Last Updated: 19th July 2020

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.

Discover if you qualify for a Start-Up Visa, today.

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
Innovator Visa Information

The Innovator visa allows up to 3 years in the UK and can be extended for 3 years at a time.

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:

InnovationViabilityScalability
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.

Additionally:

  • 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 3 years in the UK if you can meet at least 2 of the 7 requirements for settlement.

(i) At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement.
(ii) The number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services. (This means that you will need to identify other UK businesses offering similar products/services to your own business and show that you have more than the average number of customers they have).
(iii) The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
(iv) The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts.
(v) The business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.
(vi) The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers.
(vii) The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have a mean salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).

If the applicant is relying on the criteria for creating jobs:
(i) The jobs must have existed for at least 12 months and comply with all relevant UK legislation, including (but not limited to) the National Minimum Wage Regulations in effect at the time and the Working Time Regulations 1998.
(ii) Each of the jobs must involve an average of at least 30 hours of paid work per week. Two or more-part time jobs that add up to 30 hours per week may be combined to represent the equivalent of a single fulltime job, as long as each of the jobs has existed for at least 12 months. However, a single full-time job of more than 30 hours of work per week does not count as more than one full-time job.

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.

Discover if you qualify for a Start-Up Visa, today.

Jacqueline Ma