Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa provides entry to the UK for talented, experienced entrepreneurs who wish to establish a business in the country.  

As the world’s fifth-largest economy, in 2019, the World Bank rated Britain eighth out of 190 nations when it comes to ease of doing business.  And despite the challenges of Covid-19, the UK tech sector continues to attract billions of pounds in investment.

As a niche, London-based immigration law firm, we can assist you through the entire life-cycle of the Innovator Visa – from the initial application through to applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.  Our business immigration team will spend time understanding your business and your personal circumstances.  Our advice will help you to build a robust, successful application.

What are the eligibility requirements of an Innovator Visa?

To obtain an Innovator Visa you must be endorsed by an approved Endorsing Body.

Every application is measured against the following three requirements:

  • Innovation – is the business idea original, and is there a business plan available that shows the venture meets an existing market need or is a legitimate competitor in a particular sector?
  • Viability – does the applicant have the required skills, experience, and knowledge of the UK market to make the business a success?
  • Scalability – is there substantial proof that the proposed business can grow and create genuine employment in the UK and international markets?

Our team will help structure your application to evidence these three factors.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • You must have £50,000 of investment funds available.
  • You need to speak English to a B2 level. 
  • You need to show you have at least £945 in your bank account and these funds must have been available at least 90 days before you apply.

Documents you will need to include in your application are:

  • A letter from the endorsing body, stating how your business meets the merits of innovation, viability, and scalability.  
  • Bank statements proving you have the required £945 and £50,000 available.
  • Your passport or a valid travel document.
  • A business plan that demonstrates how you meet the endorsement criteria.

Can I switch to an Innovator Visa?

You can switch to an Innovator Visa from any of the following visa categories:

  • Start-up Visa
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Any Tier 2 Visa
  • Standard Visitor Visa – if you came to the UK to obtain financing and had a supporting letter from an approved endorsing body

You will receive a decision on your application within eight weeks.

Can I bring family members to the UK with me?

You can bring your dependent family members to the UK.  Dependent family members are defined as your spouse or partner and any children under the age of 18 years.  You need to show proof of £630 in funds per dependent.  This is on top of the £945 you need to have to support yourself for the first month or so of your stay.  You must keep the funds to support yourself, and the £50,000 of investment funds separate, as you will need to show that the latter has been fully invested in your business should you wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Can I apply for Settlement?

The Innovator Visa provides a route to Settlement, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.  

To qualify, you must:

  • Have completed three years on an Innovator Visa (time spent on the Start-up Visa will not count).
  • Speak English to the required level.
  • Pass the Life in the UK Test.
  • Have spent not more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period during the three years prior to the date of application.

Furthermore, you need to satisfy at least two of the requirements below:

  • The entire £50,000 has been invested in the business.
  • Your business has created at least five full-time jobs for Settled workers that pay a minimum of £25,000 per year.
  • Your business has created at least ten full-time jobs for Settled workers (no minimum salary required).
  • You have doubled your customers in the last three years, and the number of customers you have is higher than the mean number of customers offering the same sort of product or service.
  • Your organisation has undertaken significant research and development, and you have applied for intellectual property protection.
  • Your business generated a gross revenue of £1 million-plus in the last full year covered by the company accounts.
  • Your company generated a gross revenue of £500,000-plus in the last full year covered by its accounts, together with at least £100,000 from overseas exports.

Our expert immigration solicitors can provide the advice, representation, and support you need to obtain an Innovator Visa successfully.  Our founding partner, Garth Coates, spent many years working in the Home Office as an Immigration Caseworker.  This experience has given him a unique understanding as to what immigration decision-makers are looking for when approving visa applications.

Established in 2008, Garth Coates Solicitors is a leading Law Firm in Immigration who can provide professional legal advice to ensure that your Application satisfies the strict requirements of the Immigration Rules

Our team of legal professionals offer comprehensive and considered advice to enable our clients to make informed choices. We strongly believe that our clients deserve the best; we take our responsibilities very seriously to ensure that client satisfaction is achieved by providing a professional yet friendly legal service. We aim to resolve all immigration matters brought to us by working diligently and together with the client, keeping them informed of the progress of their case at all stages. Our outstanding success rate is maintained thanks to the high standard of our work.

If you would like us to assist you with your Immigration Matter, kindly click here to leave us an Enquiry. Alternatively, we can be reached via telephone at (00 44) (0)20 7799 1600 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (UTC+00.00 London) every Monday to Friday.