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Visa and Citizenship Opportunities Provided to Entrepreneurs in the UK

Start-up Visa

Description and Requirements

If someone would like to start a business in the UK and apply for Start-up Visa, he/she must possess these eligibility requirements:

  • Innovative businesses should have a different feature from the market. The Mandatory Requirements are that the business must be innovative, viable, and scalable.

  • The applicant must not have established a business in the UK before,

  • The applicant must have a B2 level of English, and

  • The applicant must meet the financial requirement. The applicant must also prove that he/she has at least £1270 in his/her bank account for 28 consecutive days as proof of self-support. However, an additional £285 for his/her spouse and £315 for his/her child must be shown in his/her bank account in addition to this amount.

  • Before applying, his/her business or business idea must be evaluated by a certification body. If his/her business is eligible, he/she will be given a confirmation letter.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of a start-up visa are that he/she can bring his/her spouse and children with him/her as your dependents if they are eligible. Each family member must submit a separate application and pay the visa fee. These applications must be made before traveling to the UK. In addition to working for one's own business, the applicant can also work in another job and travel abroad, and return to the UK.

Disadvantages are that most benefits (public funds) or State Pensions cannot be applied for. However, this visa type can be converted to other visa types. Depending on the type of visa converted, the number of years in which citizenship can be obtained varies. Citizenship is generally 5 years.

Also, if the approval is being withdrawn by the certifying body, their visa may be terminated. If they would like to stay longer, reapply for a new approval must be done before their current visa expires. The applicant can stay for a total of 2 years even if they get a new visa with a new approval.

Innovator Visa

Description and Requirements

If someone would like to start and operate an innovative business in the UK and apply for Innovator Visa, he/she must have these eligibility requirements;

  • It must be a different line of business from the market.

  • His/her business or business idea has been approved by an approved body, also known as an approval body.

  • To start a new business, he/she must have at least £50,000 in mutual funds to apply for the Innovator visa also, the source of the finances should be proven.

  • The fee for the visa is a decent thousand pounds.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages are that if they are eligible, his/her spouse and children can be included in his/her application to stay in the UK. For his/her spouse and children (under 18 or over 18 but dependent on him/her) to take advantage of this opportunity, he/she will need to prove that the applicant and his/her spouse are married, in a civil relationship, and/or have children that are financially supported by the applicant with documents confirming their address (A bank statement, credit card bills. driver's license, NHS enrollment or university) or an official letter from their college).

Disadvantages are that if he/she has lived in the UK for 3 years and meets other eligibility requirements, he/she may be able to apply for permanent residence in the UK (also known as a "leave to stay indefinitely"). So, this visa requires him/her to live in the UK. And even after this requirement is met, Permanent residence can be obtained, not citizenship.

Differences Between the Start-Up and Innovator Visas

The general principle is that an applicant applying for the Innovator visa will be an established business person with a business or business management background. A Start-Up Applicant would not be expected to have such experience. The start-up visa focuses on people without work experience who would like to start and develop a new business in the UK. The Innovator visa is for more experienced business people who want to start a UK business and have at least £50,000 to invest in it. An applicant applying for an Innovator visa must demonstrate that they have access to funds of at least £50,000 spent in the UK.

In the Innovator Visa route, your visa can be extended for another three years and there is no extension limit. However, the Start-up Visa route cannot be extended. Under the Start-Up visa, a successful Applicant will be granted a visa for up to 2 years at which point they will be expected to switch to the Innovator visa if they would like to stay in the UK to manage their business. As part of the innovation process, a successful applicant will be granted a 3-year visa, at which point they will be able to apply for the right to stay in the UK permanently.


  • GOV.UK. 2022. Innovator visa. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 April 2022].

  • GOV.UK. 2022. Start-up visa. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 April 2022].


Attn. Ferhan Yıldızlı

Elif Şeyma Özaykut, Legal Trainee


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