How to switch from a Tier 4 to start up visa

Introduction

You can switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and already in the UK on another visa. You must meet the requirements for the Start-up visa. The basic requirements for the Start-up visa are:

✅ 1. BASIC REQUIREMENTS

✅ 2. GET AN ENDORSEMENT

✅1. Basic Requirements

You can switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and already in the UK on another visa. You must meet the requirements for the Start-up visa.

The basic requirements for the Start-up visa are:

  • You must get endorsed from an approved body before you apply for this visa. Here is a list of approved bodies (link)
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have a sufficient level of English.

        This can be done by either:

    • passing the English language test;
    • having an academic qualification taught in the English language which is the equivalent of a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
  • You must be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK.
    • This means you need to have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.
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✅2. Get an Endorsement

It is important to determine where you will apply to get an endorsement.

The key question for tier 4 visa holders to consider is whether you should get an endorsement from a university or an incubator?

Endorsement from a University

An endorsement from a university will only last for two years, resulting in you having to apply for another endorsement from an incubator should you wish to stay in the UK permanently. In other words, whilst it is easier to get an endorsement from a university in the short term.

Endorsement by an Incubator

It is wiser to get endorsed by an incubator, especially if you are considering applying for settlement as you will need to apply for an endorsement again. By having an endorsement from an incubator previously, it will be much easier to gain their endorsement again since they are already familiar with your business.

You might be asking, why not just apply straight away for the Innovator visa? As a graduate, you are most likely to not fulfil the criteria of being a business person with experience and expertise. However, it is possible for there to be exceptions such as mature students or PhD, who may be able to fulfil this criterion. Whilst for younger students and graduates, pursuing a Start-up visa is the best option.   

Once you have decided which visa to apply for and received an endorsement, you can apply for the start-up visa online.

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