UK Innovator Visa Overview and Eligibility

The UK Innovator Visa is a special category of visa introduced for experienced professionals and entrepreneurs looking to establish innovative businesses in the UK. A minimum investment of £50,000 is required under the scheme, alongside endorsement from an officially recognised body.

Obtaining endorsement is often the most challenging part of the process – call Aristone Solicitors anytime to discuss eligibility criteria or any aspect of the application process.

Eligibility For a UK Innovator Visa

Under the current terms of the programme, you may be considered eligible for a UK Innovator visa if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are not a national of the European Economic Area EEA and Switzerland.
  • You intend to set up or run a business in the UK, which as part of the application process will be endorsed by an officially recognised body.

Note: Evidence must be provided of a minimum of £50,000 in investment funds, which is significantly less than the £200,000 under the equivalent entrepreneur visa scheme.

As of March 29, the UK Innovator Visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category, which is no longer operational. In the official text published by the UK government, the new UK Innovator Visa category was established to provide:

“A route for more experienced businesspeople looking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. With some exceptions, applicants will have funding to invest in their business. This category may lead to settlement in the UK.”

Innovator Visa Requirements

The new UK Innovator Visa is subject to new requirements and qualification criteria, including the following primary considerations:

  • Innovation – You must be able to provide evidence of an original and credible business plan, which either creates a competitive advantage or meets the needs of a new or existing market.
  • Viability – The viability of the business must also be clearly demonstrated, assessed by way of the skills, knowledge, experience and track-record of the applicant.
  • Scalability – An assessment will be carried out into the potential for the business to create new jobs and expand into new markets at home and abroad.

If you’d like to learn more about the primary qualification criteria under the new UK Innovator Visa scheme, contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today.

UK Residence and Leave to Remain

Upon being granted a UK Innovator Visa or switching from a different visa to the new Innovator Visa, you will be granted three years of leave to remain.

This can subsequently be extended for another three years prior to its expiration, with no limits having been placed on the number of times a UK Innovator Visa can be extended.

After remaining in the UK for five consecutive years, you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain, upon meeting all necessary criteria.

Applying for an Innovator Visa UK

All applications for UK Innovator Visas must be submitted online, ideally under the supervision of an experienced legal advisor. However, you will need to have your photograph and fingerprints taken at a UK visa application centre in your home country, which will be submitted as part of your application.

Note: Applicants from North Korea are not able to apply online – call Aristone Solicitors to discuss the process of applying for an UK Innovator Visa from within North Korea.

Your UK Innovator Visa application must be submitted no earlier than three months before you intend to travel to the UK. In addition, it’s important to note that it takes at least three weeks (often longer) for a decision to be made.

In terms of endorsement, your application must be endorsed by one of the following officially recognised bodies.

According to current UK immigration rules, the body that endorses your application should be ‘reasonably satisfied that you will spend much of your working time in Britain developing business ventures.’

Please also note that a UK Immigration Health Surcharge is also payable by all UK Innovator Visa holders, which currently stands at £400 per year for the duration of the visa.

Call Aristone Solicitors

At Aristone Solicitors, our decades of combined experience supporting all types of visa applications could prove invaluable for your business. Whether ready to go ahead with an application or simply considering a future move into the UK, we’re standing by to take your call. Contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today for an obligation-free initial consultation.

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