Partnerships and Enterprise

International graduate support

ERDF & Midlands Engine Logos Stacked VerticallyStart-up Visa

The Start-up Visa is open to non-European graduates to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish their business.  

Applications are considered when the idea is innovative, viable and has high growth potential and the graduate possesses the necessary skills.

The University of Leicester endorses a limited number of applicants per year and only those individuals who have previously studied at the University (last 3 years).  

The Start-up Visa Scheme is highly competitive therefore please carefully read the requirements and process prior to making an application.  

Application Process  

Step 1

Ensure you are eligible for the the Start-up Visa Scheme by carefully reading the Eligibility Criteria. You should also read our guidance and agreement for applicants which outlines your obligations should you be accepted to the Scheme.  

Step 2

You should begin to prepare your application documents (see below) and book a business coaching appointment via MyCareers to discuss your idea prior to submitting your application.

Step 3

To make an application to the  Scheme you will need to submit the following documents to  

Whilst preparing your application, you may want to refer to our guidance on CVs and cover letters.  

Step 4

Subject to review of your application, we will invite you to a Business Selection Panel.   

At this meeting you will be asked to give a short presentation on your idea to a panel of 2-3 assessors.  This will be followed by an informal question and answer session. (Please note: alternatively you may be requested to submit a recorded presentation summarising your idea then attend a follow up interview.)

Following your meeting, the Panel will make one of the following recommendations: 

  1. The applicant meets the Scheme Business Requirements Criteria and the University of Leicester agrees to provide a Letter of Endorsement to the applicant to accompany their Visa application 
  2. The proposed business requires minor adjustments to be deemed viable and feasible. The Panel will agree a timetable for the applicant to submit supplementary information and/or attend a subsequent meeting with members of the panel prior to a final decision being made 
  3. The applicant or proposed business proposal do not meet the Business Requirements Criteria and the application is rejected   

Step 5 

If your business is accepted by the Panel, and you fully meet all of the Immigration Rules, you will be issued with a Letter of Endorsement from the University for you to submit with your visa application. 

It is your responsibility to ensure you meet all of the Immigration Rules and that your visa application is submitted correctly to the UK Visas & Immigration Service (UKVI).  For more information about making your visa application visit the Home Office website

Step 6

Successful applicants will be granted a 24 month visa by UK Visas & Immigration and will then participate in the business support programme at the University of Leicester. This will include monthly one-to-one coaching and regular training, networking events and opportunities.   

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