If you are an international student with a Tier 4 Student Visa, you must know about the fact that you are not allowed to start a business while studying for any sort of degree in the UK. However, there’s no need to put your entrepreneurial dreams on hold. You can still brainstorm and develop your business idea while studying. After graduation, you’ll have different options available to you, whether you wish to start a business in the UK or anywhere else.

Now, we know the rules for international students in the UK can be quite strict, including those related to work. But here’s the big question, can international students start a business in UK while holding a student visa? Let’s find out together.

Stay with us as we’ll walk through the dos and don’ts, so you can make the right decision for your future. You must make prompt and informed decisions so you can balance study and business during your student visa journey. We’re here to break down the regulations, spill the beans on what’s cool and what’s a no-go, and help you make smart decisions. So, grab a comfy spot, and let’s explore the options on how to work while abiding by the rules on your student visa adventure in the United Kingdom.


Can International Students Start a Business in UK?

So, you’ve got that golden ticket for your student visa in the UK. Exciting times lie ahead with several opportunities. Now you must be thinking over the lingering question, “Can International Students Start a Business in UK?” Let’s explore what you need to be mindful of to ensure you’re on the right track.


Prohibited Work For International Students in UK

1. Doctor in Training

If you have ambitions of becoming a doctor in training, you must be enrolled in a recognized foundation program. Otherwise, this particular path might be prohibited during your student visa period.


2. Sports or Coaching

If you are a sports enthusiast eyeing professional sports or coaching roles, it is advisable to not go for these opportunities on your student visa might not be allowed as they can divert your focus from your studies. Save those ambitions for a later chapter in your journey.


3. Entertainer

Your inner entertainer may be ready to shine on stage or screen, but during your study period, it is a big no. However, you are allowed to dream big but save those performances for a future phase.


4. Full-time Job

Students are not allowed to pursue any sort of full-time job during their study period their studies may not affected by any means. But you can save those skills for the future.


5. Entrepreneurship

If you are eager to start a business in the UK, no doubt your passion is great. But your student visa doesn’t allow you to jump into self-employment or business ventures right away. So it is a no-go for your student visa.

Now you know all the rules and regulations regarding work or business in the UK. So, make sure you abide by all these rules in order to secure your visa from any sort of jeopardy. While it is not permitted to start a business while studying for any degree, you can still use this time to plan and develop your business ideas. 

However, after graduation, there are different visa options available, such as the Graduate route and the Innovator Founder visa, that you can explore to start your entrepreneurial journey in the UK.  So, it is important to stay within the lines and adhere to the rules of your student visa to ensure a successful academic adventure.


Allowed Work Opportunities for International Students in UK

Although international students face a lot of work restrictions in the United Kingdom, there are still available options that they can explore and sustain themselves during their time as a student:


On-Campus Opportunities

Many universities provide a variety of part-time, on-campus job options for students. These roles can be found in places like shops, cafes, bars, events, or within student support services. 

1. Shop and Cafe Roles

On-campus shops and cafes often hire students for part-time positions. It is indeed a convenient option for those looking to work within the university premises.

2. Event Roles

Universities host numerous events, and students have the chance to secure part-time roles in organizing or supporting these events. It’s a great way to be part of campus activities and learn new skills that can help them in their professional career.

3. Student Support Positions:

Various offices on campus, such as student services or academic support, might have openings for student support roles. These positions can offer valuable experience.


Off-Campus Job Options

Looking beyond campus, students can explore a variety of off-campus job opportunities. These roles often provide flexibility and diverse experiences such as:

1. Hospitality Roles

Working in restaurants, hotels, or other hospitality settings is a common choice for students seeking part-time employment off-campus.

2. Retail Positions

Retail jobs, whether in stores or malls, are popular among students. They offer a chance to gain customer service and sales experience.

3. Event Opportunities

Similar to on-campus roles, students can find part-time positions in organizing or assisting with events in the broader community.

4. Seasonal Work:

During holiday periods, students can explore seasonal work options. This could include temporary positions in various industries.


Relevance to Studies:

1. Internships:

You can seek internships within companies or organizations related to your studies. It’s a fantastic way to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical setting.

2. Placements:

Some programs may offer placement opportunities where students can obtain hands-on experience in their chosen field.

