Student Immigration

All you need to know about VISAs and studying

Start-Up visa

The Start-Up Visa is aimed at early-stage entrepreneurs with high-potential ideas who would be starting a business in the UK for the first time.
Applicants must spend the majority of their time developing their business, but can also take on other work outside of their business to support themselves.
Under the Start-Up scheme, universities are able to sponsor graduates for two years, while they launch a business in the UK.


Who qualifies to apply for Start-Up endorsement?

To apply for endorsement, you need a realistic, clear and detailed plan of how your business will work.
The proposal needs to be:

  • Innovative – a genuine, original business idea that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
  • Scalable – evidence of structure planning and the potential for job creation and growth in UK markets.
  • Viable – the applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
  • It has to be a business aimed at the UK market.

Other requirements to be endorsed by the University of Kent include:

  • Start-Up applicants must comply with the financial requirements before the endorsement can be granted. (Immigration Rules, Appendix W, 3.9)
  • Applicants must be Kent students who have successfully completed (and been awarded) a degree from the University of Kent by the time they are applying for the visa and not graduated longer than 2 years before the date of application.
  • Prospective Start-Up applicants must be in a position to meet all the eligibility requirements before the expiry of their current Tier 4 student visa if applying from within the UK.
  • Development and presentation of a credible business plan and attendance at meetings at the University to discuss and evaluate the suitability of your idea.

What will I receive as a University of Kent Start-Up visa holder?

  • 24 months to develop and launch your business.
  • Support and guidance from the team at Kent Business School’s ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise).

How do I apply?
Start by completing emailing with your expression of interest. Subject to an initial review of your idea and eligibility, you would then receive an invitation to a briefing event at the ASPIRE (Sibson, Canterbury campus).
Following the briefing event, you will have the option to enter the formal selection process which includes an interview with an assessment panel and evaluation of your business plan.
A panel will review all of the applications. Selected candidates will be invited to pitch their business idea to the panel and be formally interviewed.

Panel interviews will generally only take place on selected dates in October and July each year.

Following the interviews, a decision will be made on whether to endorse.

If you have any questions, please email Further information about the running of this scheme can be found in our Policy Document.


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Last Updated: 10/03/2020