Innovator Founder Visa

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We’re always striving to deliver creative, practical solutions to our client’s legal issues.

Following the introduction of the start-up and innovator categories that replaced the entrepreneur category, creative solutions must be sought to ensure entrepreneurial activity is free of restrictions.

Start-up Visa​

The Start-up visa category is for businesses in an early stage of development that can demonstrate high potential. It is permissible for individuals to have already set up their business, but it should not have commenced trading yet.

You can stay for 2 years and the visa can only be issued once. It cannot be extended however, it may be possible for eligible individuals to switch to the Innovator Visa category at the end of the term of the two-year visa.

Innovator Visa​

The Innovator visa category is for experienced business people who want to establish a business in the UK and have a viable, scalable and innovative business idea. The business idea must be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body.

An Innovator Visa lasts for three years. Under UK immigration rules, an applicant can apply to extend the Innovator Visa for a period of three years. There are no limits on the number of times an application can be made to extend an Innovator Visa.

Endorsement Criteria​

Before applying for endorsement, you must identify which category you wish to apply under. For either of these categories however, the applicant must present a business idea and plan which meets the following endorsement criteria:

  1. Innovation – the applicant must have a genuine, original business plan that meets a new or existing market need and/or creates a competitive advantage.
  2. Viability – the applicant must have the skills, knowledge, and experience and market awareness to run the new business.
  3. Scalability – the applicant must be able to show evidence of scalability of the business with the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

If the business idea meets the criteria of innovation, viability and scalability as set above, the endorsing body will issue an endorsement letter, and have the responsibility of monitoring the business performance at regular intervals. Without an endorsement letter, you cannot go on to submit a visa application to the Home Office.

Our legal experts will help you prepare a detailed and professional business plan in accordance with the endorsement criteria, and assist you in the endorsement application process. Our business plan writers have already worked on hundreds of business ideas that have been successfully approved for endorsement.

Visa Application​ Process

After you have secured an endorsement letter, you must ensure that your visa application addresses the additional Home Office criteria, for example you must be able to show that you genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, the business as set out in the business plan.

The Home Office considers an applicant’s work, education and immigration history when assessing if an applicant is genuine and it is therefore important that an Innovator Visa application is thorough and well prepared.

You must also:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • meet the English language requirement
  • be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK

It costs £378 per applicant or dependent to apply for the visa from outside the UK. If you are already in the UK, it costs £508 per applicant or dependent. In either option, you must also pay the immigration healthcare surcharge (£624 per year) as part of your application.

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

Indefinite leave to remain (settlement)

After you obtain (or switch to) an Innovator visa, you can apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years of continuous residence in the UK, provided at least two of the following conditions are met:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested and spent in the business;
  • The business has created at least 10 full time jobs for resident workers;
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full time jobs for resident workers paying at least £25,000 a year;
  • The business has generated gross revenue of at least £1 million;
  • The number of business customers has at least doubled in the three years of the visa and is higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services;
  • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK;
  • The business is generating at least £500,000 in revenue with at least £100,000 from exporting outside the UK

Need Support With Your Visa?

How We Can Help

Our approach is to conduct a detailed audit of your requirements before identifying a solution, making sure we are always on the same page. Whatever the outcome of our advice, we never forget that we are dealing with real people, and with real livelihoods at stake.

Some cases are more complex and challenging than others and you will have at your disposal our expertise and knowledge, both as to what the law says and as to how UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will deal with any application.

We won’t over-promise and will be clear with you if we think there isn’t a solution. At the same time we work hard to find a way forward for you.

UKVS: Your Innovator Visa Experts in the UK

At UKVS, we specialise in assisting individuals with the application process for an Innovator Visa. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the eligibility requirements, assist in gathering the necessary documents, and act as your representative when dealing with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

The cost of utilising an Innovator Visa agent may vary depending on the specific services provided by each agent. However, by utilising UKVS consultancy services, you can streamline the process, making it more convenient and less stressful.

Count on the expertise of UKVS Immigration Consultants, as we have dedicated teams specialising in UK Innovator Visas. We are committed to providing prompt, friendly, and professional advice to ensure a smooth experience for you.

Contact Our Lawyers

If you would like more advice or to discuss your visa application with one of our UK Visa specialists, you can contact our team of specialists on 0161 843 9000 or complete our enquiry form below.