CP Law Associates

Make Yourself Aware of UK Visa Routes for Starting a Business

Thinking of starting a business in the UK but unsure of the visa routes? Make yourself aware of the visa options available here.

The Start Up Visa

If you are an individual looking to start a business for the first time in the UK then the Start Up Visa could be for you. This visa, gives the individual a great day of flexibility. It gives the applicant the option to take up employment alongside setting up and starting their business.

To be eligible for this visa, the applicant will need to be endorsed by an endorsing body, this will mean that the individual will have to have meetings about the businesses progress at six months and in 12 months, to ensure that the business plan is being followed. 

What will the endorsing body assess? 

The endorsing body will look at whether the individuals business is viable and scalable. This includes looking at whether: 

  1. It is a genuine application, the business plan must meet new or current market needs and/or create a competitive advantage 
  2. The plan must be realistic and it must be achievable with relevant resources
  3. There must be evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets


To secure a Start Up Visa you will not need investment funds but to start up a business the Endorsing Body may ask to see that you have access to funds or that you have a plan to raise funds so that you can meet the above viability and scalability criteria. 

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

This category is often only appropriate for a limited group of people. This is a category for businesses that have been set up before arriving in the UK and they plan to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK too. This option is usually chosen when businesses plan to send a senior employee to the UK to operate the UK entity. This option does not require your business to be innovative.

The Investor Visa

For this category, individuals that have come to the UK will have a full right to work and this even includes setting up and running a business in the UK. If none of the above routes are applicable to an individual, then a migrant can consider coming to the UK and requiring an Investor Visa. They must maintain their investment funds for the entire duration. For this category, the applicant must have access to at least £2 million. 

There are of course other immigration routes to the UK. For other routes to be considered, it is worth having a full overview of an individuals circumstances to see if they fit into any other categories which come with a full right to work in the UK and also allow them to run a business here. 

Need Advice?

If you are looking for advice our immigration team are on hand to help. We have a number of offices across the UK, with our head office in Guildford. If you are looking to speak to our immigration team, contact us today.

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