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Start Up Visa UK Requirements for Nigerians

It is important to note that the Start Up Visa route will not be accepting new applications from July 13th 2023. However, there are a number of other visa routes that could prove suitable for Nigerians planning to run a business in the UK.

For more information about the UK Start Up Visa requirements for Nigerians and the UK Start Up Visa application process, speak to one of IAS immigration lawyers today. To contact us, call our office in Nigeria on +23413438882 or our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929. You may also reach us online.


Are You a Nigerian who Wants to Start a Business in the UK?

Contact our legal team to receive expert advice on applying for a Start Up UK Visa for Nigerians. We will ensure that a Start Up Visa application meets all necessary Home Office requirements, so you can be sure it will not be rejected. Our immigration lawyers will take care of everything, so you can focus on the business you want to start.

Nigerian Emigration

For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882

Other Immigration and Emigration Matters

For immigration/emigration to/from other countries, please call:

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Ireland –  (+353) 061 518 025

UK –  (+44) 333 4149244

Overview of the Start-up Visa

A Start Up Visa is designed to attract internationally-minded entrepreneurs to the country and help them launch their business ideas. It is ideal for people who have a clear business idea and can show the likelihood of starting a successful business.

However the Start Up Visa does not lead directly to Indefinite Leave to Remain residency in the UK.

Start Up Visa holders are allowed to stay in the UK for up to two years. After that period, they can apply for a different visa while still living in the UK.

The government has decided not to extend the Start Up Visa program and will stop accepting Start Up Visa applications from July 13, 2023. Contact IAS for other visa pathways that may allow you to run and operate a business in the UK.

Eligibility Criteria for the Start Up Visa

The Start Up Visa is a two-year working visa that allows immigrants to come to the UK to develop and launch new businesses.

In order to be eligible for a Start Up UK Visa, applicants will need to meet these criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have an innovative viable and scalable business concept
  • Evidence of funding/financial support from either personal or third-party sources
  • Intend to be self-employed and not working under an employment contract or as a trainee
  • Have a plan for your business idea, including where and how you will carry it out
  • Be able to speak English at an intermediate level (B2 Level) or higher
  • Had not operated a business in the UK (unless you held a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa previously).

How Much Money Do I Need to Support Myself?

You will also have to show that you are financially self-sufficient by having a certain amount of money in your bank account to apply for a visa. You must prove that you have £1,270 28 days before filing a Start Up Visa application. Your dependent partner will need to show evidence of £285, the first child will need £315, and additional children will need to have at least £200.

Man reading business newspaper

Business Plan for UK Start Up Visa for Nigerians


A business plan contains details about your business, its mission, and its long-term goals. It clarifies your plans for the future of your business, including how it will be organised, what it will generate in revenue, and how the business will make a profit. This plan is a critical part of applying for a UK Start Up Visa.

The business plan is not only a blueprint for how you will run your business, but it is also a document that you can use to persuade endorsing bodies and other funding agencies of your credibility and of your ability to be successful.

You will need to have a comprehensive and professional business plan in order to secure approval before you will be able apply for a business Start up Visa in the UK.

Why Does the UK Start Up Visa Need a Business Plan?

The UK government wants to ensure that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of your new venture before committing to it. A comprehensive business plan can demonstrate that you are prepared to invest in your company and take all necessary steps to ensure its success.

What Information Should Be Included in My Business Plan?

Your business plan should include detailed information about your new company, including:

  • Roles of people who will work for or with your company
  • Market niche that you want to fill
  • Anticipated size of your customer base
  • Specific goods and services that you will offer
  • Your sources of funding
  • Details about how you intend to organise yourself as an enterprise
  • A detailed description of the competitive advantages you intend to pursue in order to succeed

You should ensure you provide sufficient information for the Home Office to assess your business and its viability. You may want to consider:

  • How much money you will need in your bank account to establish a business
  • Where the money will come from, how you will get it, and why this is the best source
  • How much finance you will need on an ongoing basis to operate your company, including operating expenses
  • Income projections to include sales numbers, growth rates, customer base, etc.
  • Detailed descriptions of each aspect of your business, including your target market, marketing initiatives, competitors, etc.

Our experienced legal team can help you throughout the UK Start Up Visa application process, ensuring a boost in your UK Start Up Visa success rate.

Nigerian entrepreneurs can expand their business to the UK with a start-up visa. Talk to us for a hassle-free application.

English Language Requirements

The English language requirements for the Start Up Visa are that, as an applicant, you must have a good command of written and spoken English.

However, as part of the Start Up Visa application process in the UK, you must demonstrate that you meet the English language skills at level B2 of the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages (CEFR).

