#immigrationtotheuk #InnovatorFounder #startupvisa

Extending a Startup Visa in the UK: possible pathways

What are the potential possibilities for prolongation for entrepreneurs with a start-up visa in the UK that is about to expire? In April 2023, modifications were implemented that resulted in the merger of the Start-up visa with the Innovator visa, resulting in the launch of the Innovator Founder visa. The following article will outline the potential extension possibilities for current start-up visa holders.

Understanding the Start-up Visa:

The Start-up visa allowed individuals to establish innovative businesses in the UK. An endorsement from an authorised endorsing organisation sanctioned by the UK Home Office was required for candidates to be qualified. The visa was issued for two years, after which the applicant needed to switch to another route, mainly to the Innovator visa. Those two years on the startup visa didn’t lead to permanent residency in the UK.

In April 2023, significant revisions to the Start-up visa were made, and Start-up and Innovator routes were closed. The Innovator Founder visa had been introduced, which combined two previous paths.
The New Innovator Founder visa intends to simplify the immigration procedure and provide a clear pathway for entrepreneurs to reside in the UK.

Current Start-up visa holders in the UK must apply for endorsement to extend their visas.

If you’re on the Start-up visa you need to check with your endorsing body that they still hold the licence to prolong your visa. The endorsement procedure has also undergone considerable alterations as of the April 2023 upgrades.

The Home Office has divided endorsing bodies into two categories: Business endorsing bodies and Legacy endorsing bodies.
Business endorsing bodies that are eligible to endorse new applications for the Innovator Founder visa: Envestors Limited, UK Endorsing Services, Innovator International, and the Global Entrepreneurs Programme.
Legacy endorsing bodies can only endorse their current Start-up or Innovator startups.

So, your options if you currently hold a Start-Up visa are as follows:
  • Option 1:
    Start-up visa holders whose endorsing body is listed as a Legacy endorsing body may request an extension through the same endorsing body.
    This option has various advantages, including immediate transfer to the Innovator Founder visa upon endorsement approval and a higher probability of endorsement success. However, because of the adherence to the old laws and regulations, applying for an extension with a legacy endorsing body may be more expensive.
  • Option 2:
    Start-up visa holders with a legacy endorsing body may apply for the Innovator Founder visa as a new candidate.
    This method is less expensive and entails a more controlled process for obtaining approval of endorsement. It is crucial to remember that there is a non refundable £1,000 application fee for endorsement. Don’t forget that you must demonstrate the innovativeness of your new company to be considered for endorsement.
  • Option 3:
    Start-up visa holders with the endorsing body missing from the list of Legacy endorsing bodies.
    In that case, you can apply as a new applicant for an Innovator Founder visa to Business endorsing bodies. The process is restarted in this situation, requiring entrepreneurs to go through the entire visa application and endorsement procedure again. If the candidate is already in the UK, the endorsement process and subsequent visa application may take much longer. Applicants must also present proof of English language proficiency as part of their qualifications.
Transitioning to the Innovator Founder visa for a Start-up visa holder in the UK nearing visa expiration brings up new opportunities for continuing your business career. Entrepreneurs can choose the best approach for their business goals and immigration requirements by analysing the available options and weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

Interested to learn more?

Book a 30-min call with our legal advisor to discuss if this route is right for you.
Still have questions?
Fill in the form and we will get back to you!
All information is confidential.
By clicking the button you agree to our Privacy Policy