Connecticut, US

Jun 13 2018

New Start-up Visa to Ease Qualification Criteria for Entrepreneurs

United Kingdom

The situation

The UK government has announced that a new start-up visa route will replace the current Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme in March or April 2019.

A closer look

  • New visa details.            
    • The new visa will be available to foreign nationals who seek to start a business in the United Kingdom.
    • Full details have not yet been released, but it is expected that applicants will no longer be required to have earned a Bachelor’s degree in the last two years (as they are under the current Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme), among other changes that should ease the visa criteria.  
    • The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur requirement of endorsement by a UK university or approved UK business sponsor will remain. A UK business sponsor can be an accelerator – an organisation that facilitates start-ups and is endorsed by the UK Department for International Trade.   


  • Current entry path for entrepreneurs. Currently, foreign entrepreneurs who have not earned a Bachelor’s degree in the last two years can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to enter the United Kingdom, which requires an investment of GBP 200,000 (or GBP 50,000 in some scenarios) in the United Kingdom. Foreign entrepreneurs with a Bachelor’s degree earned in the last two years can apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa.



The Home Secretary has stated that under the new visa, qualifying entrepreneurs should benefit from a faster and smoother route, open not only to graduates but a wider pool of talented business founders.


The visa route was designed based on advice from the Migration Advisory Committee, feedback from the technology sector and other stakeholders. The change is in line with other recent amendments in the United Kingdom aimed at encouraging the entry of talented foreign nationals.

Looking ahead

The UK government is expected to publish further details on the eligibility criteria for the new start-up visa in the coming months.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].