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If you wish to establish a new business in the UK, you need a UK Innovator visa. This category targets skilled and experienced entrepreneurs who are looking to settle in the country by commencing a new business. Under this route, applicants must display a viable, scalable, and innovative business idea. This idea is supported by the Endorsing Body approved by a Home Office.

About UK Innovator Visa

The UK encourages and supports innovators and entrepreneurs to come to the fantastic European nation and work. In fact, it has opened its doors for such individuals with relevant experience under their belts to set up their businesses and settle in the country. In general, the UK Innovator Visa category is for people who wish to start an innovative business.

The UK innovator visa enables you to stay in the UK with family members for up to 5 years and 4 months. Once you have completed 5 years in the United Kingdom, you can apply for permanent resident status. This visa lasts for three years and it can be extended for three years. In some cases, Innovator Visa holders will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status after 3 years of legal residency in the United Kingdom.

Advantages of the UK Innovator Visa

The following are the advantages of successfully obtaining the UK Innovator Visa:

  • The validity of the UK Innovator Visa is for an initial period of 3 years
  • In certain cases, you will be able to apply for Permanent Resident (PR) status after completing 3 years of stay in the country
  • You will be able to extend your stay in the UK for a period of 3 years for an infinite number of times
  • You will be able to set up one or more operational businesses on a business visa
  • You will be able to work for a business (either as a director or as a partner)
  • You can get your spouse as well as children to accompany you as dependents
  • You will also be traveling to other nations and returning to the country as well on the UK Innovator Visa

Eligibility Criteria to apply for UK Innovator Visa

If you are looking to start a business in the United Kingdom, you must meet the below-mentioned eligibility criteria:

  • The prospective candidate is required to be from outside the EEA and Switzerland
  • The applicant has got to be 18 years of age as a minimum
  • Should have their business idea endorsed by an approved body
  • You are required to make a minimum investment of £50,000 in case you are willing to set up a new business in the United Kingdom, unlike the UK Skilled Worker Visa
  • Must have proficiency and fluency in English
  • They should be able to support themselves and their families as well owing to which they are required to meet certain financial requirements
  • You must mention the funding source
  • You will not need any funds for investment if your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa. Or you have changed your business and have already agreed to it with your endorsing body.

English Language Requirement for UK Innovator Visa

In order to obtain your UK Innovator Visa, you ought to have no less than a B2 level of written and spoken English language proficiency.

  • Being a national of a majority English-speaking country
  • Holding a degree that is deemed by the NARIC for meeting the recognized standard of a degree awarded in the United Kingdom
  • Passing an accredited English language test with no less than CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening

If you have been given prior permission to live in the country as an Innovator, Skilled Worker, or Student Visa holder, there is no need to provide any proof of your English knowledge.

How to apply for a UK Innovator Visa?

Here is a list of steps you need to consider to apply for a UK innovator Visa:

  1. You must create an online profile for submitting your application
  2. You are required to prepare the required documents to get UK Innovator Visa and prove your identity. The following are the documents you need to apply for the visa:
    • A valid passport or it could be any other identity document issued by the government
    • Bank Account statements that can show that you have a minimum of £1270 of savings for 28 days consecutive preceding the application date
    • Documents that can prove that you can meet the requirement of English language proficiency
    • Documents that provide evidence of investment funds to set up a business
  3. Once you have submitted your application you will have to pay the visa fees for each person who is looking to travel to the United Kingdom, which includes the main applicant and all dependents
    • Fees include £1021 if you are applying outside the UK and £1277 if you choose to apply within the UK for an extension

How long does it take to Process a UK Innovator Visa?

Well, for the UK Innovator Visa to even start, the applicant needs to prove their identity and provide the required supporting documents. For doing this, you will be required to have extra time if you require an appointment for getting this done.

Once you have applied online, proven your identity as well as submitted all your documents, you will get a decision within 3 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK. The decision will take 8 weeks if you choose to apply from inside the UK.

Required Supporting Documents to Apply for UK Innovator Visa

Along with your application forms, you are required to provide a genuine copy of one of the following:

  • Bank statements (dated not earlier than 1 calendar month before your request date) or a letter from your bank, confirming that the money is available (for funds held by the applicant)
  • A signed declaration that emphasizes the connection between a candidate and the company, if your fund source is an organization in the United Kingdom.
  • Business accounts that show the amount of money, which has been invested and the accountant’s name (for funds already invested in another business)

If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you are required to attach a full translation. A letter from a legal representative may possibly be needed for confirming all third parties’ permissions to invest the funds in your business idea.

P.S. – You must not forget to attach to your bundle of documents the letter from your endorsement body, which confirms your fund availability.

Can You Settle in the UK on an Innovator Visa?

After living continuously in the UK for 3 years as a foreign investor, you may possibly be able to settle in the country given that you meet no less than 2 of the conditions mentioned below:

  • You have invested as well as spent at least £50,000 in your business
  • Your business has created no less than 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  • Your business has generated gross revenue of no less than £1 million
  • Your firm has engaged in the development activity and has applied for UK intellectual protection
  • The number of your customers has doubled in the last three years before your application for settlement
  • Your business has generated no less than £500,000 in revenue, with at least £100,000 from exporting to a foreign country

Created in April 2019, the UK innovator visa has replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. If you wish to start a business in the UK, you need a minimum of £50,000 to invest in the business. Make sure your business proposal should be endorsed by an endorsing body.

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