What is the Start-up Scheme?
The Start-up scheme is aimed at anyone who wants to start a business in the UK (and is not a UK/EU/EEA citizen). Start-up visas are valid for two years, and allow qualifying applicants to work in the UK on developing your own business plan, once the university has confirmed you have a viable business proposal, and once you have received the visa to do so.
It is possible to switch to this visa from a number of different current immigration categories, and you can also apply from outside the UK. This information is for students of the University of Wolverhampton on Tier 4 visas. If you are studying or working at the university and have a different immigration status you can contact us for further advice.
Please be aware the University of Wolverhampton will only consider applications for endorsement from our own students or employees. We cannot accept external applications at this time.
Endorsing body and business plan
The University of Wolverhampton will be your endorsing body, which is similar to being your Tier 4 sponsor. You will need to complete the university’s application process, which includes submitting a business plan to the Enterprise team. If your proposal meets the following criteria you may be eligible to be endorsed by the university:
- Innovation: The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage
- Viability: The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business
- Scalability: There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets
The university has a limit of 10 endorsements per year (running from 6th April – 5th April) so we expect the process to be competitive. We will also check that you meet the visa requirements before we confirm your endorsement.
If we confirm your endorsement you will be issued with a unique endorsement reference number on a letter, which will support your visa application. The Visa and Immigration team can help you with the visa application once you have received the endorsement and will have some responsibilities to you and the Home Office while you are on the visa.
How to apply for an endorsement
You will need to prepare your business proposal and complete a ‘Start Up Visa Expression of Interest Form’. These forms are available from the Visa and Immigration Support Team or the Enterprise team. Once the form is completed you will return it to email@example.com for assessment.
The Enterprise team will advise you on the next steps of the application process.
How to apply for the visa Doctorate Extension Scheme
You will need the following documents/information in order to meet the requirements of the visa application.
If your business proposal is successful you will be issued with a unique endorsement reference number on a letter, which must be submitted with your visa application
The start-up scheme does not require any specific type or level of qualification but the University of Wolverhampton is only able to endorse our own students/employees
Your knowledge of English must be at least at level B2. You will meet this requirement if you have been granted a Tier 4 visa to study at degree level or above since April 2011. If you have not had a Tier 4 visa please contact us for advice on how you can meet the English requirements
You must have £945 in your own personal bank account for at least 90 consecutive days before you can apply for your visa. The closing balance must be dated less than 31 days before you apply.
It is possible to apply for the visa inside the UK, or outside the UK. If you apply from your home country the maintenance requirements are different. You may also need other documents such as tuberculosis test results or translations of any documents not in English.
Other things to consider
It is possible to apply for dependants to accompany you while you are on the visa. If you would like to include dependants in your application they will need £630 (per person) in an acceptable bank account for 90 days before they can apply.
When you can start working on your business
If you are applying for the Start-up scheme from a Tier 4 visa you must not set up or operate your business until you receive your Start-Up visa. If you are switching from a different immigration category please contact us for more advice.
Contact with the endorsing body (i.e. the University)
The University must contact you after 6 months and again after 12 months of you being on the visa. When we contact you we must be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business plan. You will be expected to be able to demonstrate reasonable progress with your original ideas. If you are not pursuing your original ideas then you must be pursuing new ideas that are also innovative, viable and scalable, so you may need to do the assessment process again to confirm we can continue to endorse you.
Start-up visas are valid for two years and cannot be extended. However, you may be eligible to switch into the Innovator scheme at the end of the two years. There is more information about the innovator visa on the Home Office website.
Need more information?
Careers, Enterprise & The Workplace: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visa and Immigration Support Team: email@example.com
Home Office information: www.gov.uk/start-up-visa
UK Council for International Student Affairs: https://ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Working/Working-after-studies