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What visa do I need to start a business in the UK?

For Nigerian entrepreneurs looking to invest or start a business in another country, the United Kingdom remains one of the best options. Notably, there’s the UK Department for International Trade Nigeria (DIT) which helps UK businesses set up in Nigeria and likewise helps Nigerian businesses set up in the UK. 

There is no better moment for Nigerian entrepreneurs to apply for UK visas than now. There are several types of UK business visas, and which one you should apply for is determined by your circumstances. Some of the top UK visas for Nigerian entrepreneurs in 2022 are as follows: 

  1. Startup Visa

If you’re a Nigerian entrepreneur looking to start a new company in the UK, the UK start-up visa is for you. There must not be any current businesses that are identical to the one being proposed. You also cannot join an existing trade company, and your business concept must have room for expansion. An endorsement from a UK higher education institution or a firm known for assisting UK entrepreneurs is required when applying for the UK Start-up visa. You can stay in the UK for up to two years with this visa. 

You can easily switch to a Start-up visa if you’re currently in the UK on another visa. If you’re applying from Nigeria, the UK Start-up visa for entrepreneurs costs £363 (about N197,000) and takes 3 weeks to process. You are not confined to your business as a beneficiary; you can even work in a different field. In addition, you are permitted to bring your dependents to the United Kingdom. 

  1. Innovator Visa

In that both the UK Innovator Visa and the Start-up Visa require an inventive company idea, the UK Innovator Visa is identical to the Start-up Visa. The Innovator Visa, on the other hand, demands that you be sponsored by a recognized endorsing authority. On the UK Government website, you may discover a list of approved endorsing organizations. If you apply for a UK innovator visa, you must demonstrate your ability to communicate in English. As a result, you should be able to correctly speak, read, write, and understand English. As a Nigerian entrepreneur, the Innovator Visa has numerous advantages. 

The visa allows you to stay in the United Kingdom for up to three years. You can extend your stay for an additional three years after it expires. As a result, it is one of the immigration paths that can lead to permanent residency quickly, as you may be eligible to apply for Settlement after three years. This visa costs £1,021 (about N555,000) and takes 3 weeks to complete. Because the paperwork and documents might be tedious, working with UK immigration lawyers who can assist you in preparing and processing the visa is recommended. 

  1. Representative of an Overseas Business Visa 

This is one of the most prevalent business visas in the United Kingdom. As an Nigerian entrepreneur intending to open a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom, you can apply for this visa. The visa primarily requires that you have sufficient funds to support your stay without relying on public subsidies. Furthermore, you must demonstrate English language ability and, as a business representative, you must occupy a senior position within the company. You’re already in a senior position if you’re the business’s owner. 

The cost of a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa is £610 (about N332,000), plus the UK healthcare premium. If you complete all of the requirements, you can acquire your visa in three weeks and stay in the UK for up to three years. You can extend your visa for an additional two years, for a total of five years. You can apply for settlement after 5 years of residency in the UK. 

  1. Global Business Mobility Visa

The Global Business Mobility visa, which will be available in Spring 2022, is a new UK business visa option. This immigration path will help Nigerian entrepreneurs who already have a presence in the United Kingdom. It enables such companies to send a single employee or a small group of employees to the United Kingdom to handle a specific corporate task. 

If you want to set up a shop in the United Kingdom, the new route also permits you to send an expansion worker, similar to the Representative of an Overseas Business visa. In truth, the visa is expected to be a reform of the Overseas Business Representative, Intra-Company Transfer, and Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visas.

Why Do Business In The UK? 

The UK is the easiest place to start and run a business in Europe, according to the World Bank. It ranks the UK first in Europe and sixth globally. Also, the World Bank ranks the UK second best location to work in Europe, after Denmark. The UK boasts the world’s lowest hurdles to entrepreneurship, trade and investment, according to the OECD. 

As a global innovation leader, the UK has the second best research base in the world, after the USA. The UK’s GDP growth rate is substantially above the European and Eurozone averages. It’s easy to register properties as the UK outranks France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy in property registration. Operating in English provides UK enterprises a natural advantage when communicating abroad. Finally, the European Cities Monitor named London Europe’s top business city.