The White Rose Visas immigration blog

Reboot: New “Start Up” Visa Route

Article last updated on by Phil Ireland

Graduate Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP has unveiled plans for a new start-up visa route, which will take effect from Spring 2019. Announced during London Tech Week, this new route will replace the current Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa.

This is a developing story, and we will update this page as new information is released.

Last updated - 20/06/2018

What we know so far

First reported on, Mr Javid announced that the new route will widen access for talented entrepreneurs wishing to establish businesses in the UK. No longer will it be a requirement to hold a UK degree in order to obtain a visa, which is the case for the current Graduate Entrepreneur route.

The new route has been devised following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee along with feedback from the technology sector and other stakeholders. Read the MAC full recommendations here.

Mr Javid stated that “The UK can be proud that we are a leading nation when it comes to tech and innovation, but we want to do more to attract businesses to the UK and our migration system plays a key part in that.”

He is confident that the new visa route will “help ensure we continue to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs”.

There was no mention in the announcement whether the annual limit of 2000 places which currently applies to the Graduate Entrepreneur route would be revised or scrapped. Mr Javid referenced the recent increase in Exceptional Talent visas from 1000 to 2000 per year and stated that the start up visa further demonstrates the government’s commitment to making the UK a dynamic, open, globally-trading nation.

What are the current rules for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visas?

For more information on this topic, you can visit our dedicated page here.


The visa is granted for applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • Be endorsed by a UK authorised University or the Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • Have a genuine, innovative and viable business idea
  • Hold maintenance funds of £945 for 90 days prior to the application

Initially granted for 12 months, the visa can be extended for another 12 months if further endorsement is provided. After this period, the Graduate Entrepreneur holder is then able to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa - which you can find out more about here.

Graduate Entrepreneurs moving over to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa only need to show investment funds of £50,000 compared to £200,000 for the normal route.

Currently, the number of graduate entrepreneur visas is capped at 2000 per year: 1900 are allocated for the endorsement of universities, with the remaining 100 allocated to the DIT. In most cases, universities chose to only endorse their own students, however this is not a Home Office requirement, and endorsements can be obtained from any authorised UK university.

What will the new visa route mean, we asked our expert advisers for their opinions…


Natalie Pashley, Senior Immigration Adviser at White Rose Visas, comments:

The announcement is great news for those looking to migrate and start-up a business in the UK. Not only will more graduates stay after their studies, but it will widen the pool of talented business founders creating businesses in the UK. We look forward to further details of the start up visa being announced by the government in due course.

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