B P Collins’ business immigration team advises on what you need to know.

The UK has two visas designed for people coming to the UK to set up a new business: the Start-Up and Innovator routes. The two visas are very similar, but are aimed at people at different stages of their business lifecycle.

Start-Up and Innovator visas

Start-Up visas are for those who are just starting out with a new business venture, whereas Innovator visas are targeted at experienced businesspeople who have raised at least £50,000 in investment funds for their business.

Innovators can stay in the UK for three years, after which they can apply for “indefinite leave to remain” – that is the right to live and work in the UK permanently.

Those on Start-Up visas can stay for two years. If they want to stay in the UK for longer, they’ll need to use those two precious years to make good progress with their business. This will enable them to switch to become an Innovator once the two years are up.

Work closely with your endorsing body

The most important thing you will need to do to get either visa is to secure endorsement for your business from an endorsing body approved by the Home Office.

You should expect to work closely with your endorsing body from the very start. The endorsing body will check that your business is “innovative, viable and scalable” before endorsing you, so you’ll need to make sure that you have a detailed business plan ready.

In addition, if your endorsing body does choose to endorse you, they’ll keep in regular contact after you get your visa to keep up to date with your business and make sure they can continue to endorse you.

There are a wide variety of approved endorsing bodies, many of which are specialists in particular sectors, such as tech, manufacturing, artificial intelligence and sustainability.

B P Collins can help you find the right endorsing body for you and your business and once your business has been endorsed can help you apply for your visa.

Starting your business in the UK will be the first step in your business lifecycle. As a lifecycle law firm, B P Collins will be by your side for the next steps too: whether that’s taking on your first employees, leasing your first premises or incorporating as a company. Get in touch with one of our experts for advice on 01753889995 or email enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk.

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