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UK Innovator Visa
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UK Innovator Visa

Updated: 9 April, 2024

Our London based immigration lawyers can assist you in making a successful UK innovator visa application.

As the world’s fifth-largest economy, Britain has always attracted the best and brightest businesspeople. It is, therefore, understandable, that so many businesspeople worldwide are attracted to the UK market.

In early 2019, the UK government replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa with the Innovator Visa and the Start-up Visa.

This route is for experienced businesspeople who are looking to start a new business in the UK and are able to demonstrate an innovative, viable and scalable business idea.

While this new route has a lower investment requirement, it has a higher standard in respect of the qualifying business idea than its predecessor, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.

There are other routes that might be more suitable for you, such as Sole Representative of Overseas visa, Investor Visa, etc.

Our Top Immigration Lawyers Will Provide Innovation Visa Guidance

At RVS Solicitors we have a team of top immigration lawyers who we can assist you in making a successful application for an Innovator Visa.

In addition, we will work with you through the process leading to Settlement and British Citizenship.

Read our client testimonials. Learn about our team of skilled lawyers. Contact us today.

Innovator Visa: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is an Innovator Visa?

The Innovator route is, in essence, the replacement for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. It came into force in March 2019, as the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route was closed.

This route has been designed to minimise the risk of granting leave to remain to those who are either not genuine entrepreneurs or have a business idea that is of a low economic value for the country.

To achieve this, the rules in respect of Innovator visa are a lot more rigorous than it was the case for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.

It is absolutely imperative for a prospective applicant to understand what the criteria of assessing the business is under this category, as not all business ideas will qualify.

Our experienced team is able to make an initial assessment of your business idea and advise you on the merits of your application.

Where we would consider that the business idea needs further developing in order to pass the high threshold of this route, we are able to introduce you to our network of professionals who would be able to assist you in respect of that as well.

How can I get an Innovator Visa?

To succeed under this route, you will need to demonstrate the following:

  • provide a business idea that will be assessed on the following three merits:
  • Innovation – your business idea must be original.  You will need to provide a business plan which proves your idea meets an existing market need or provides a competitive advantage.
  • Viability – you need to show you have the required experience, skills, knowledge, and commercial acumen to run the business.
  • Scalability – evidence of a clear growth strategy and job creation possibilities must be provided.
  • The business idea will need to be assessed and then endorsed by a specialist body known as Endorsing bodies. You will be required to provide a proof of the same.
  • Proof of £50,000 of investment funds available to invest in the business.
  • Proof you can speak English to a B2 level.
  • You are able to maintain yourself and any dependents applying with you.

What is an Endorsement and who can be an Endorsing body?

The Endorsement will take a form of a letter and come from the authorised Endorsing body. The Home Office maintains a list of Endorsing bodies who are authorised to consider applications from the potential migrants in respect of the Innovator visa endorsement.

These are normally businesses that deal with assessing and supporting start-up businesses, such as business accelerators, incubators etc.

How to get Endorsement for an Innovator Visa:

To obtain an endorsement for your innovator visa, you will need to reach out to the endorsing bodies who are authorised to issue an endorsement for this visa category.

For a successful outcome, it is essential to be well prepared before you reach out to the endorsing body. You will need to have a very clear vision of what business you intend to do, how much you are able to invest in the business and what kind of support you might require in developing it.

Furthermore, you will need to research and understand the speciality of each endorsing body and assess whether your business idea and the action plan match with their profile. This task can be quite daunting.

Our legal team is well versed in all business visa applications and over the years they have developed a keen understanding of all aspects involved in business immigration.

We will be able to support you from day one, including with finding an endorsement and preparing your application. Where required, we also have an extensive network of professionals that can support your application from the perspective of planning your business and its development.

Will I be able to get an Indefinite Leave to Remain?

The innovator route not only allows you to settle in the UK, but it is one of the shortest routes towards settlement for those who have truly valuable business ideas.

The settlement can be achieved in as little as 3 years, provided the requirements for Indefinite Leave are met. The requirements for achieving Indefinite Leave to Remain can be quite difficult and it is important to work with your immigration legal advisers from the very beginning to ensure that you are able to meet those requirements.

In the event where the requirements to settle are not met, you will have the option of extending your Innovator leave, provided that you can secure endorsement for a new business idea or your endorser confirms your business has shown significant achievements judged against your initial business plan.

What are the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain via the Innovator Visa route?

The Innovator Visa can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if at least two of the following requirements are met:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested into your business and actively spent furthering the business plan when you applied for an extension.
  • Your customer-base has at least doubled within the most recent three years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.
  • Your organisation has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
  • Your business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year.
  • Your business generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.
  • Your business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers.
  • Your organisation has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, with an average salary of at least £25,000 a year

Can I bring family members to the UK on an Innovator Visa?

Dependent family members can join you in the UK.  A dependent is defined as your spouse or partner and children under 18 years.

How we can help with your Innovator Visa application:

Our business immigration Solicitors will provide clear, practical advice to you and your family on applying for an Innovator Visa.  If achieving Settlement in the UK is your ultimate goal, we will work with you throughout the life of your visa to ensure you achieve your ambitions.

Our business immigration team is made of the best immigration lawyers, who are also supported by top professionals from different areas, such as business development consultants, accountants, Intellectual Property specialists etc, who will be able to assist you in your journey of relocating to the UK and settling here.

Contact our team of London business immigration lawyers to discuss how we can assist you in your immigration matter. For a free assessment call our specialist immigration solicitors on 020 3372 5125 or complete our online enquiry form. Visit our fees and timescales page for more information. 

To read more about similar issues please visit our blog or read on how we have helped others in similar circumstances by visiting our success stories

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UK Innovator Visa
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UK Innovator Visa
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