All You Need to Know About Innovator Visa

Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa is specifically required for foreign nationals who wish to establish a new business venture in the United Kingdom. Applying for this type of visa is quite complicated since experienced business personnel is applying for it, and there are strict requirements needed. If you are an American who wishes to apply for this visa, you might need immigration advice US.

If you seek indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, an innovator visa can be a good start. Applicants may also bring their immediate family to the UK to live with them. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for three years, which can be extended for more years once it expires. It may also allow you to settle in the country within two years if the immigration requirement is met.

The innovator visa was only introduced last January 2021. It replaced the Tier 1 visa that became unavailable in 2019.

Requirements That You Need to Submit and Comply

To be eligible, you need to have an existing business from your home country and you should have a well-created business plan since you want to expand your company in the UK. Both the existing business and business plans should be endorsed by an endorsing body that has been approved by the Home Office.

You should also be able to provide a substantial amount of £50,000 to be used as a capital investment in your business, or you already have invested the same amount. This amount may be provided personally by the investor or it can be provided by the endorsing body.

The applicant should be 18 years old and above and have enough personal funds to support their stay in the UK since they are not allowed to use public funds. Before the time of application, your bank account should have £945 apart from the required £50,000.

Like other visa applicants, you should at least have a B2 result in the English language requirement. It includes reading, speaking, and writing in the English language. However, it is only required for foreign nationals who do not use English as their primary language. Applicants who have received a NARIC-recognized qualification that is equivalent to a master’s degree or Ph.D. may also be exempted from this requirement.

How Can Your Business Get Endorsement

Endorsing bodies approved by the Home Court are usually universities or business sponsors. These endorsement bodies will evaluate your business plan and will only interview you once they have considered it. To get an endorsement, the endorsing body looks at three things: innovation, viability, and scalability.

The business plan should be original and can meet the current requirements of its target market or has a higher advantage over its competitors. The applicant should also have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to keep the business running in good condition. Lastly, your business plan will be provided an endorsement if it has structured planning, will be able to create jobs for residents and has seen a potential to reach national and international markets.

There are circumstances where your innovation visa has been approved and you are already staying in the UK but the previously issued endorsement has been withdrawn. If this happens, your visa will be cut short and you need to apply for a new endorsement before the visa lapses.

How to Apply For an Innovator Visa

All visa applications to the UK are done online. If you are applying outside the UK, part of your application will require you to get your fingerprints scanned and a photograph was taken at a visa application center. A specific app from Immigration should be used in scanning identity documents.

If you are planning to bring your immediate family, eligible family members can be included in the visa application.

A decision of approval may come out within 8 weeks for applications filed inside the UK, and within 3 weeks for those filed outside the UK.

Aside from the application fee, applicants are also required to pay a healthcare surcharge.

Once you are issued with an innovator visa, you can set up and work for your business and apply for a permanent residency if you are eligible after three years.


Securing an innovator visa can be your stepping stone to a permanent residency in the US and getting the same benefits regular residents receive. However, it focuses on businesses and investments which require applicants to provide a large amount of money.

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