UK Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa category is for experienced businesspersons and entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the UK. In most cases, applicants will need to have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business (or have already invested £50,000 in their business), but certain exceptions apply.  Applicants also need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is approved and supported by a licensed endorsing body.

Applicants can work on their own as a sole founder, or together as part of an entrepreneurial team, provided that each applicant is an original and significant member of the founding team. The business idea may relate to any sector, provided the business idea is sufficiently innovative, viable and scalable.  For example, the restriction on companies mainly engaged in property development under the previous Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category does not apply.   Applicants can develop other businesses as well as their main business idea, but are not permitted to undertake employment outside of their business ventures.

The Innovator is valid for 3 years. You can apply to extend your stay for another 3 years when your visa is due to expire. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend. You may be able to apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for the UK Innovator visa applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • You are at least 18 years old;
  • You have at least £50,000 available to invest in your UK business or have already invested £50,000 in your UK business (this requirement is waived if switching from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up category to pursue the same business venture or extending as an existing Innovator to pursue the same business venture and, in both cases, you have shown significant achievements judged against your business plan);
  • If applying to set up a new business venture, you have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has positively assessed your business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend your entire working time in the UK on developing your business venture;
  • Your endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Innovator visa application;
  • You genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in your application;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • If you are outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months then you have at least £1270 to support yourself, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child and £200 for each additional child.
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