Innovator Founder Visa UK

Are you an innovative entrepreneur seeking to establish and operate a pioneering business in the United Kingdom? If your business idea is distinct and groundbreaking, you may be eligible for the Innovator Founder Visa. This visa, formerly known as the Innovator Visa, is designed for individuals whose business or business idea has received endorsement from an approved endorsing body. At Garth Coates Solicitors, we’re here to guide you through the application process, ensuring that you meet all eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Innovator Founder Visa, your business idea must meet the following criteria:

  1. Novelty: Your business idea must be entirely new and not involved in existing trade.
  2. Innovation: Your business concept should demonstrate originality and offer something unique compared to current market offerings.
  3. Viability: Your business plan must be viable, with the potential for growth.
  4. Scalability: Your business plan should outline a growth strategy that includes job creation and expansion into both national and international markets.

You will need an endorsing body to assess your business idea and confirm that it meets these requirements.

Knowledge of English

Proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite for this visa category. You must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English. Typically, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language skills as part of your application.

Duration of Stay

The Innovator Founder Visa allows you to stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years. During this time, you will be required to meet with your endorsing body after 12 and 24 months to demonstrate the progress of your business. Your visa may be shortened or revoked if your endorsing body withdraws their endorsement. To extend your stay, you must reapply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.

If you wish to remain in the UK for an extended period, you can apply for further visa extensions, and there is no limit to the number of times you can extend. After 3 years in the UK, you may become eligible for settlement (indefinite leave to remain).

Application Process

The application for the Innovator Founder Visa must be submitted online. The process varies depending on your current location and circumstances, whether you are outside the UK, extending your current visa within the UK, or switching from a different visa category.

Your family members, including your partner and children, may also apply to join you in the UK as dependents if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Processing Times and Fees

The processing times for visa applications can vary. Typically, you can expect a decision within:

  • 3 weeks if you’re applying from outside the UK.
  • 8 weeks if you’re applying from within the UK.

Expedited processing may be available for an additional fee, depending on your location.

Fees for the Innovator Founder Visa depend on your specific situation and where you are applying from. You must also pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

What You Can Do

With an Innovator Founder Visa, you have the freedom to:

  • Establish one or more businesses.
  • Work for your business, including employment as a director or self-employment in a business partnership.
  • Engage in skilled work outside your business.
  • Bring your eligible partner and children to the UK as dependents.
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK.
  • Apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after residing in the UK for 3 years and meeting other eligibility requirements.

What You Cannot Do

There are certain limitations to the activities you can engage in with an Innovator Founder Visa. You are not allowed to:

  • Work as a professional sportsperson or coach.
  • Apply for most public funds or the State Pension.

Endorsement Requirement

Before applying, your business or business idea must be assessed by an endorsing body, which will provide an endorsement letter if your business is deemed eligible. Additionally, you must meet the English language requirement, be at least 18 years old, and demonstrate sufficient personal savings to support yourself while in the UK.

If you are setting up a new business, you’ll need to show proof of funding. However, no investment funds are required if your business is already established and endorsed for a previous visa or if you’ve altered your business concept and obtained endorsement.

Supporting Yourself

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying for the Innovator Founder Visa or when applying to extend or switch to it if you’ve been in the UK for less than a year. Money from investment funds or earned through illegal work cannot be used to support yourself.

Additional Requirements for Your Partner and Children

Your partner and children can apply to join you or remain in the UK as your dependents, but they must meet specific criteria. Evidence of your relationship with your dependents will be required.

Your partner must either be in a recognized civil partnership or marriage or have lived with you in a relationship for at least 2 years at the time of application. Children must live with you unless they are in full-time education away from home.

Your partner and children must also demonstrate that they have the necessary funds to support themselves in the UK.

Applying From Outside the UK

If your partner and children are applying from outside the UK, they can apply online, but each family member must submit a separate application and pay the visa fee.

Applying From Inside the UK (Extending or Switching)

If you are extending or switching your visa within the UK, your partner or child’s current visa will remain valid until its original end date. They can apply either at the same time as you or before their current visa expires.

Children Born in the UK

Children born in the UK while you are in the country do not automatically become British citizens. You must apply online for their dependent visa if you plan to travel in and out of the UK with your child.

Rights and Restrictions

Your partner or child will have the right to work and study in the UK but will not be eligible for most public funds or the State Pension. A full list of what they can and cannot do will be provided if their application is successful.

Extending Your Visa

You can typically apply to extend your Innovator Founder Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and are actively operating a business in the UK or intend to set up a new one. It’s important to note that your partner or child’s visa will not automatically extend, and they must apply separately if they wish to continue staying in the UK.

Biometric Information

As part of your application process, you may be required to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This is to obtain a biometric residence permit, which is necessary for your stay in the UK.

Contact Us

Garth Coates Solicitors is here to assist you in navigating the complexities of the Innovator Founder Visa application process. Our team of immigration experts is dedicated to helping you achieve your business goals in the UK. If you have any questions or require guidance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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.