What is UK Innovator Visa?

As suggested by the name, this visa category aims to facilitate innovators, in any given industry, establish a business in the UK – which is generally something that’s different from anything else on the market.

The business or business idea must be endorsed by an endorsing body that is on the Home Office list and the applicants must meet other eligibility criteria.

There can be more than one innovator in a team and everyone can be eligible to apply for this visa.

The business or business idea must be innovative, scalable and viable.

This visa offers pathway to accelerated settlement within 3 years (normally 5 years).

Applicants can be joined by their dependents (spouse and children below the age of 18 years)

What are the benefits of having an Innovator Visa UK?

UK Innovator visa is a great option for obtaining UK citizenship if you have a unique innovative business or business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable. Key benefits include:

  • Less investment
  • Pathway to accelerated settlement
  • Opportunity to set up and grow business with support from endorsing body
  • Can have more than 2 members in innovator entrepreneurial team
  • Quick processing time
  • Allows dependents to join main applicant
Might be of interest: Starting a business in the UK

What are the eligibility requirements for UK Innovator Visa?

To be eligible to apply for UK Innovator visa the applicant will:

· Require endorsement of the business or business idea from an endorsing body on Home Office list

· Have £ 50,000 to invest in the business

· Meet the English language requirement

· Have sufficient funds to meet the maintenance fund requirement

What are the documents required for UK Innovator Visa while applying?

Typically applicants applying for this visa will require to provide documents evidencing:

  • Valid passport confirming the applicants identity and nationality.
  • Endorsement letter from endorsing body from Home Office list
  • Meeting English language requirement
  • Availability of investment funds
  • Meeting maintenance funds requirement e.g. Bank statement
  • TB test result (where this is a requirement)

Additional documents may be required depending on the specific circumstances.

What are the ‘Knowledge of English Requirement’ for UK Innovator Visa?

Applicants who are required to meet the English language requirement must prove that they can read, write, speak and understand English to a level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. This requirement can be met by:

  • passing Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • have an academic qualification from the UK e.g. Bachelor degree or higher
  • have studied in UK school below the age of 18 for GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English
  • having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English from outside UK and have confirmation through UK NARIC that the qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

Other requirements of Innovator Visa UK

Despite this being a fairly new category of visa, we have studied the complete requirements, the basic of which are that:

  • The founder/innovator applying under this category be from outside the EEA and Switzerland (the purpose must be to set up a business in the UK)
  • The founder/innovator meets the other eligibility requirements as specified for this category.

You may also be able to form an innovator team with other innovators but this would not allow sharing of investment funds. This means that, each innovator of the said team is to have access to £50,000.

Applying for a UK visa under the Innovator category is a two stage process.

  • Obtaining an endorsement from ‘Endorsing bodies’
  • Applying for entry clearance as an innovator

How to apply for an Innovator Visa UK?

An applicant would require an endorsement from the Home Office authorised endorsing body. Once the applicant is granted an endorsement letter he can thereafter apply for entry clearance application.

How to apply for an Innovator Visa UK from outside the UK?

The applicant would be required to complete an online application form post receiving an endorsement letter from authorized endorsing body and submit the same at the local VFS centre along with their biometrics and supporting documents.

How to join an existing business as an Innovator visa UK holder?

An applicant can establish a new business in the UK. An innovative visa holder cannot join any existing business in the UK and in fact would require his own business idea to set up his own venture in the UK.

An applicant can continue their same business if they have been last granted permission to stay in the UK on Innovator or start-up or Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneur route and the applicant have been endorsed on the basis of a business that was assessed by an endorsing body either for their previous endorsement or at a contact point meeting during their last period of permission.

How much an investment funds are required for an Innovator visa UK?

Applicants will require at least £ 50,000 to invest in the business in addition to the maintenance funds. Applicants need to show £1,270 in savings in their bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying for the visa. There is additional maintenance funds for dependents.

How to Prove your identity for UK Innovator Visa?