These can be:

  • The evidence that you present should be a formal qualification in English
  • If your English is not quite at that level, you can use a National Skills Test certificate or an approved English language test

How Much Does The UK Start Up Visa Cost?

The UK Start Up Visa cost for your application depends on many factors. Consider each of them when estimating the total cost. You will need to pay around £378 from outside the UK (if you choose to apply by yourself). You may also need to pay other applicable fees for your dependent partner and children.

Suit jacket

What Is The UK Start Up Visa Processing Time?

After you submit your application and provide the necessary documents, the UK Start Up Visa processing time normally takes 3–8 weeks to get a decision from the visa office (depending on whether you’re inside or outside the UK). If your application is urgent, you may be able to pay a premium fee to reduce this processing time.

Do I Need to Select an Endorsing Body?

It is very important to select an approved endorsing body that will provide you with the best and most efficient services.

Start up entrepreneurs will need to apply for the start up application and receive an endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body rather than apply directly to the UK government.

We’re well versed in all areas of Nigerian emigration to the UK, including helping business owners like you relocate.

Businessman walking

Can My Start Up Visa Be Rejected?

Most Start Up Visa applications can be rejected because the applicant does not have a business endorsement from a UK business. The UK business endorsement is a letter from a UK business that is willing to provide you with work experience.

There are other reasons why a Start Up Visa applications for Nigerians are rejected. The main reasons why applicants do not receive endorsement include:

  • You do not have a valid passport
  • Not putting in enough effort to get an endorsement
  • The applicant cannot prove that they have adequate funds to support yourself
  • You fail to meet the language requirement

If your UK Startup Visa is rejected, you can switch to an Innovator Founder Visa for Nigerians.

IAS Immigration lawyers can help with the Innovator Founder Visa application. The Home Office can refuse a UK Business Visa for a variety of reasons. However, it’s possible to appeal the decision and work with an immigration lawyer to make sure the case is as strong as possible.

UK Innovator Founder Visa


Due to the closure of the Start Up Visa route for Nigerians it does mean the new Innovator Founder Visa could be a good alternative.

This new visa allows holders to live and work in the UK while developing a product or business. With a validity of up to three years, this visa enables entrepreneurs to establish themselves in th UK. A Innovator Founder Visa is also a pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain.

If you have an innovative idea that could benefit the UK society, our immigration lawyers can help you apply for a Innovator Founder Visa today.

In order to apply for an Innovator Founder Visa, you will need to have a new, innovative and scalable idea.

Businessman in suit and tie

Applying for the Innovator Founder Visa

To be eligible for the UK Innovator visa:

  • The applicant must have an innovative idea
  • Have a business plan showing that you have a creative or new business idea
  • The business idea must be able to generate economic activity in the UK
  • Have to demonstrate genuine interest in developing that idea

In addition:

  • The company must be able to show that it has potential to create jobs and growth in the UK economy
  • You will need to have invested in the company and have a significant role in its management or development
  • The applicant will need to hold a support fund in your bank account of at least £1,270 for 28 days before you apply for the visa

The application process involves submitting your idea with supporting documents, such as your business plan.

The UK government charges £1,036 per person applying for an Innovator Founder Visa. The fees to extend or switch to this visa is £1,292. You will pay extra if you decide to bring your family to the UK.

For applicants outside the UK, visa decisions are usually made within 3 weeks. for those inside the UK, it takes 8 weeks.

An Innovator Founder Visa is valid for three years but it is possible to apply for an extension of a further 3 years.

How Can IAS Help?

For entrepreneurs looking to establish a business in the UK, there are several factors to take into consideration.

You might have asked yourself, “How can I start a business in the UK? What sort of visa do I need?” IAS has helped several entrepreneurs with applications for a Start Up Visa to the UK and can help you too.

We have a team of experienced lawyers in Nigeria who can and are willing to help many Nigerians who want to apply for their UK Start Up Visa.

For more information on how IAS can help you with a UK Start Up Visa for Nigerians or immigration advice, get in touch with us online, contact our immigration advice office in Nigeria on +23413438882 or our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 today.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Family members of those who receive the UK Start Up Visa may be eligible for their own visa, but only if they meet certain criteria.

You can work for another company, as long as you are not working on the same type of business that you will be doing while your Start Up Visa is valid. If you have any questions about what kinds of businesses the Home Office defines as a start up, please contact IAS immigration lawyers.

The Start Up Visa is designed for applicants who have not yet started their business in the UK. If you have already started your business, unfortunately, you cannot apply for a Start Up Visa, but you may be able to apply for an alternative visa instead.

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