Innovator visa

Innovator visa

The Innovator visa category was introduced on the 29th of March 2019 and this visa type is for experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK.

Anyone who wishes to do business in the UK and is ready to invest £50,000 instead of £200,000 as it used to be under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa (either their own money or funding from an endorsing body) in the UK can apply for this visa.

It is mandatory to provide an endorsement letter issued by an endorsed body in the UK.

The endorsement letter can be issued if the applicant can show that has an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body.

The applicant’s business venture must meet the below requirements in order to obtain an endorsement letter from the endorsing body in the UK .

Innovation –
The applicant must show that has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viability –
The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Scalability –
There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

The Innovator visa category was introduced on the 29th of March 2019 and this
visa type is for experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in
the UK. Anyone who wishes to do business in the UK and is ready to invest
£50,000 ( either their own money or funding from an endorsing body) in the
UK can apply for this visa.
The innovator visa is for experienced business people that are ready to invest
£50,000 of their own money or obtain funding from endorsing body in the UK.

The start-up visa is for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the
first time and no requirement for investment of £50,000 into their business.

The innovator visa leads to settlement while the start-up visa does not. The start
up visa can be issued for up to 2 years while the innovator visa can be issued
for 3 years and extended every 3 years (there is no limit on extension).

  1. Applicants must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body.

The applicant’s business venture must meet the below requirements in order to obtain an endorsement letter from the endorsing body in the UK .

Innovation – The applicant must show that has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viability – The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Scalability – There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

  1. Must have at least £50,000 in investment funds either your own or funded by an endorsed body;
  2. Must also show that they meet the English language requirement and is able to support themselves, their family and/or their dependents for the duration of their stay in the UK.

Applicants need to prove their knowledge of the English language. This can be proved in the following ways:

  1. By passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening; or
  2. By holding an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree level or above; or
  3. By being a national of an English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, etc.
  4. Applicants will also need to show that they can maintain and accommodate themselves and their family dependents in the UK without claiming any public funds.
  5. Must demonstrate that has had £945 in the last three months and £945 for each dependant who is applying for a dependant visa.

You can form a team with other Innovator applicants, but you cannot share the same investment funds. Your team must have £50,000 for each Innovator applicant. For example, if you have 2 Innovator applicants, your team must have £100,000 to invest.

If the application is successful then an Innovator visa will be granted for 3 years which can be extended for another 3 years. There is no limit on how many times the innovator visa can be extended.

I would also like to know main requirements for the Innovator visa.

 

You can apply to extend your visa if you are still running a business in the UK or want to set up a new business.
You have invested £50,000 in your business in the UK.


You must have £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business. You do not need funds if your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa.
You need to have your business or business idea assessed by an approved body when you extend your visa.

The credibility assessment will be carried out by the decision maker (immigration officer) to determine whether the applicant is genuine and the business idea is credible. The decision maker (Immigration officer) must be satisfied that all of the following requirements are met:

  1. (i) The applicant genuinely intends to undertake, and is capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in their application.
  2. (ii) The applicant does not intend to work in the UK in breach of their conditions.
  3. (iii) Any money which the applicant claims to be available is genuinely available as described, and the applicant intends to use it for the purposes described in the application.
  4. (b) The decision maker will take into account any endorsement of the applicant required under the Innovator visa route, and may also take into account any or all of the following factors:
    1. (i) the evidence the applicant has submitted and its credibility
    2. (ii) the applicant’s previous educational, work and immigration history
    3. (iii) declarations made to other government departments regarding the applicant’s previous employment and other activity in the UK
    4. (iv) any other relevant information
  5. (c) The decision maker may request additional information and evidence from the applicant or (where relevant) the applicant’s endorsing body.
  6. (d) The decision maker may ask the applicant to attend an interview.

An endorsing body is recognised by the Home Office as an organisation with a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs, including resident workers in the United Kingdom.


The endorsing body is responsible in issuing an endorsement letter in support of the innovator visa application and they must be able to competently assess applicants’ business ventures against the endorsement criteria set out in the immigration rules.

Yes, you must have a business plan which you will provide it to the endorsing body in order to obtain an endorsement letter.

You can apply for this visa if you are in the UK and hold one of the below visas.

  1. Start-up visa
  2. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  3. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  4. any Tier 2 visa
  5. Standard Visitor visa – if you came to the UK to get funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body.
Applicants may bring their spouse and children (under 18 years old) as dependents.
Yes, applicants’ spouses can work and study in the UK as dependents.
Yes, you can as long as your studies do not prevent your day to day business activities in the UK.

Yes, children can study in the UK.

Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain through the Innovator route after completion of 3 year of residency and employment as an Innovator in the United Kingdom if they meet the below requirements:

  1. The applicant must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom;
  2. The applicant must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws;
  3. The applicant has not broken the continuous period within 3 years of residency in the UK. Absences from the UK will not break the continuous period if they occur while the applicant had valid leave and they total 180 days or less during any consecutive 12 months.
  4. The applicant’s business venture meets at least two of the following requirements:
  5. (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.
  6. (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.
  7. (iii) The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
  8. (iv) The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of

£1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts.

  1. (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.

  1. (vi) The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers;
  2. i) The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least

£25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).

  1. (c) If the applicant is relying on the criteria for creating jobs:
    1. (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.


    1. (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 full time 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.
  1. (d) An applicant may qualify under any combination of two of the above criteria, even if they are similar. For example, an applicant will have met two criteria if their business has an annual revenue of £1 million, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.

 

The applicant will be able to apply for British citizenship once the applicant has completed the 5 year residence and hold indefinite leave to remain for at least 12 months.
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