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What is Innovator Visa?

The UK Innovator Visa is a new immigration route that has been established, along with the start-up visa. It has the major aim to encourage skilled foreign citizens from around the world to come to the UK and start their interesting business ideas, which could drive the UK industries and economy into innovation. It is very important to prove that your business is scalable, viable, and innovative to the Home Office and an endorsing body. In the majority of the cases, you will need to have at least £50,000 to invest in your business idea. However, certain exceptions might apply. An Innovator Visa is valid for 3 years and can help you apply for indefinite leave to stay in the UK at the end of the visa period. The visa applicants can also bring their partner and any minor under the age of 18 to the UK.

Eligibility Criteria for the Innovator Visa

If you want to start a new business under the new UK Innovator Visa route, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You should be older than the age of 18

  • You must have access to £50,000 to invest in your new business

  • An approved endorsing body must give your business idea an endorsement in the UK

  • The required funds must remain intact in your bank account for at least 28 days

  • You must have a good command of the English Language to pass the IELTS test

  • You must satisfy certain personal financial requirements of £1,270

How Long Can I Use a UK Innovator Visa?

A UK Innovator Visa has a validity of three days. This time could be used to establish your innovative business in the UK and also bring your family to the country. However, this immigration route won’t automatically lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain. If a visa holder wants to gain the status of settled or citizenship, it is important to look for an extension of the visa. This would again need a business endorsement, which is granted only after the assessment of the growth of the business. If you are given the endorsement, you might again Indefinite Leave to Remain or even citizenship in the UK. However, it is always better to take advice from an immigration expert like Osbourne Pinner to understand the complexities of the requirements of this Visa route.

What is the Difference Between UK Start-up Visa and Innovator Visa?

The Start-up visa is more suitable for the less experienced entrepreneurs who want to start a new business in the UK. In comparison, the UK Innovator visa is suitable for more experienced businesspersons. The following are more differences between the two visa routes;

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    Start-Up Visa

    Innovator Visa

    The applicants don't need to have access to funds for investing in their business.

    The applicants must have access to at least £50,000 for investing in their business.

    The applicants must not have a previous business set in the UK

    The applicants can have a previous business set in the UK.

    The successful visa holders can live in the UK for 2 years.

    The successful visa holders can live in the UK for 3 years.

    The visa holders can bring their family members.

    The visa holders can bring their family members.

    It is possible for them to undertake work outside their business.

    They cannot undertake any work outside of our business.

    This Visa route cannot be extended. They have to switch to another visa.

    This visa route can be extended. However, an endorsement will be required.

    Give Us a Call Today to Start Your Innovator Visa Application!

    Osbourne Pinner can help you meet the demands of the Home Office and endorsement body. We work with our clients with great dedication to developing high-quality business plans.

    Endorsement Criteria for the UK Innovator Visa

    If you want your business to get endorsed by an approved endorsing body, you will need to satisfy the following criteria:

    • Innovation: You must have a genuine, unique business plan that matches the requirements of the new and existing market. It could also create a competitive advantage in the market.

    • Viability: You should have the required skills, experience, knowledge, and market knowledge to successfully sustain your business.

    • Scalability: Your business idea proves structured planning and job creation potential in the country and contributes to the British economy and international markets.

    It is important to satisfy the endorsing body that you will be spending your time developing your business venture in the UK. You will need to show the significant achievements that you have earned after your previous assessment.

    How Long it Takes to Apply for an Innovator Visa?

    It takes around 3 weeks to process a decision for an Innovator Visa application. However, the preparation process for this visa route might take longer because you have to get your business plan endorsed first. The Innovator Visa is given for 3 years and can be extended for 3 years again.

    Extending Your Innovator Visa

    It is possible to extend your visa if you are still working with an endorsed business in the UK or wish to establish a new one. In both cases, as an applicant, you will need to get an endorsement letter from an approved endorsement body and have minimum funds of £50,000 if you are planning to start a new business. These are the additional criteria to extend your innovator visa;

    • You must receive a confirmation from an appropriate endorsement body that they have assessed your business plan for an extension.

