Tel: +44 (0) 191 516 6200

Endorsing Body

International Endorsing Body

Unfortunately we are unable to take any further applications at this time due to the very high volume of enquiries.  Please do not contact us during this time as we are unable to respond to your enquiry. 

Start-up and Innovator Visa Schemes

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) is an approved endorsing body (please visit link for more information) for visa applicants for the new Start-up visa and Innovator visa. The Start-up and Innovator visa categories are for non-European Economic Area nationals wishing to set up a business in the UK. To qualify for a visa, applicants must obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

The role of the Endorsing Body

To receive an Innovator visa or a Start-up visa, an applicant must first be endorsed by a recognised Endorsing Body. If endorsement is obtained, then stage two of the application process is an application to the Home Office to assess whether the applicant meets the additional requirements of the visa scheme.

The endorsement will be in the form of an endorsing letter which is used to support the visa application. An endorsing body does not make Immigration decisions but enables visa applicants, with innovative business ideas and good business plans, to progress their application to the stage of being considered by the Home Office.


Start-up – Suitable for early stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are keen to develop their business in the UK for the first time. Start-up visas are one-off visas valid for 2 years.

Innovator- suitable for experience business people who are looking to set up a new business in the UK. Innovator visas are valid for 3 years.

To secure an endorsement the applicant for either a Start-up visa or Innovator visa must be able to show the Endorsing Body that they have a business idea that is:


Do you have a genuine, original plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage?


Do you have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to run the business successfully?” Do you have adequate finance to deliver your business plan?
For Innovator category proof of the availability of at least £50k


Can you show that you have a structure for growth and job creation?

Please note that membership of the North East BIC’s Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) is mandatory for applicants who are accepted for review along with basing your business in the North East of England AND having either a virtual or physical base  at one of our two business centres. A joining fee is applicable. Applicants must have a genuine and credible business proposition with priority given to those that demonstrate innovation and best growth potential. Further details are provided following an initial enquiry by email.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs involved?

There are a mix of mandatory and non-mandatory charges.

Mandatory charges:

  • You must join our Enterprise Development Programme at the time of application and the registration fee is £500.00 + VAT.
  • You must have a physical or virtual base in one of our 2 North East of England locations for the duration of the visa and from the date of endorsement (costs given at application stage).

Non-Mandatory charges:

  • Mentoring Package, business advice, support, guidance – from £50.00 per hour + VAT.

What is a virtual facility?

This gives you the ability to use our address for your business and if required access to our business lounge as a base.

What is a physical base?

We have 2 Business Centres in the North East of England that provide a mixture of Incubator and grow on space, industrial, laboratory and offices of all sizes. Access to meeting rooms, IT / Telecoms infrastructure, reception services, free parking and many more facilities.

Can more than one person per company apply for endorsement?
Yes one other only, but a separate application form will need to be completed and registration fee paid. They must show on the application that they have key skills, specialisms etc needed by the business and complimentary to main applicant. Virtual facility costs will increase for an additional user.

Unfortunately we are unable to take any further applications at this time due to the very high volume of enquiries. Please do not contact us during this time as we are unable to respond to your enquiry.