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Start-up Visa

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TIER 1Entrepreneurship Programme
UPDATED
8:23am 8 Aug 2022

Are you a BCU international student? Are you a BCU international graduate/alumni? Are you interested in Entrepreneurship and have a viable, innovative and scalable business idea? Are you interested in setting and running this business in the UK?

Then reach out the BCU Enterprise and Entrepreneurship team for a chance to be awarded a Start-up Visa that would allow you to stay or return to the UK for up to 2-year to set up and run a business here.

Birmingham City University is an endorsing Higher Education Institution under the Home Office’s Start-up Visa route. This route is for BCU graduates of a Degree/Masters/PHD who have a viable, innovative and scalable business idea that they wish to put into practice in the UK.

BCU accepts applications for the Start-up Visa three times a year. You can apply for the scheme if you are close to graduation or have graduated. We run one to one appointments to help individuals apply for Start-up Visa that can be booked via Target Connect.

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Endorsement - BCU international students are required to complete a first Degree, Masters or PhD with the university as well as ensure they maintain £1270 in maintenance funds when applying from within the UK or abroad, 28-days prior to applying to the programme.

This means that you will need to keep your bank account above the specified amounts for more than 28 consecutive days. If the account balance drops below the required amount the day's count will need to start again. If you are keeping the account in a currency other than Pound Sterling (£GBP) please beware for currency exchange fluctuations.

BCU ONLY accepts applications and endorses individuals that studied full-time within its university.

How much you pay the Home Office for a Start-up visa depends on your situation and where you apply from. Please see the Home Office links before for current costs as well as information on NHS medical surcharges.

So we recommend to applicants that you maintain around £2600 in named bank account for yourself 28-days+ days before applying to the Start-up Visa scheme for you. You can also bring spouses and dependents on to the Start-up Visa programme as well and in regard to this you need to also maintain funds per individual to apply - Start-up visa: Your partner and children - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

BCU does not charge a fee for international graduates to go on to the scheme. The only funds you'll pay out go to the Home Office and NHS for the application fee and medical surcharge - BCU’s Student Services will also help successful individuals to apply for the Start-up Visa itself so you’ll be helped all the way on to the scheme. We’ll also support you with one to one’s and access to other opportunities to help you to start and run the business for the 2-years on the programme.

To support interested applicants to gain additional information and advice to apply to the scheme the BCU Enterprise and Entrepreneurship team offers 1-2-1 support meetings bookable via Target Connect.


Read the following documents:

*All attached material can only be accessed by BCU email account holders, if you are a BCU Alumni please contact us at enterpise@bcu.ac.uk to express your interest. 

Submit the following before the deadline date.

  • Application Form (By email request)
  • A complete a comprehensive Business plan with a 2-year forecast by email to Enterprise@bcu.ac.uk

All eligible and viable candidates that submit a well-thought-out business plan are shortlisted and invited for an interview during the week following the deadline. Candidates will be notified if they have been successful within one week. All candidates will receive feedback on their idea and presentation if they are not successful and wish to reapply in the future. If candidates are applying from overseas we will conduct the interviews virtually on MS Teams.

Once you receive your Start-up Visa you can register your business. There are no restrictions on working hours or working for another employer whilst you develop your business. However, spending the majority of your working time on your business idea and in the UK is a condition of the visa.

You will be assigned a University contact who you will be required to meet once every quarter to discuss the progress of your business as well as to offer some advice and guidance. The University contact will also determine whether the business is making satisfactory progress.

Adhere to the conditions set by the University and UK Visas and Immigration (if you do not keep contact or breach the conditions of your leave, the University must report this to UKVI). For more information on the scheme please see Home Office website.

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