Self-Sponsorship Visa: Is It A Real Alternative To Business Visas?

Adarsh Girijadevi

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UK Self-Sponsorship Overview

There are various routes for individuals keen in coming to the UK and running their own business. The challenge with most of these routes are the requirement of a minimum investment amount or requiring endorsements from various bodies in the UK. 

UK Self-sponsorship could potentially be an ideal route for you if you do not qualify for the other routes however still wish to come to the UK and run your own business. 

Recent removal of the restrictions around maximum shareholding in a company has made this route very attractive for successful business owners from various countries to fulfil their ambitions of moving to the UK with their family and having a rewarding life and business in the UK without relying on any other companies to sponsor you. You can be your own sponsor and this route can lead to settlement in the UK as well. 

Self-sponsorship basics

In its essence it’s a very simple solution. You are required to register a company in the UK and get all the regulatory and other basics sorted to establish your company’s legal presence in the UK. The company can then apply for the sponsor licence. Once the company has the licence, then the company can sponsor you to come to the UK. You and your dependants can come to the UK and work for your own company. 

Now there are processes you need to follow and factors you need to consider as you go through each step. You should be aware of what can be done and what shouldn’t be done. You also need to ensure you are complying with the UK law at all times. Lastly, you need to ensure that your business case, HR controls, operational objectives and everything else is strong in order for the home office to be convinced that you can be a responsible sponsor and have the capability to adhere with the responsibilities. 

Since the above requirements and expectations can be complex it is always good to seek professional assistance from a Solicitor who have experience in successfully dealing with this route. 


As an individual, the eligibility to eventually be sponsored depends on the nature of business and role you would be sponsored under. Some roles require you to have relevant qualification or registrations whereas some may just require suitable experience or even no experience. Proficiency in English language is a basic requirement in all applications however you may not necessarily need to undertake an English Language test. 

The company itself that you set up is deemed eligible to apply for the sponsor licence if its is a genuine legal entity in the UK and has all the basic documentations to prove this. Some of the documents required are Bank Statements, VAT Registration Certificate, PAYE Certificate, Employers Liability Insurance, Regulatory Approvals if applicable, business premises agreement where applicable etc. 

Your company would also need to identify key personal who would be accountable for adherence with the sponsor duties. This would need to be an employee or office holder in the organisation and need not necessarily be a shareholder. They would however need to be free of any immigration controls, so ideally you should have a British Citizen or someone who has an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. 

Nature of Business

There is no requirement for the business to be in a specific sector and it fully depends on you and your vision. As long as it’s a legal entity based in the UK, you are allowed to operate any kind of business and apply for the licence. You could be into digital marketing, software development, Other IT services, Consultancy services, Restaurants, Tailoring Shop, Construction or anything else you prefer. 

It is however highly recommended to establish a presence for any business you are already running or have extensive experience with. This will ensure continued and sustained operations to ensure the company is able to continue sponsoring you until at least you can switch to other eligible categories. 

Given the above, we highly recommend existing business owners and experienced personal to explore this route. 

How we can assist

We have the expertise in tacking the challenges our clients face and the meeting the expectations from the home office. We can help you too. 

This route is not for everybody and hence it’s very important to understand your objectives and goals to establish if this is achievable for you. We start with a free consultation to establish the needs and asses eligibility. We can also advice you on the timelines, costs, risks and future scope. If you do instruct us, we can hand hold and assist in all steps involved from start to end.  

We can determine your requirements and create a bespoke plan and pricing specific to your needs. 

Get in touch with us to today and get started on creating an exciting future. 


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