Start Up visa

The Start Up visa is a new immigration category which allows people with an innovative, scalable and viable business to stay in the UK to develop their business under the supervision of their UK academic institution or business as an authorised body. Endorsing institutions must be on an approved list maintained by UKVI. 

London Met is an endorsing body for the Start Up visa and will offer letters of endorsement to our recent graduates if they meet the required criteria. The Start Up visa can be applied for once and allows stay in the UK to develop your business for two years. Applicants can be looking to establish a business on their own or as part of an entrepreneurial team.

To apply for a Start Up visa with London Met as your sponsor, you need a Letter of Endorsement from us.

To apply for this letter, you must pass an Endorsement Selection Process run by the Accelerator and the Sponsorship Compliance teams at London Met. We will use this selection process to identify genuine and credible business ideas, meeting UKVI criteria of innovation, viability and scalability. We must also be satisfied that you will spend the majority of your time in the UK developing your business. Visit the UKVI guidance (Part W5.2) for more detail on these criteria.

To enquire about the Start Up visa and the Endorsement Selection Process, please contact

In order to have a good chance of presenting a suitable business idea, you should make contact with the international adviser at least six months before your visa expires. This will allow enough time for the Accelerator to provide you with any necessary support before you make an endorsement application with them.

We will offer an endorsement to London Met students who have completed their course with us and have at least three months left on their Student visa (previously Tier 4) to allow time for the process to take place. You can apply for the visa up to three months before the expiration of your current immigration permission. Unless you allow at least three months between requesting endorsement and the expiry of your current immigration permission, we cannot ensure that we will be able to process your application to the Endorsement Scheme before your visa expires. You are able to apply for the Start Up visa from overseas, so if we cannot process your application prior to the expiration of your visa, you can continue your application from your home country.

If the UK government grants you Start Up immigration permission, London Met is responsible for monitoring the progress of your business against the agreed key performance indicators for the two-year period. You will need to remain in contact with the Accelerator to ensure your business is still on track.

At the end of the two-year period, you will be able to switch to the new Innovator routes if you and your business meet the criteria. You will need to find another endorsement institution for this as London Met does not endorse for Innovator visas. Alternatively, you can switch to other categories, such as Tier 2 or other Tier 1 routes.

Note that, as a London Met endorsed Start Up visa holder, you will be permitted to use the hot desk space at Accelerator.

You may be able to apply for Start Up immigration permission if:

  • you have never established a business in the UK before; and
  • you have not previously been granted two years of immigration permission under this scheme or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur); and
  • you have completed your course at London Met within the preceding 12 months; and
  • If you are applying the UK, and you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with valid permission, you meet the maintenance requirement and there is no requirement to show any evidence of your money otherwise, you must show evidence that you have held £1,270 in your own name in an account that is acceptable to the Home Office for a period of 28 consecutive days. The closing balance, letter or statement must be dated no more than 31 days before you apply. 

Please note, you can only make an immigration application for Start Up in the UK with London Met as an endorsing body if:

  • your most recent grant of immigration permission is as a Student visa holder; or
  • if your most recent grant of immigration permission is as a Tier 2 (General) migrant and you are working at London Met as a postdoctoral researcher; or
  • you are on the first year of endorsement from London Met as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.

Otherwise, you will have to return to your home country to make an application for entry clearance.

For full details of the requirements for the visa, read the Start Up visa Policy Guidance document, which is available from the Home Office website.

Start Up immigration permission will be granted for two years and cannot be extended.

Provided you have not already been granted more than one year of immigration permission under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur scheme and if your business is a success, London Met may choose to provide you with a second endorsement letter and you may be able to apply for immigration permission for a second year under the Start Up route.

If you have questions about the Start Up visa route, please make an appointment to discuss your situation with an adviser by contacting

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