March 24, 2023

UK visa endorsement fees will now cost founders £2k — down from up to 15x that

The government will also reduce the number of endorsing bodies from 60 to just three 

Zosia Wanat

2 min read

An aerial image of the River Thames, London

Non-British founders who want to start an innovative business in the UK will soon have to pay a fixed price of £2,000 for endorsement of their business idea that will allow them to apply for a visa, Sifted understands. 

The change is part of a reform of the country’s startup and innovator visa routes, which currently require founders to seek endorsement from one of numerous endorsing bodies. 

The institutions, which are mostly private incubators, accelerators and community builders, agree to endorse startups if they take part in their mentorship or acceleration programmes — that often means that founders have to pay hefty fees — sometimes up to £30k — or give away equity in their startups. A flat-fee system will hopefully address many of these issues.  


“We are introducing reformed endorsing body arrangements to support the operation of the route, which will deliver a simpler, easier to use system for applicants,” a Home Office spokesperson said. 

The new visa route, dubbed the Innovator Founder, will reduce the number of endorsing bodies from over 60 to just three — Geminus, Envestors and the newly established UK Endorsement Services.

There’ll also be no requirement for applicants to take on any business support services if they do not wish to.

In the new system founders will have to pay fixed prices for endorsement, including £1,000 for endorsement consideration and £500 for checkpoint assessments at 12 and 24 months. This totals £2,000 for a three-year visa cycle.

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Zosia Wanat

Zosia Wanat is a senior reporter at Sifted. She covers the CEE region and policy. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn