Start-up and Innovator Visa

Start Up and Innovator Visa

To qualify for a Start-up or Innovator visa there are certain requirements.

If you want to apply for a Start-up visa, you must:

  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Be able to support yourself and any dependents in the UK
  • Be at least 18 years old

In addition to the above requirements, for Innovator visa you will need to:

  • be an established business person with a history of managing a business or businesses; and
  • have at least £50,000 in investment funds available to you.

Your funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and free to spend on business in the UK.

Both innovators and start-up entrepreneurs must have their business idea endorsed, i.e. approved, by one of the authorised organisations. They include investment firms, incubators and accelerators working in various fields and located in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

In order to get endorsed, you must be able to show that your business idea is:

  1. Innovative – a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
  2. Viable – business plan is realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources and you have, or are actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business; and
  3. Scalable – evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets.

The Start-up or Innovator visa allows you to take over the running of one business or more; work for your business, including being self-employed, and bring family members with you. If you apply for the Start-up or Innovator visa you cannot do any work outside your business or receive any public funds.

The earliest time you can apply for the visa is 3 months before you travel and it should be issued in around 3 weeks. There is also a fee and the amount depends on your situation and whether you have any dependents. Our immigration solicitors can provide this information for you before you apply.

You can come to the UK with the Start-up visa for 2 years and you cannot apply to extend it, but you can switch into an Innovator visa. An Innovator visa is granted for 3 years and you can extend it as many times as want for further 3 years. You may also be able to apply for settlement or permanent residence once you have lived in the UK for 3 years on an Innovator visa.

You can switch to a Start-up or Innovator visa if, for example, you are currently studying in the UK on a Tier 4 Student visa or on a business visit. If you meet the above requirements, before your current visa expires, you can apply for a visa and stay for another 2 or 3 years.

Our specialist immigration lawyers will be able to advise and guide you through the complex evidence that is required for the Start-up or Innovator visa. We will be with you every step of the way.

Photograph of businessman on zebra crossing UK Innovator Visa

UK Innovator Visa

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