Careers Service

International Students

International Students

If you are an international student interested in starting a business after you graduate, START UP can help eligible students to develop and grow profitable businesses in the UK.

We’ll give you information, advice and one-to-one support to help you work towards gaining endorsement and applying for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa so you can legally start your business in the UK. You will also have access to expert support from the University’s Visa Team.

Discover what it takes to launch a new business idea and develop skills and practical strategies to help you achieve success. You'll become part of our START UP community, providing peer-to-peer support, networking opportunities and valuable contacts.

Find out how to build a credible business case that you can choose to pitch to the University to be considered for endorsement.

If you successfully obtain a Tier 1 visa using the University’s endorsement, our Business Advisers and professional partners will support you throughout the period of your visa and will help you apply to extend your visa by 12 months if your business makes suitable progress. With the START UP Space to work from and the opportunity to apply for small start-up grants, START UP has everything you need to get going!

Please note that the government has announced plans for a new start-up visa route to be launched in spring 2019, requiring applicants to have acquired an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor. This may replace the current Tier 1 Visa. Further details will be provided in due course.

What's involved...

To become eligible for endorsement, you must successfully complete every stage of our endorsement process, including:

  1. Read the Tier 1 visa endorsement process Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Guidance April 2018‌ (PDF: 236 KB)
  2. Attend the Visa Team's ‘Immigration routes into graduate employment for international students’ workshop. Sessions are available throughout the year.
  3. Attend four START UP Essentials workshops. Registration for the next series of START UP Essentials will open again in October 2018. 
  4. Pitch your idea to the University in an endorsement interview.  

How to get involved

Visit us as soon as possible to start discussing your idea and give yourself the best chance of securing endorsement.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for endorsement you should be an international student from outside of the EU who is graduating or you should have graduated within the last 3 years and be based in the UK. 

More information

Please note that this programme is offered in accordance with guidance issued by the UK Home Office and may be removed at any time. We encourage participants to check the availability of support regularly.

To ensure that you don't risk being in breach of your Tier 4 (General) student visa, the Home Office has issued the following guidance (April 2018) on how far you can progress a business concept before submitting your application for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa:

  • a student could come up with an idea and do small scale user testing of a prototype, for example giving a product they have developed to a group of class mates for free to see if the concept works 
  • we would not expect to see products being marketed in any way to the mainstream public at this stage (for example through a publicly available website) 
  • we would not expect to see any large scale commercial trials being undertaken at this stage (unless the trials are a scientifically necessary part of a PhD research project that will later be spun out)
  • the student must not under any circumstances receive any financial gain from any user testing before they have applied for their Graduate Entrepreneur visa 
  • the student must not under any circumstances register or begin to register a business until after they have applied for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa