Information about, and how to apply for, the Start up visa route
Changes affecting the Start-up visa route
The Start-up route is scheduled to close on 13 July 2023. Applicants will only be able to apply under the route with a valid endorsement that is issued before 13 April 2023.
A new immigration route for those wishing to launch a new business in the UK will be encorporated into a new version of the Innovator Route. More details are due to be published by UKVI in the coming weeks and we wil update our guidance once further information is available.
The Start-up visa scheme is intended to enable recent graduates to set up and run a viable business in the UK after they have completed their studies. It is a one-off 2 year visa and eligible applicants can potentially switch into the Innovator category to extend their stay and develop their businesses in the UK.
Swansea University is licensed to endorse a small number of graduates each year and welcomes applications from current students who can demonstrably meet all the criteria set out below. At this time, the University will not offer endorsement to applicants who are not Swansea University alumni.
Please note that this scheme is not intended for students/graduates who are looking for employment in a company or other type of organisation within the UK (the Graduate Route would be a better option in those cases). It is intended for early stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are starting up a business in the UK for the first time. It is very important that you seriously consider the criteria below and whether you genuinely fit into this category before you decide to spend additional time pursuing the Start-up Visa route.
How do I qualify?
In order to be eligible for the Start-up scheme you must be able to demonstrate that you fulfil all of the criteria from the 3 sections below:
1. have maintained a good standing with the University, with no disciplinary, attendance or other problems surfacing in relation to your time at the University AND
2. have no current, or history of debt with the University AND
3. are studying a bachelor, Master or PHD degree course at Swansea University AND
4. are in the UK (the University will only endorse applicants who are applying from within the UK) AND
5. have a Student Route/Tier 4 visa (sponsored by Swansea University)
6. have a minimum of 4 months leave remaining on their current Student Route/Tier 4 visa AND
7. obtain unconditional consent in writing if you are sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency AND
8. have not previously established a business in the UK AND
9. have not previously had 2 years’ leave under the Start-up or Tier 1 (GE) visa categories
10. consent to the sharing of your information with the Home Office as is necessary for Swansea University to meet their responsibilities as an endorsing body
11. consent to comply with the application and monitoring process for Swansea University endorsement AND
12. meet the UKVI maintenance requirements (£1270 held in your bank account for a consecutive 28 day period if applying from within the UK) AND
13. demonstrate the ability to pay an additional for the Immigration Health Surcharge (£1248 and visa application fee £493 = £1741) AND
14. demonstrate the ability to meet all financial requirements for any dependants applying with you (approx. £2050 per dependant applying within the UK) AND
15. the business plan demonstrates innovation- it is genuine and original, meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage AND
16. the business plan is viable as you have or are actively developing the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to run the business AND
17. the business plan is scalable and has evidence of structured planning, of potential for job creation and growth into national markets in the next 5 years AND
18. the business idea relates to your field of study AND
19. the business idea is based on IP, know how or expertise that has been developed by you whilst studying at Swansea University AND
20. the business will be based in Swansea or another region in Wales AND
21. have sufficient funds and other resources to develop the business AND
22. demonstrate a clear commitment to spend the majority of your time working on developing your business idea
If you submit an application that does not meet all the criteria, you should expect that Sponsorship under the Start up route will be refused.
How do I apply ?
If you believe that you can demonstrably meet all the criteria above, you are welcome to submit an application for assessment under the scheme.
You will need to send an email to Startupvisa@swansea.ac.uk which includes the following information:
• Copies of passport and all UK visas
• Completed Start Up Application Form (Word version: Start Up Application Form (Word.doc))
• Completed Start Up Business Plan Template
• Financial evidence (original bank statements in your name) showing you have the requisite funds available to you. If you have dependants, you will also need financial documents for them.
• Unconditional consent in writing (if you are sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency)
Please note that any emails received that do not contain all the relevant information will not be considered and there will be no response sent. You need to take full responsibility to ensure that everything is included in a single email for assessment.
Can I get any help with my Business Plan?
You should use the Business Plan Template above to support you in putting together a viable business plan.
There is additional support and guidance available via Business Wales and so you may find it useful to visit their website.
Once you have submitted your Business Plan Template, and the general/financial criteria have been checked, staff from the Research, Engagement and Innovation Services (REIS) will undertake initial assessment. They will provide you with a Business Plan Assessment form and there may be opportunity to submit a second Business Plan Template based on their feedback and advice.
When can I apply?
As can be seen in the point 6 of the General Criteria, applications need to be received a minimum of 4 months before your current visa expires. This is to ensure that you have enough time to submit your application and make any adjustments that might be required as part of the Business Plan assessment. It also allows the University enough time to produce supporting documents and work with you to make sure you can make a valid visa application.
If you do not submit your complete application to Startupvisa@swansea.ac.uk in time it will not be looked at!
Can my dependants apply with me?
Yes, if you have dependants that are currently with you then they will be able to apply to extend their stay in the UK with you under the Start-up visa route. They must meet the financial requirements which are outlined more fully in the Finances section of the Start-up Application Form.
What happens if I my application is successful?
If you application for Endorsement is successful you will be notified and then the University will produce a Endorsement letter to include in your UKVI Start-up visa application. This letter will be released to the International @Campuslife (ICL) team and they will support you through the visa application process. The ICL team will be notified that you have been successful in your application and will proactively contact you at the relevant time to ensure that you are supported.
How long will my Start-up visa last?
If granted, your Start-up visa will be granted for 2 years. It may then be possible for you to apply to switch into the Innovator visa route. This will be dependent on the success and growth of your business. Further details regarding the Innovator visa can be found on the Gov.uk website.
What are my responsibilities if granted a Start-up visa?
Successful candidates will have responsibilities relating to: updating contact details; understanding additional working restrictions; monitoring criteria and providing regular business updates to the University. These will be fully explained to the successful students prior to the University issuing their Start-up BRP card.
A Start-up Responsibilities and Monitoring: Student Declaration which outlines these responsibilities will be provided to, and signed by, students to show that they understand and agree to these ongoing requirements. Should these not be adhered to, sponsorship will be withdrawn, the UKVI notified and the Start-up visa will fall for mandatory curtailment (shortening).
During the 24 months term of your visa you will be required to submit regular updates and/or attend meetings at 6 month, 12 month and 24 month checkpoints. This will be with a member of the REIS department who will monitor progress of your business and offer support and guidance. You will be expected to include provide information as outlined in the Start-up Monitoring Template