    • You must be able to support yourself and your dependents in the UK.

    It is mandatory to include all the dependants in your application for the UK Innovator Visa extension. This will include children that have turned 18 during the initial stay. You can extend the Innovator Visa for three years an infinite number of times.

    Joining an Existing Business

    If you are planning to join an existing business in the UK, then the Innovator Visa is not a suitable category for UK business immigration. However, a new business, which is a part of a joint venture may be acceptable. If you want to apply for an Innovator Visa on the basis of a joint venture agreement, then it is highly recommended to talk to our immigration experts.

    Applying for an Innovator Visa as a Part of a Team

    It is not necessary to be the only founder of your business for the Innovator Visa. You can also be a member of an innovator team. However, each visa applicant must get their own endorsement from an approved endorsement body.


    This team of innovators must have access to investment funds to receive a business endorsement. However, they cannot share the same funding of £50,000. Instead, they must have at least £50,000 investment funds each.

    Application Fee for the Innovator Visa

    The current fee for the UK Innovator Visa is £1,021 if applying from outside the United Kingdom or £1,277 if you are switching from another visa category in the UK.

    Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

    It is possible for businesspersons to apply for ILR in 3 years after entering the country under the Innovator route. However, it is mandatory to provide an endorsement letter to give assurance that your business has been active since the previous endorsement and you have been invested in your business and will continue your efforts even in the distant future.

    Stages of Getting an Innovator Visa

    Innovator Visa
    Submitting the Application for an Endorsement

    Once we determine the most suitable endorsement body for your business plan, we will send an application to receive an endorsement. This will be a challenging process since it will consider your business plan's unique characteristics and potential. We will work hard to highlight the selling point of your business idea.

    Innovator Visa
    Assessment of Your Business and Application

    After the initial visit to our solicitors, we will start an assessment of your application with the help of a dedicated team that will let you about all the potential and risks. If we determine that your application has some potential, we will move forward to the next stage.

    Innovator Visa
    Obtaining the Endorsement

    By satisfying the criteria of the endorsement body, we will receive an endorsement, which is required in the next step to acquire the UK innovator visa. If your application fails to get the endorsement, we will help you understand the shortcomings of your application and discover an alternative endorsement body or reapply. Our immigration expert will finely tune your application.

    Innovator Visa
    Contacting Us

    You give us a call at (insert number) or write us an email at (insert email) to get complete immigration advice from our UK business immigration experts. They will help you to clarify your doubts and carry you smoothly through the entire process.

    Innovator Visa
    Applying for the Visa

    Once you have successfully obtained an endorsement for your business, we will send your entire application.

    Innovator Visa
    Receiving a Decision

    If everything goes according to the plan, you will be given an Innovator Visa to enter the country and establish your innovative business.

    Innovator Visa
    Feedback About Your Business Plan

    To improve your chances of getting endorsed by a recognised endorsing body, we will work dedicatedly to meet the strict criteria of the Home Office and endorsing body.

    Innovator Visa FAQs

    When to apply for the innovator visa?

    We recommend applying for the visa application three months before you intend to travel to the UK.

    Is it possible to apply for the innovator visa without legal assistance?

    Yes, you can apply without legal assistance. However, it is not recommended since UK immigration has become stricter and complicated after the global pandemic.

    Can I still apply for an application if I fail to meet the recruitments for the Innovator Visa?

    There are high chances of your application getting refused if you fail to meet the requirements of the Home Office. They carry out a strict criterion to grant the Innovator Visa to the individual. For a complex, you should consider calling us for legal assistance.

    Do I need to submit £50,000 for the application for Innovator Visa?

    No, you just need to provide evidence that you have possession of £50,000 in a bank account.

    How long will it take to get an innovator visa if the application is successful?

    The decision for the visa application for the Innovator Visa takes around 3 weeks.

    Is it possible to bring dependants with you while applying for an Innovator Visa?

    Yes, it is possible to bring dependants with you. However, you need to pay extra charges for each dependant that you bring to the country.

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