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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability Service

Start-Up Visa

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The University of Southampton is a Start-Up Visa endorsing institution. The University will only consider endorsing applicants who are either international graduates or current international students of the University of Southampton.

The University of Southampton has been granted a limited number of endorsements by the Home Office under the Start-Up Visa. There is a rigorous endorsement selection process. If successful, candidates can then apply to the Home Office for the Visa using this endorsement.

This allows international graduates from the University of Southampton, who have a viable, innovative and scalable business idea, to be supported to develop a business in the UK in conjunction with the University.

A key requirement of the Start-Up Visa is that the business idea proposed must meet the following criteria:

The visa allows successful applicants to remain in the UK for 2 years. The University has established its own criteria (in accordance with the eligibility criteria set by the Home Office) regarding how international graduates/business plans will be selected.

It is a requirement that you read the government guidance before applying for endorsement as candidates are responsible for adhering to Start-Up Visa regulations: Gov.uk - Start-Up Visa

The December round of applications for the Start-Up Visa are are open as of the 01 November 2020 .

Important Dates:

25 November 2020 - Startup Visa Applications Close
9 December 2020 - Visa Panel Assessment Day (for those individuals that are chosen to make it through to this stage)

 

  • The opportunity to be endorsed by the University of Southampton for a Start-Up Visa in the UK. If successful in gaining endorsement, the Start-Up Visa will last for a 2 year period. Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn.
  • The support of the University of Southampton, to develop your business – including mentoring expertise.
  • A route to the Innovator Visa, subject to an approved funding source being secured. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa
  • The opportunity to work up to 20 hours per week outside the business in order to support yourself financially.
  • You must comply with the UK Government’s Visas and Immigration Start-Up Visa regulations – including regular communication with the University and informing them of all changes in your circumstances through the Start-Up Visa period. Failure to comply will result in withdrawal of your endorsement.

Please note your visa approval will also be subject to a successful visa application to UK Visas & Immigration and compliance with their other requirements.

If you have already been awarded a UK recognised bachelor's degree, master's degree or PhD from the University of Southampton then you do not need to have completed your current programme of study before submitting your application. If your application is successful, we can choose to endorse you straight away.

Applicants can be either in / outside the UK at the time of application but please note that we are unable to support anyone who is not either a graduate or a current student of the University of Southampton.

To apply for Start-Up Visa immigration permission, you need a Letter of Endorsement from the University of Southampton. To apply for this letter, you must pass a rigorous Endorsement Selection Scheme run twice annually by the University. We will use this selection process to identify viable business ideas which also comply with the eligibility criteria set by the Home Office. There are two parts to the selection scheme:

1. A written application (available for download below) along with a 1 minute video pitch

2. An interview panel

Applicants will need to provide evidence that they have a innovative, viable and scalable business idea, and that they will spend the majority of their working time on developing the business.

The first stage will be to complete and submit an application and a short 1 minute video pitch to StudentEnterprise@southampton.ac.uk.

For a copy of the application form please e-mail StudentEnterprise@southampton.ac.uk.

Applications to apply for a startup visa are now open for the December 2020 round (application deadline 25 November 2020).

  • You must read the government guidance before applying for endorsement as candidates are responsible for adhering to all Start-Up Visa regulations: https://www.gov.uk/start-up-visa
  • Your must comply with the UK government’s Start-Up Visa regulations – including regular communication with the University.

Please note your visa will also be subject to a successful visa application to UK Visas & Immigration and compliance with their other requirements.

Please note that if you are currently on a Tier 4 visa then you will need to be mindful of the limitations imposed with relation to any business startup activity:

Tier 4 students CAN do the following, as this is not considered to be engaging in business activity:


Tier 4 students CANNOT do the following, as this is considered to be engaging in business activity:

 

* As per Government Guidance published March 2020 - full document available here.

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