Start-up Visa


The Royal College of Art is an authorised UK HEI able to endorse a limited number of Start-up visas, which allows entrepreneurial graduates with world class innovative ideas to remain in the UK to develop their businesses following graduation. The Start-up category is for early-stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time.

Outstanding graduates who win a place in the InnovationRCA Incubator may be endorsed to stay in the UK to develop their businesses with this one-off, 2-year visa.

Successful graduates may also be able to sponsor dependents provided they meet the Border Agency Tier 1 maintenance requirements. At the end of 2 years, you can switch into the Innovator Visa category to extend your stay and continue to develop your businesses in the UK.

To qualify for the Start-up Visa, candidates will need to apply to the InnovationRCA Start-up Programme.

How to apply for an RCA endorsement

The Royal College of Art, through the InnovationRCA incubator programme, is able to endorse up to 15 RCA students per year (subject to confirmation) for a Start-up Visa. To apply for the endorsement, you must participate in the annual selection process. There are some additional gateways for those applying via the Start-up  visa route. You will need to be present for each of these stages to be eligible.

The application process:

  • Click here for more information
  • If your application is successful you will receive the RCA's endorsement letter in time to submit your visa application to the Border Agency

Important Financial Information

  • You need to have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.
  • It costs £493 if you apply within the UK and £363 from outside the UK
  • You will also be required to pay a health surcharge