Finding the right job during your university journey is not just about earning money, it’s about gaining valuable experience that can shape your future career. Whether on or off-campus, there’s an abundance of opportunities awaiting students like you who are willing to explore and learn.


Post-Study Business Visa Options

If you are looking to start your business journey in the UK after finishing your studies, the primary visa choices are the Graduate route and the Innovator Founder visa.

1. Graduate Visa Route

After graduation, the Graduate route lets you stay in the country and work for up to two years (or three if you aced that PhD). You can work in any role, with no need for sponsorship, which means no restrictions on skill level, working hours, or salary. 

Moreover, you can even be your own boss. If you are thinking of starting a business, just go for it. But, keep in mind that the Graduate route is like a temporary option. It does not grant you a permanent stay. So, if you plan on hanging around in the UK after your graduate leave, you must switch to a different visa category before it may run out. So, make the most of your Graduate route, it’s your time to explore, work, and maybe even start something big.


2. Innovator Founder Visa

The Innovator Founder visa is a pathway for international individuals to establish and operate their own businesses in the UK. In order to apply for this visa, you and your business idea will undergo a thorough evaluation by an approved industry in the UK. This evaluation considers key criteria such as the viability, scalability, and innovation of your business concept.

However, getting an endorsement from the industry is a crucial step before applying for a visa from the Home Office. While there’s no formal requirement for an initial capital investment, it’s essential to plan how to achieve your business goals without significant investment. To secure an endorsement, you must submit a detailed business case.

From July 2023, there have been introduced some specific conditions for those holding student visas or whose last granted leave was as a student and who want to switch to the Innovator Founder route. This includes completing the assigned course of study at a compliant provider, pursuing full-time degree-level or higher education, or being a Ph.D. student in the UK. Their job should start no earlier than 24 months after the course begins. This visa stream provides a clear pathway for students transitioning into the Innovator Founder route.


How to Utilize Your Time While Being a Student in UK?

1. Dream and Plan

Your student visa gives you the green light to dream big and plan for your future business ventures while you’re still studying. So, you don’t have to rush, take your time and patiently await decisions on your applications.


2. Explore Post-Study Business Options

If you have thought about turning those business dreams into reality after graduation, you need to check out the above-mentioned visa options like the Innovator Founder route. It could be your ticket to kickstarting your entrepreneurial journey post-studies.

You can use your student visa period to develop your business concept. However, when it comes to actual trading, you won’t be allowed to do that until you get done with your course. So till that time, try to save.

Hence, when the timing aligns, you’ll be well-prepared to commence your entrepreneurial adventure with confidence and success. Remember, it’s a journey, and your student visa offers you a valuable opportunity to nurture your business aspirations. So, take your time, plan strategically, and get ready for an exciting entrepreneurial ride ahead.

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If you need further assistance regarding this question “Can international students start a business in UK?” We are here to provide you with every kind of support. StudyWise has a team of proficient visa experts and student counselors who will give you customized solutions that will best align with your goals. So without any delay reach out to us and witness your dreams coming to reality. Book your consultation now.



How does starting a business impact the student’s studies?

It is essential for international students to balance their studies and business activities. Planning and time management are crucial to ensure success in both areas.


Can international students continue their business after graduation?

Yes. Depending on the success of the business and future plans, international students may explore post-graduate visa options or other business-related visas to continue their entrepreneurial journey in the UK.


Can I start my own business with a graduate visa in the UK?

Yes, definitely. The primary purpose of this visa is for individuals to work in the UK But with potential progression to a Skilled Worker visa, it also allows the option to establish a business and become self-employed after obtaining the Graduate route visa.


Can international students buy a house in the UK?

Absolutely, students have the possibility to buy a property if they meet the criteria set by the lender. The UK government permits anyone to own a house in this country who has any nationality or any immigration status. However, if you rent out your property, you are supposed to pay income tax on the income you acquire from rent. Furthermore, the UK government sees renting out a property or buying a property as a business activity.



In conclusion, while international students on a Tier 4 Student Visa cannot initiate a business during their studies, they can develop entrepreneurial ideas. Post-graduation, opportunities like the Graduate route and Innovator Founder visa open doors for business ventures. Hence, going through the UK’s immigration landscape offers promising opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, it’s essential for students to be aware of the regulations, explore available options, and plan strategically to transition from student life to entrepreneurial success in the UK.