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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

International Students

Eligible non-EEA international students have the opportunity to set up their own business in the UK after finishing their studies.

If you are an international student interested in starting a business in the UK after you graduate, Careers & Enterprise can provide support to help you achieve your goals.

We’ll provide you with information, advice and guidance to help you work towards gaining endorsement that you need to apply for a Start-up Visa. Obtaining this visa will allow you to legally start your business in the UK for an initial period of 2 years.

The Endorsement Process

To become eligible for endorsement, you must successfully complete every stage of our endorsement process. This includes:

  1. Read the Start-up Visa Guidance document‌ (found in the resources section at the bottom of this page) and the UK Government Start-up Visa webpages.
  2. Attend a Start-up visa briefing session at least three months before you intend to apply for the visa. The next briefing session will take place in March 2020.
  3. Access support from Careers & Enterprise to help develop your business concept. This includes; 1:1 business coaching sessions, workshops, competitions and start-up funding.
  4. Email your completed Start-up visa endorsement application form found in the resources section at the bottom of this page to Marek Tokarski.
  5. Selected applicants will be invited to pitch their business idea to the University at the next endorsement interview.

The next endorsement process will begin in March 2020. In the meantime you can access all other aspects of our start-up support services.

How to get involved

Contact Marek Tokarski as soon as possible to start discussing your idea and receive the support you need to give yourself the best chance of securing endorsement.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for endorsement you should be a Durham University international student from outside of the EU currently holding a General Student Visa (Tier 4).

Before Obtaining a Start-up Visa

Whilst you are able to develop your business idea and conduct market research, it is important that you do not risk being in breach of your Tier 4 (General) student visa before securing a Start-up visa. Whist you are still holding a Tier 4 (General) student visa you must not:

  • Market your products or services in any way to the mainstream public (for example through a publicly available website)
  • Receive any financial gain from any business activity, including user testing
  • Register or begin to register a business until after they have applied for a Start-up visa

Any student found to be in breach of their General Student Visa (Tier 4) will not be considered for endorsement for Start-up visa by Durham University.

Please contact Marek Tokarski if you have any questions about the Start-up visa.