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UK Start-up Visa Guide for 2019

UK Startup Visa 2019 – An Overview

As promised, the Government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally announced a 2-years UK start-up visa with no hefty specifications of money held in terms of initial funding and capital. The positive thing is that the applicants without graduation will also be eligible to apply for this visa. The old Tier 1 Post Study work visa category which was to some extent identical to the current UK post-study work visa scheme was stamped out back in April 2012. The new UK startup visa came into effect from 29 March 2019.

Presently, only a limited number of post-students are allowed to work for six months and those who’re looking to stay longer will have to come under the Tier 2 visa category. All in all, the UK’s current post-study visa policy, no matter how feasible and attractive it may sound, isn’t easy and one needs to thoroughly go through the requirements and prerequisites to qualify for the process.

Who Can Apply?

In order to apply for the new startup UK visa program, you have to fulfill the below-listed requirements:

  • You must be from a non-EEA country
  • You must hold a comprehensive business plan that reflects innovation, viability, and extensibility
  • You must receive an endorsement from one of the official endorsement bodies listed on the government website
  • You must hold minimum of £945 in your personal bank account for consecutive 90 days prior to your application submission
  • You have to fulfill certain level of English proficiency, Level B2 CEFR which is higher than the previous B1 requirement in the previous entrepreneur category
  • You must hold an academic degree taught in the English medium of instruction and endorsed by UK NARIC

Notably, you don’t have to prove above-mentioned language proficiency if you’re a national of Australia and Bahamas, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, New Zealand, Guyana, Grenada, St Kitts, and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States of America.

Processing Time

As far as the processing time is concerned, it takes around 3 weeks for this visa category to be processed (after applying). You may apply 3 months ahead of time before the planned travel date. This visa covers the duration of 2 years and this period cannot be extended. In case the applicant has already been allowed the maximum time in the startup UK visa category, any further application will then be rejected.

The Endorsement Criteria Explained

As mentioned above, you’ll have to seek approval from an official endorsement body before applying for the startup visa. All applicants will be needed to present a detailed business plan alongside any other relevant document which is needed to validate that the visa prerequisites are fully satisfied.


As an applicant, you have to show that your business plan is unique and will contribute positively to the UK economy.


You’ll have to prove that you acquire sufficient skills needed to successfully run a business in the UK.


You’ll be needed to present a proof that your chosen business category has ample growth opportunities via structured planning.

Applying for startup visa and getting all these three things right often becomes too tedious for the applicant. Therefore there’s a new proposed ‘Post Study Visa‘ option which is a great alternative for those seeking a visa after their studies.

UK Work Visas for International Graduates to be extended for 2 Years

Foreign students are also to be offered a 2-years work visa after completion of their graduation from an acknowledged British university. Presently, graduates holding bachelors or master’s degrees are entitled to look for work and that too for only four months. However, from next year, all foreign students (graduates) would be able to apply for two-year work visa in the UK, augmenting their chances of getting hired for the long-term after studying.

According to the new policy, the visas would have no limit on numbers and would enable graduates to apply for work regardless of their expertise or the degree they have pursued. According to the Government, the objective was to hire skillful graduates in technical fields like I.T., engineering, and mathematics.

The latest announcement was welcomed by British universities. There were over 460,000 students enrolled in UK universities last year and the government plans to increase this figure to 600,000 over the next 10 years.

The Department of Education said this route will open the door of opportunities for students to look for work. Also, they would be able to apply for long-term employment opportunities later on.

How Can We Help?

At Optimus Law, we ensure that we’re perfectly prepared for the emergence of the UK startup visa category, and our expert immigration lawyers are able to help you out with your applications. Even if your previous application was rejected, the amendment in rules could mean you can now start your own business in the UK by taking the startup route (the process, however, needs proper assistance and guidelines) or you can take an alternative route (post-study visa) and look for the long-term work opportunity after completion of your graduation.

Check out the latest guide for a UK visa.

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