For students

Visas for founders

If you currently need a visa and plan to start a company in the UK after your studies, you will need to switch to a new visa.  There are a few potential options:

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. 

Book meeting now 


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. More information here


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. Find out more here

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


Current Start-up and Innovator Visa Holders

The University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Innovations is 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:

  • Innovator Founder Same – if you are switching from a Start-up visa or applying for further endorsement for your original business idea
  • Innovator Founder New – if you are switching from a Start-up visa or applying for further endorsement but have changed your business idea
  • Innovator Founder Settlement in the UK – if you would like to apply for settlement in the UK.

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