Can Dependant Visa Holders Do Business

Can Dependant Visa Holders Do Business in the UK?

If you are in the UK on a dependant visa, you might be wondering whether you are allowed to start and run a business. Whether you’re contemplating setting up a company or becoming self-employed, understanding your legal position is the first step towards achieving your entrepreneurial goals. This article explores the rights and regulations surrounding business activities for those on a dependant visa in the UK. 

What Can a UK Dependant Visa Holder Do?

A dependant visa in the UK offers a variety of privileges that extend beyond merely residing with the primary visa holder. It’s important for dependants to fully grasp the range of opportunities this visa affords them, especially if they’re considering entering the job market or launching a business.

As a dependant visa holder, you’re entitled to live in the UK alongside the primary visa holder. This includes the rights to rent or purchase property, providing a stable living situation for your family. Additionally, pursuing education is straightforward, as you can enrol in courses and benefit from the UK’s robust educational system.

When it comes to employment, the dependant visa offers broad flexibility. You can seek employment across various sectors without needing specific authorisation, except for certain restricted roles that may require additional government permissions. This enables you to support your family or simply engage in professional activities that match your skills and interests.

If you want to set up your own business or dive into self-employment, the dependant visa does not restrict these activities. However, it’s wise to remember that any business venture should comply with the primary visa holder’s conditions. For instance, changes to their visa status could influence your ability to operate a business.

By understanding these opportunities and limitations, you can make informed decisions about your professional and personal life in the UK and ensure that you maximise the benefits of your dependant visa.

Also Read: Settling in the UK on a Dependant Visa: Explained

Starting a Business in the UK as a Dependant

The ability to work or start a business on this visa provides a fertile ground for dependants eager to venture into self-employment or company ownership. However, the journey from a business idea to an operational entity involves several crucial steps, including the following: 

Choosing the Business Structure

One of the first decisions for a dependant considering business is selecting an appropriate legal structure. Options include becoming a sole trader, entering a standard partnership, or establishing a limited company.

Each choice offers different benefits and legal implications. For example, a sole trader status is simpler but involves personal financial liability, whereas a limited company provides liability protection but requires more comprehensive management and reporting.

Developing a Business Plan

A robust business plan is essential, particularly if seeking external financing. This document should outline the business strategy, market analysis, functional details, and economic projections. It helps clarify the business vision and is crucial when discussing the venture with potential investors or financial institutions.

Securing Funding

Funding a new business can be challenging. Options range from personal savings and loans to seeking investments from angel investors—wealthy individuals looking to invest in promising start-ups. Each funding source has its nuances and requirements, often necessitating expert advice to navigate successfully.

Setting up Insurance

Adequate insurance is crucial for safeguarding the business from diverse risks. Depending on the business type and size, the necessary coverage might include public liability, professional indemnity, and employers’ liability. Ensuring all potential liabilities are covered is critical for the business’s longevity.

Handling Tax Obligations

Tax obligations vary based on the business structure. Sole traders and partners must manage income tax and National Insurance Contributions through self-assessment, while limited companies must handle corporate taxes and ensure compliance with more complex reporting requirements.

Get to know about: What Are the Documents Required for Skilled Worker Dependant Visa UK?

Limitation of Starting a Business in the UK on a Dependant Visa

While a dependant visa in the UK allows for some entrepreneurial activities, it comes with notable limitations that can impact the success and scope of your business endeavours. Key restrictions include:

  • Business Type Restrictions: There are certain business activities that dependant visa holders cannot engage in. For instance, roles such as sportspersons or sports coaches may be prohibited unless specific conditions are met. Understanding these restrictions is crucial to avoid investing in ventures that could face legal hurdles.
  • Dependency on Main Visa Holder: The stability of your business could be jeopardised if the primary visa holder’s status in the UK changes. For example, if their visa is curtailed or expires, it could directly affect your ability to continue operating your business.
  • Hiring Limitations: If you plan to involve the primary visa holder in your business, be aware that their employment terms, especially under a Skilled Worker visa, may restrict their participation as a co-founder or employee due to sponsorship constraints.

Can You Switch a Dependant Visa to a Business Visa in the UK?

If you’re on a dependant visa and find its limitations restrictive to your business ambitions, switching to a business visa might be a viable option. The UK offers several business visas that are tailored specifically for entrepreneurs and business professionals, designed to provide an optimal environment for nurturing startups and business growth.

One of the primary advantages of switching to a business visa is the access to benefits provided by the UK government, including the potential to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) more rapidly than you might on a dependant visa. 

You can ideally apply for the UK Innovator Founder Visa. This visa is for individuals with a unique and viable business idea that is innovative by nature. It not only offers a pathway to launch and scale a startup but also comes with necessary support mechanisms.

To secure this visa, one requires an endorsement from an approved body, which assesses and validates the business idea’s potential. 

The UK Expansion Worker Visa can facilitate if you’re looking to expand an existing business from outside the UK to British soil. You can also consider the Self-Sponsorship visa route, which allows individuals to start a business under a dependant visa and then sponsor themselves by transitioning to a Skilled Worker visa. 

Also get to know about: Can I Study on a Dependant Visa in the UK?

Let Spouse Visa Lawyers Help

Are you considering applying for a dependant visa or looking to switch to a business visa to start your entrepreneurial journey in the UK? Understanding the immigration rules and visa application process can be challenging without expert guidance. 

At Spouse Visa Lawyers, we specialise in providing comprehensive support for all your visa needs. Our team is here to assist whether you need help with the initial dependant visa application or advice on switching to a more suitable visa for your business ambitions.

Contact us today to ensure your visa process is smooth and successful, paving the way for your future in the UK.

You Ask, We Answer


Yes, dependant visa holders in the UK can start a business or become self-employed, provided they comply with all relevant immigration rules and business regulations.

Dependant visa holders can undertake most types of work, including employment in various sectors and self-employment. However, they are not restricted from being employed as doctors in training or as professional sportspersons.

No, individuals on a visitor visa in the UK are not permitted to start a business or engage in any professional activity that amounts to employment or business.

Information can be found on UK government websites such as, or by consulting with immigration advisors and lawyers who specialise in UK business and dependant visas.

Share this post


The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.

Similar Posts