The UK Innovator Visa was created in April 2019, replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. The Innovator Visa route is designed for experienced people who seek to start a new business within the UK.
Under this route, applicants are required to demonstrate an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported (endorsed) by an endorsing body. With some exceptions, applicants should have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business. The initial visa granted is for 3 years, and can be extended for a further 3 years. Migrants would be eligible for permanent residence: Indefinite Leave to Remain, in 3 years, and for citizenship after 6 years.
You will need £50,000 available to invest in your business, unless you are switching from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up category, or extending your visa as an existing Innovator to pursue the same business venture. You will also need an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an approved endorsing body.
It is not a requirement to be the sole founder of your business and you may be a member of an innovator team. However, innovator team members are each required to satisfy an investment funds requirement and cannot share the same £50,000. Each member of the team must individually hold £50,000 or more.
Applicants must obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsement body. For a new business, the endorsing body will decide if the business plan and required documentation meets the endorsement criteria of innovation, viability and scalability and is genuine and credible. If so, an endorsement letter will be issued to the applicant in support of their application to the Home Office.
Innovation – The applicant must have a genuine, original business plan that is in line with new or existing market needs and/or has a competitive advantage.
Viability – The applicant is actively developing or already has the required skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to run their business successfully.
Scalability – There needs to be evidence of structured planning and of job creation prospects as well as potential to grow into national markets.
The endorsing body must be satisfied that applicant will spend their entire working time in the UK on developing business ventures. Applicants must remain in contact with their endorsing body with checkpoints at 6, 12 and 24 months after approval of application, to allow the endorsing body to ensure that the migrant is continuously working on their business venture.
The initial Innovator visa is granted for 3 years which can be extended numerous times for additional 3 years After migrants have been in the UK for 3 years, they can apply for permission to permanently settle in the UK – Indefinite Leave to Remain. Having lived in the UK with an Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months, migrants can apply for British Citizenship.
Would You Like To Know More? <- links to our Immigration Advisor partners the Immigration Advice Service here in the UK.
Updated – July 2022