Accessing a Start-up visa

The Entrepreneurship service provides a range of opportunities for our graduates, students and staff to develop and validate business ideas.


Programme review

The Start-up visa programme is one of the opportunities that has supported recent graduates from the international student community of the University. We recognise the value this programme has given in allowing overseas graduates to remain in the UK for two years and develop a business idea.

To ensure effective delivery and management of this programme, the Entrepreneurship service has decided to pause the programme for the current year (April 2021–March 2022).

If you're a graduate or student who is already engaging with our service through various programmes, and you have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea, you'll still have an opportunity to express your interest in a Start-up visa. Email

This change will not affect those who have already been endorsed and are currently on the programme. We will continue to support you as you develop your business.

This change will mean that we will not be seeking open applications from graduates that have not engaged with our service in the past year. We will be reviewing our processes throughout this period.

From 9am on 1 July 2021, the new Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) will be introduced.

If you've successfully completed a relevant qualification on a Tier 4 or Student visa in the UK, you may be able to apply for this new and flexible post-study visa for a two-year period (or three-year period if you are a PhD graduate).

It will be possible to be self-employed and set up a business in the UK whilst holding a GIR visa, and it may offer an alternative to the Start-up visa for current students.

Further information

Further information on Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) can be found online via International Student Support and the Student Advice Centre. The Advice Centre also provides guidance on other post-study work visas.

If you're planning on setting up a business and have long-term plans to remain in the UK beyond the two to three-year GIR period, you should seek advice about which visa type may be best for your individual circumstances. Email to contact an adviser.

We champion challenge-led business ideas. By reviewing the Start-up visa programme, we aim to continue providing the best support for our service users in a rapidly changing environment.

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