Visas for founders

International entrepreneurs wishing to set up a business in the UK will need to switch to a new visa following their studies. There are several options available:

Innovator Founder Visa

The Innovator Founder Visa is a new visa that replaces the Start-up and Innovator visas. You can apply for an Innovator Founder visa if:

Edinburgh Innovations can help you develop your business plans and prepare you for your Innovator Founder visa endorsement application. Please book a 1-2-1 meeting with an Edinburgh Innovations advisor to discuss.

Please note the Student Immigration Service cannot provide advice with regard to Innovator Founder visa applications. If you need help with your Innovator Founder application, we recommend that you contact a regulated immigration adviser or solicitor with expertise in this area.

Graduate Route

The Graduate Route is a post-study work visa that will allow you to stay in the UK to work or look for work for 2 years after your degree has been awarded, or 3 years, if you have been awarded a Doctoral qualification.

Learn more about the Graduate Route, including eligibility and the application process.

Global Talent Visa

You could apply for the Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you’re a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology.

More information about the Global Talent Visa

The Student Immigration Service has comprehensive information on visa options for working in the UK after your studies.

Current Start-up and Innovator Visa Holders

The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Innovations are now a “Legacy Endorsing Body” for the Innovator Founder route. This means that we can endorse you for an Innovator Founder visa if you currently hold a valid Start-up or Innovator visa that is endorsed by us and is due for renewal.

Please complete and submit the appropriate application to apply for endorsement:

If you have any questions about visas for founders, please email us