Applicants will require a valid Passport to confirm their identity and nationality.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is now an Innovator Visa UK?

The Home Office announced the closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and launch of the Innovator at the same time.

However both the Innovator visa and Tier 1 entrepreneur visa are different categories with different eligibility requirements.

The Tier 1 entrepreneur was part of the Points based system and required the applicant to invest at least £ 200,000 to start or invest in an existing business in the UK, this could be in any business (not necessarily innovative). Up to 2 applicants can apply as an entrepreneurial team.

The Innovator visa requires the applicants to have an innovative business or business idea and the same must be endorsed by endorsing body on Home Office list. Applicants are also required to have £ 50,000 to invest in the business. Each applicant on the innovator team will need to show £ 50,000 to invest in the business. Innovator visa also offers accelerated settlement pathway.

UK Innovator Visa is it good option as UK citizenship by investment?

Yes! It’s a great option for obtaining UK citizenship if you have a unique innovative business or business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable. It requires an investment of £ 50,000 which is affordable when compared to the Tier 1 Investor which requires investment of £ 2 million.

What is the UK Innovator Visa endorsement?

Under the UK Innovator visa, an endorsement is a written approval given by a Home Office authorized body who is satisfied that you have a viable, innovative and scalable idea and the business experience and funds to support the same. Every endorsement has a unique reference number and details of the applicant along with the brief of business venture they intend to do.

How to bring your partner & children with you as your ‘dependants’ on an Innovator Visa UK?

The innovator visa allows partner and children until the age of 18 to accompany the main applicant under the said visa category. The dependants would have to establish their relationship with the main applicant along with it demonstrate they have adequate maintenance funds to support them in the UK without recourse to public funds.

How long you can stay on Innovator visa UK?

The permission for leave to enter under the Innovator visa category is granted for 3 years.

How to extend UK Innovator Visa?

The applicant is required to comply with the extension criteria having 7 options available to choose from, out of which includes 2 requirements to be met at least. An applicant can either evidence £50,000 have been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan or the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for settled workers.

How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the UK Innovator Visa route?

An applicant can apply for ILR from within the UK. They are required to comply with the same extension criteria having 7 options available to choose from, out of which includes 2 requirements to be met at least. An applicant can either evidence £50,000 have been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan or the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for settled workers.

This has to be affirmed on an endorsement letter which must confirm all the details of the applicant, brief of business venture and the requirement the applicant chooses to opt for his ILR application. The applicants are also required to have continually resided in the UK for at least 3 years immediately prior to application and that the applicant has not had combined absences from the UK in excess of 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period.

How to apply to switch to an Innovator visa UK?

An applicant can apply for a switch only from within the UK, if they were not on the following categories on their last grant permission:

  • Visitor
  • Short-term student
  • Parent of a Child Student
  • Seasonal Worker
  • Somestic worker in a private household
  • Outside the Immigration Rules

The applicant is required to evidence endorsement letter confirming business plan and availability of investment funds, provide evidence that they are proficient in English language and have adequate maintenance funds to support themselves.

The applicant is required to submit an online application form and relevant documents along with biometrics submission at centres located in the UK.

UK Innovator Visa refused, what to do next?

If an application for UK innovator visa is refused, the reasons would be cited in the notice of refusal.

Most common refusals are either on the ground of genuineness criteria where the assessing officer has concerns in the applicant’s role in creating and implementing the business plan or if there are reasons to refuse under the general grounds of refusal or suitability requirements are not met completely.

In the event of refusal the applicant gets a right to request for an administrative review online within 28 days at no cost if you are outside the UK and in 14 days if you are in the UK and pay £80.

You can cite the administrative errors made by the assessing officer. The applicant can expect a response by 28 calendar days.

If you want to know more about this visa category or need assistance in your UK Visa application, you can contact us on below given details.
Our UK Innovator Visa Consultants are based in India (Mumbai | Delhi | Chandigarh | Bangalore) & UK catering to client all over world – Dubai, Singapore, USA, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.,