Start-up visa extension from 2 years to 3 years: There is now a route by which the start-up visa can be extended for 12 months (i.e. from 2 years to 3). However, you do need to show that you were granted the start-up visa and your business was disrupted due to COVID. The guidance says: “This will allow your Start-up visa to go beyond the normal maximum 2-year period so you can continue developing your business against your agreed business plan”.
Requirements for the start-up visa extension: You still need to show, however, that:
- Reasonable progress has been made with your business, taking into consideration the impact of coronavirus;
- That the business remains viable;
- You have the support of your endorsing body (they need to provide an endorsement letter confirming these points, so they will use up one of their quota).
Whether to extend the start-up visa or switch into the innovator visa: Given that you need to prove that reasonable progress has been made, and require a standard endorsement letter with the other confirmations, this is very close to the requirements that need to be met to switch into the innovator category. So one will have to think carefully whether this or a switch into the innovator pathway is the best option for you.