What is the Innovator Visa?
On the 7th of March 2019, the Home Office published immigration changes advising of the termination of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. In its place, it announced the new Innovator visa.
The Innovator Visa is aimed at those who want to establish a business in the UK. The business idea needs to be Innovative, Viable & Scalable. These 3 requirements are assessed by one of many Endorsing Bodies.
Who is the Innovator Visa suitable for?
- Those who want to set up or run a business in the UK – you need to have your business or business idea endorsed by an approved body
- Those that are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- Those who are willing to invest at least £50,000 for new businesses (no funds required for established and previously endorsed businesses)
- Those who want to apply individually or in a team
What are the requirements for a Innovator Visa?
You need to be endorsed by an approved endorsing body. You can see a list of Endorsing Bodies here.
Your business needs to meet 3 criteria:
|The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.||The applicant has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.||There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.|
- You must satisfy English language requirements
- For new businesses, you must have at least £50,000 to invest
- You must show proof of having Maintenance Funds of £945, held for a minimum of 90 consecutive days and within 31 days of your application
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must prove that you’re a genuine entrepreneur
Common questions asked about the Innovator Visa
Do I need a sponsor?
No, a sponsor is not required for the Innovator Visa.
How long can I stay in the UK?
The Innovator Visa is granted for 3 years on initial application and can be extended for 3 years at a time. The Innovator Visa has no time limit.
When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years in the UK if you can meet at least 2 of the 7 requirements for settlement.
The seven requirements are that the business has:
- Had at least £50,000 invested into it
- More than doubled it’s customer base within the most recent 3 years
- Engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
- Generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year
- Generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year of which at least £100,000 is from exporting overseas
- Created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
- Created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, (with average minimum salary of at least £25,000 a year gross pay, excluding expenses)
Can I bring my family?
Yes you can bring dependants to the UK on this visa. If you have family members outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), they will require a visa. When bringing dependants, you will need to prove an additional £630 in maintenance fees as per Maintenance Fees above.