Visa

The Startup Visa grants a two-year leave in the UK, with the option to bring your partner and children. 

You can eventually immigrate to the UK through a Startup Visa, but that’s only the first step. After two years of living on a Startup Visa, you’ll have to apply for an Innovator Visa or switch to a different one because the Startup Visa can’t be renewed. Although, if you’ll go through the Innovator Visa route from the Startup one, it’ll be a much simpler process. 

The Main Requirements

1. You Have To Be Eligible to Apply

There are personal eligibility requirements such as age, English language proficiency, and passed health checks. If you’re bringing family members, they also have to be eligible based on the UK Home Office standards. 


Proof that you can financially support yourselves while living in the UK is also needed. The Home Office requires you to have at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying if you’re going alone. Bringing a partner and child will require a higher amount: an additional £285 for your partner, £315 for one child, and £200 for each additional child.

2. Your Business Has To Meet the Home Office Standards

The Home Office won’t grant the Startup Visa to just any interested entrepreneur. They’re looking for businesses that can contribute value to the UK. Here are the three criteria needed for the business idea to be eligible.

  • Innovative – The business has to offer something new and valuable to the UK market that no other existing business in the country has.
  • Viable – The business has to be feasible with an achievable plan to prove that it can thrive.
  • Scaleable – The business needs to have the capacity to grow and provide employment opportunities to more people. 

How do you know if your business meets these three criteria? You’ll need an endorsing body, which is the third main requirement. 

3. You Need To Have an Endorsing Body

An endorsing body is a business authorised by the Home Office to check if you meet all the requirements for the entrepreneurial visa, including assessing if your business is innovative, viable, and scalable. 

If you pass all the standards, they will provide a Letter of Endorsement for your application. Then, when you successfully get your Startup Visa, you will continue working with your endorsing body. They will monitor your progress and contact you during checkpoints to ensure that you’re on track with developing your business

These three points mentioned are a simple rundown of what you need to have before applying. There are still specific documents that you need to prepare, so make sure to check and accomplish them. 

The Costs

Aside from ensuring you’re financially capable of supporting yourself and your family’s living expenses, there are also visa application fees. 

Board Advisors at a Board Meeting 1365x1024 1

If you’re applying from outside the UK, the application fee is £378 each, for yourself and every family member you’re bringing. If you’re applying from within the UK and switching to this visa, the application fee for each person would be £508.

There is also a healthcare surcharge that you need to pay as part of the visa application. It’s a mandatory fee that gives access to access any healthcare offered by the National Health Service The total cost depends on factors such as the type of visa you’re applying for, the number of people coming with you, and the age of the applicants.

Finding the Right Endorsing Body

Before you go through with your visa application, finding the right endorsing body is an essential step. Take your time deciding which one you’ll get. There are several endorsing bodies from the Home Office’s list and they’re not all the same. 

It’s best to get an endorsing body that can support you not just at the start, but also during the process of developing your business. Boardroom Advisors is an endorsing body that conducts strategic reviews to ensure that you have a clear strategic direction from the very beginning. While working with them, you can also hire some of their skilled advisors to guide you in establishing a successful business in the UK.