Innovator Visa

The route for experienced entrepreneurs.

Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa is a visa category aimed at experienced businesspeople to set up or run an innovative business in the UK.

Innovator visa requirements 

You may be eligible for this visa if you are not a national of the European Economic Area EEA and Switzerland and you want to set up or run a business in the UK.

The investment requirement is £50,000 and you will need to be endorsed by an approved body.

If you already have a business established in Britain and you have been endorsed for an existing UK visa, no minimum investment funds are required.

The UK Innovator Visa replaces the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category, which closed on 29 March, 2019.

Endorsement criteria

UK immigration rules specify the following requirements to be eligible for the Innovator Visa:

  • Innovation – Proof of a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
  • Viability – Applicants must be able to demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, plus market awareness, to run a business competently.
  • Scalability – Evidence of structured planning and the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

Those endorsing your Innovator Visa application must also be ‘reasonably satisfied that you will spend much of your working time in Britain developing business ventures,’ in accordance with UK immigration rules.

How long does an innovator visa last? 

You can stay for three years if you enter the UK on an Innovator Visa or if you switch to the visa from another valid UK visa.

You can apply to extend your visa for another three years when it is due to expire. There is no limit on the number of times you can extend.

After five years, you could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (UK settlement).

How to apply for the Innovator visa?

You can only apply for the Innovator Visa, online. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying.

You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Innovator Visa UK application.

The earliest you can apply for an Innovator Visa is 3 months before you travel.

It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.

To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement.

Read more about: