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Tier 1 Start-up Visa | Working and Business Visas in the UK

Tier 1 Start-up Visa

The introduction of the Tier 1 Start-up visa is the replacement of the previous visa category known as the “Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur” visa. The concept of the start-up visa is to attract those intending to establish a business in the UK for the first time and will need to be able to demonstrate that their business is innovative, viable and scalable. 

An endorsing body will consider your business idea prior a visa is granted and at ICS Legal, we will be able to complete these processes on your behalf. You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyer on 0207 237 3388 to discuss both your business ideas and visa application under the Tier 1 Start-up Visa. 

Those who have been granted a visa under the previous Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and have completed their 2 years will not be able to apply. However if you hold leave less than 2 years, you can apply and complete the 2 years period. You must meet the Tier 1 Start-up Visa transitional requirements. 

Choosing the Endorsing Agency for your business

There are a number of approved Endorsing Agencies who are approved by the UK Home Office and you will need to select the most appropriate agency prior making an application to be endorsed. For example, if your business is a digital technology innovation, then choosing Tech Nation as one of your endorsing agency would be the most appropriate. However there are other endorsing agencies you can also attempt. 

Once your business plan and ideas have been checked by the endorsing agency, they may contact you for an interview and discuss your business idea. Each Endorsing Agency will have their own set of processes when selecting whether they intend to endorse you or not, as Home Office does not dictate on how they progress an endorsement application. You will also need to make sure you understand their terms of business, as they will take a stake of your business and will be part of your business. 

If you would like us to help in choosing the most appropriate endorsing agencies, you can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or email us your enquiry to info@icslegal.com

The requirements of the Tier 1 Start-up Visa

When applying for the Tier 1 Start-up Visa, you will need to have your application first approved by the Endorsing Agency. 

Here are the summary requirements of what you need to meet at the date of application once the endorsement letter is approved and awarded to you:

  1. At the date of application, you must be at least 18 years of age. 

  2. You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds of refusal under Part 9 of the Immigration Rules HC395.

  3. You must meet the English language requirements which are set at B2 Level. You can meet this if you have a UK degree or equivalent, or from a majority English speaking country or have completed an approved English language test. 

  4. Able to demonstrate that the maintenance requirements are met for the Tier 1 Start-up Visa. Evidences of the maintenance would need to be provided at the date of application. Checks are made by the Home Office to confirm the funds are in your account and have been for a period of 90 days as required by the application. 

As part of the Tier 1 Start-up Visa application, you may be asked to sit in an interview which will be conducted by the Home Office. In most cases, this may not happen, as the Endorsing Agency is expected to complete a full credibility testing as part of their endorsement. 

The conditions on the Tier 1 Start-up Visa

The visa comes with a number of conditions, you will not be allowed to use public funds, cannot be employed as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson. 

Curtailing of your Tier 1 Start-up Visa

Either the Home Office or the Endorsing Agency can curtail or cancel your Tier 1 Start-up visa. This can be based on that you are not working for your business or you are in breach of your conditions as set out. We advise that once you receive the letter from the Home Office, please email us a copy to info@icslegal.com with your full contact details. 

Tier 1 Start-up Visa refusal

If you have your application refused for the Tier 1 Start-up Visa by either the Endorsing Agency or the Home Office, you will be able to challenge the decision. 

The application refusal will attract a right to do an administrative review following their decision and the decision letter sets out how long you will have to challenge the decision. Detailed grounds as well as your reasons for challenge should be included in any representation to the Home Office or to the Endorsing Agency. 

You will need to email us a copy of the decision letter to info@icslegal.com, so we can discuss your options. 

Frequently asked questions on the Tier 1 Start-up Visa

We hope the following will answer some of the questions that we are asked when clients apply for a Tier 1 Start-up Visa:

How long is the visa granted for?

The visa is granted for a period of 2 years and cannot be extended.

Are we able to create a team under the Tier 1 Start-up Visa?

This is allowed however you both will need to be endorsed by the endorsing body in order for a visa to be granted. If only one have been given the endorsement letter, then the visa cannot be granted for both and only to the named person on the letter. 

Can I study in the UK under the Tier 1 Start-up Visa?

You can study in the UK but you may need to apply for an approval prior undertaking the course. Please check with your course provider first and then you can consult with ICS Legal to check whether you need the approval.

If I hold a Tier 4 visa, can I switch in the UK to the Tier 1 Start-up Visa?

You may be able to switch from the student visa if you have completed your studies with a UK recognised body.  

Can I bring dependants under the Tier 1 Start-up Visa?

Yes you are allowed. You can bring your partner and children in the UK and will need to meet the requirements of the immigration rules.

Taking legal advice on the Tier 1 Start-up Visa

We at ICS Legal will provide guidance and correct advice on the Tier 1 Start-up Visa. We can also assist on the endorsing agency application and complete the visa process both together.

You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at info@icslegal.com if you are considering to apply under the Tier 1 Start-up visa. 

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