In December 2018, the UK Government declared key modifications to the Tier 1 Immigration route. This mainly comprised the launch of the new Innovator Visa which will effectively replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. Having said this, for those who are already on a route to settlement under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, still have the ability to either extend or to apply for indefinite leave to remain based on the previous criteria.

From 29 March 2019, those individuals who are seeking to establish a business in the UK now have the ability to apply for a ‘Start-up Visa’.

The Home Office also introduced another branch in the Immigration Rules, namely Appendix W– which sets out the requirements for a Start Up Visa;

The main requirement to be granted this visa is to be endorsed by an authorised body, usually an educational institution for this visa type.

By Tahir Shahab Khan (Director of Law Lane Solicitors)

An applicant’s business venture will be endorsed if it meets all of the requirements in the table

Innovation Viability Scalability
The applicant has a genuine,
original business plan that
meets new or existing market
needs and/or creates a
competitive advantage.
The applicant has, or is actively
developing, the necessary
skills, knowledge, experience
and market awareness to
successfully run the business.
There is evidence of
structured planning and
of potential for job
creation and growth into
national markets.


The endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures.

If an applicant is successful in demonstrating the above, they will be granted a two-year visa in this category. Upon a successful completion of two years, the applicant may switch to the new Innovator Visa’ route and allow them to have an accelerated pathway to settlement of 3 years from a successful switch.

Therefore, any persons who are currently on a Tier 4 (student) visa and wish to start a business in the UK, this is the ideal route to enable to do the same. Similarly anyone on a Tier 2 (working)visa who wishes to start up their own business, can use this category to action their ideas and may be a springboard to a successful business here in the UK.

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