The Innovator visa is for individuals who want to set up and run an innovative original business in the UK.
This is a points-based application. You can either apply for a new Innovator visa under the New Business route, or if you are extending your Innovator visa or switching to an Innovator visa from another similar type of visa, you can apply under the Same Business route.
Eligibility for New Business Route
To be eligible for an Innovator visa under the New Business route, you will be required to show:
- New business – You cannot join in a business that is already trading;
- Business plan, together with an endorsement letter from an endorsing body confirming that you have either generated, or made a significant contribution to, the ideas in your business plan, and that you will have a day-to-day role in carrying out the business plan;
- Your business venture is innovative, viable and scalable. To meet this requirement the endorsing body must confirm in their endorsement letter that you have a genuine, original business plan that meets new / existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage, your business plan is realistic and achievable based on your available resources, you have / are actively developing the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business, and there is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets; and
- £50,000 available funds to invest or having been invested. Proof of the sources of the funding must be provided. If you form a team with other Innovator visa applicants, you cannot share the same investment funds. The team must have £50,000 for each Innovator visa applicant.
Eligibility for Same Business Route
To be eligible for an Innovator visa under the Same Business route, you will be required to show:
- Your previous permission was in the Innovator, Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and you are pursuing a business previously assessed and endorsed by the Home Office approved endorsing body;
- The business is active, trading and sustainable. To meet this requirement, you must have made significant progress against your business plan, your business must be registered with the Companies House and you must be listed as a director or a member of that business, and you must be supported by an endorsing body which has assessed your business; and
- You are active in day-to-day management and development of the business. The endorsement letter from the endorsing body must confirm this.
General Requirements for both routes
- Meet the financial requirement (show that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK) where applicable;
- You must meet the English language requirements where applicable;
- You must meet the Tuberculosis requirement where applicable.
Once the application is approved, the initial visa is granted for 3 years, after which you may apply for a 3-year extension. There is no limit to the number of times you can extend, however the endorsing body will need to assess your business or business idea when they extend your visa.
The Innovator visa requires a sound business immigration lawyer with strong business acumen. Our team of business immigration lawyers has vast experience in assisting with all types of business visas. For assistance, please contact our experienced business immigration lawyers today on 07429429892, 02038563516 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With an Innovator visa, you can:
- Set up a business or several businesses;
- Work for your business, including as a director or partner;
- Bring your partner and children with you if they are eligible;
- Travel abroad and return to the UK;
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain) if you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years and meet the other eligibility requirements.
With an Innovator visa you cannot:
- Do any work outside your business, e.g. be employed by another business;
- Work as a professional sportsperson, e.g. a sports coach;
- Apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension.