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Setting up a new business

What is a business?


Under the Immigration Rules, a 'business' is:

  • A sole trader
  • A partnership, or
  • A company registered in the United Kingdom.

You must get a visa to set up in business in the UK.

How to Qualify?

  • You have at least £200,000 under your control, which is available for you to use in the United Kingdom and which is held in your name, with the aim of investing it in a business in the United Kingdom.
  • You have sufficient extra funds to support yourself and any dependants, and live without needing any help from public funds or taking employment until the business earns you income.
  • You intend to be actively involved full-time in trading or providing services on your own account or in partnership, or in promoting and managing the company as a director.
  • You intend to keep a level of financial investment proportional to your interest in the business.
  • You intend to have either a controlling or equal interest in the business, and any partnership or directorship must not amount to disguised employment. You can afford your share of any liabilities.
  • You intend to provide investment and services for which there is a valid need in the United Kingdom.
  • You expect to receive a share of the profits from the business, which will be enough to support yourself and any dependants, and live without needing any help from public funds or taking employment.
  • You do not intend to take or look for any other employment in the UK other than your work for the business.

If you are taking over or joining as a partner or director in an existing business, you should provide:


  • A written statement of the terms on which you will join or take over the business
  • audited accounts from the business for previous years, and
  • Evidence that your services and investment will lead to an overall increase in the employment the business provides and so creates at least two new full-time jobs for people already settled in the UK.

If you are setting up a new business in the UK, you should provide evidence that:

  • you will bring enough funds of your own to the UK to set up the business, and
  • The business will create at least two new full-time jobs for people already settled in the UK.


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