How To Start Hotel Or Bar Business In London (UK) If You Are Foreigner

Question: Hi, Scott, I am Ranjith from Bangalore, Karnataka India. After completing my B. I got involved in my father’s business in Bangalore. We have developed sites on 4.5 acres of ownership land near BIA Devanahalli. My father is a well-known political figure in Karnataka.

I wish to start a hotel or bar business in London.

I am ready to invest around 1 to 2 Crore INR (150 – 200 Thousand GBP) to fulfill my dreams.

Can you please suggest how to go about? Also, where do I need to seek permission to start my venture? Is it mandatory to have UK citizenship? I eagerly look forward to your guidance.


Answer: First of all, you deserve a pat for aiming high. If you can manage to pull it off in the UK, it would take you nothing to stride across continents. And when it comes to starting a hotel abroad, few countries can match all that UK has to offer. According to the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the total turnover of the hotel industry in 2011 was £90bn.

With an inflow of 14.6 million tourists in the city of London last year, tourism is all set to become the top revenue earner for the country.

Now coming to your questions, you need not be a citizen to start a business in the UK. The United Kingdom provides visas for entrepreneurs building their businesses in Britain. Thus by investing in the UK, you get an opportunity for obtaining UK Citizenship.

There two best ways by which you can obtain UK Citizenship by investment is the Tier 1 Investor Category and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Category.

The UK Tier 1 Investor Category

The UK Tier 1 Investor Category is meant for non-European investors who wish to make significant investment in business or enterprises in the UK. For this, the investor needs to have the ability to invest £1 million in a business. This visa, does not take factors like nationality, age, education, English proficiency of the individual into consideration. The applicant’s spouse and minor children are also included in the visa application. With this visa the applicant can live anywhere in the UK, and travel outside without any restrictions. After five years the individual and his family can apply for permanent residency. And all this does not require you to renounce Indian citizenship.

But the monetary condition in this category rules your chances out.  While you can afford to invest Rs 2 crore, the conditions call for a minimum investment around Rs 10 crores (1.2 Million GBP). However, you still stand a chance under the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Category.

In order to qualify under this provision you need to be conversant with English and must show how you plan to self-support yourself during your stay. The application can be shared by two partners. If the application stands approved, the visa can be extended for a total of five years.

After You Get Through the Visa Process

For a running hotel business, you need to sift through a mass of legislation. These include laws pertaining to health and safety rules; kitchen regulations, and a maze of employment law. Besides this, specific rules based on location, size, and amenities are applicable. Once you choose your area, it is advisable you contact the local authority to learn more about the specific requirements for your hotel business.

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