UK INNOVATOR VISA
The innovator visa is provided to experienced business professionals who are seeking to establish an innovative business in the United Kingdom (UK). The entrepreneur must satisfy the eligibility criteria and other essential requirements to obtain the innovator visa. This visa is valid for the duration of three years and can be extended for a specific duration. The individual can bring dependants to the UK.
The UK innovator visa was introduced in April 2019 as a replacement for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. This visa is issued to an experienced professional who is capable of making a requisite investment in the business.
Suitability for UK Innovator Visa
The innovator visa is suitable for businesspersons who are experienced and have a clear, innovative, viable, and scalable business idea that is endorsed by the endorsing body. The professionals have to provide a strong ground for establishing a business in the UK by fulfiling the required criteria and portraying the business potential of the idea.
The applicant can be the sole founder of the business idea or can apply as a part of the entrepreneurial team. Joint ventures are also eligible to apply for the innovator visa. Any novel business idea irrespective of the sector or domain must be innovative, viable, and scalable.
Who can apply for the UK innovator visa?
An entrepreneur can apply for the innovator visa if:
- One is desirous of setting up a business in the UK, and
- One is having an innovative and unique business idea with a potential for growth, and
- The idea is endorsed by the endorsing body, and
- Eligibility criteria are met
Eligibility Criteria for Applying to UK Innovator Visa
To obtain the UK innovator visa, the applicant must qualify the stipulated eligibility criteria which are as follows:
Requirements for the Proof of English Proficiency
The entrepreneur has to prove that he/she is capable of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English. The applicant must be at level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. The proof of English proficiency can be provided by:
- Qualifying a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from a recognised provider
- Having a:
- General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)- level A, or
- Scottish National Qualification (level 4 or 5), or
- Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, or
- A degree-level academic qualification is required that is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD. A confirmation through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) is needed to apply for the visa
An applicant is not required to provide proof of proficiency in English if he/she is a citizen of any of the following countries, such as Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
Requirements for Supporting Oneself in the UK
The entrepreneur applying for the UK innovator visa must ensure to have at least £1,270 in the bank account for 28 consecutive days in the instances of:
- Applying for an innovator visa, or
- Applying for an extension of innovator visa, or
- Switching to an innovator visa while staying in the UK for less than one year
The applicant is not permitted to use the investment funds for personal support. Moreover, money earned through illegal means in the UK is also not allowed to be used for personal support.
Requirements for Setting Up a New Business
For setting up a new business in the UK, the applicant must have funds worth at least £ 50,000 for investment in the business. It is necessary to provide the proof and source of the funding. The requirement of the fund is not essential in case:
- The business is already established
- The business idea is already endorsed through an earlier visa
- The business is already changed with approval from the endorsing body
As per the stipulated rules for the UK innovator visa, sharing of investment funds with a team is not allowed. Each applicant of the team must have a separate balance of £50,000 for the investment. For instance, if there are four applicants for innovator visas then the total investment fund for the team will be £200,000.
Applying for the UK Innovator Visa
The entrepreneurs must submit their application for the visa online. The application for an innovator visa can be submitted:
- If the applicant is applying from outside of the UK
- If the applicant is applying for an extension
- If the applicant is switching to an innovator visa
Applying from the Outside of the UK
To apply successfully for the innovator visa, the applicants have to complete the online application by providing various documents, such as an endorsement letter, passport, and so on. The dependants of the applicant need to apply separately for the visa.
Applying for the Extension
To apply for the extension of the innovator visa, the applicants must meet the eligibility criteria. The applicants should note that the application for extension must be made prior to the expiration of the current visa. The applicant must have investment funds worth £50,000 if they wish to start a new business. There is no requirement for an investment fund if the business is already established and endorsed. For the extension of the visa, an assessment has to be made by the endorsing body.
Switching to UK Innovator Visa
Applicants who are staying in the UK on a different visa can apply for switching to this visa. The switch can be made before the expiration of the current visa. The switch to this visa cannot be made if the applicant holds any of the below visa or statuses:
- A visit visa
- A short-term student visa
- A parent of a child student visa
- A seasonal worker visa
- A private household visa
- Immigration bail
- Permission to stay out of the immigration rules
Documents Required for Applying for the UK Innovator Visa
To complete the application for the innovator visa, the applicants have to produce various documents. Here are the necessary documents required for the application:
The applicants have to produce their documents in English or Welsh, else a certified translation of the documents has to be provided. The translation must be accurate, dated, include the full name and signature of the authorised official of the organisation, details of the translator and translation company.
The applicants require a blank page in their passports if they are from outside the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, or if they are from EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein but do not have a passport with a biometric chip.
The documents will be kept with the visa authority for verification and check. The applicants need to sign in to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account for scanning the identity document.
Duration of the UK Innovator Visa
The duration of the UK innovator visa is three years. Those who wish to stay longer in the UK can apply for an extension of the validity of the visa. The visa can be extended for three years. Moreover, there is no limit on the number of times of extension. After staying in the UK for three years, one can apply for a settlement.
In case the endorsing body withdraws the endorsement the duration of the visa will be reduced. Nonetheless, the applicant can re-apply with a new endorsement before the expiration of the current visa.
Requirements for the Dependants
The partner and children of the entrepreneur are called the dependants. The dependants have to apply for the visa separately if they are eligible. A husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner, and children could be dependants. The applicants have to provide evidence of the relationship with dependants at the time of application.
For partners, the evidence includes recognition of civil partnership or marriage in the UK. The partners should be living together in a relationship for at least two years. If the children are 16 years old or above then they must live with you, should not be married, or be in a civil partnership, and should be financially supported by the applicant.
To prove the relationship with dependants, several documents have to be provided, such as:
- A bank statement
- Credit card bills
- Driving licence
- NHS registration document
- An official letter from their university or college
The application of dependants has to be submitted separately online. For the application, dependants require the application number of the entrepreneur which is called Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). This number is provided in the emails and letters from the Home Office regarding the application.
The dependents have to make appointments at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide their biometric information and supporting documents. During this period the applicants cannot travel outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man till the decision on the application is provided, otherwise, the application will be withdrawn.
Children who are born in the UK does not become British citizen automatically. The application for the visa has to be made online for the dependant visa. It is necessary to have a dependant visa if the applicant wishes to travel in and out of the UK. For the visa for the child, it is necessary to provide a full UK birth certificate along with the names of both parents.
The dependants require financial assistance to support themselves in the UK. For this, a certain amount must be available to the dependants to support themselves. Along with £1,270, the applicants require £285 for a partner, £315 for one child, and £200 for each additional child. The money has to be in the bank account for at least 28 days before applying.
Changes After Applying for the UK Innovator Visa
If any applicant wishes to make changes t the application, they have to contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The applicant can ask to cancel the application and can receive a refund if the application is not yet processed. The decision on the application will be provided either through email or letter.
Decision on UK Innovator Visa
After successfully applying for the visa, proving the identity and providing the documents, the decision on the visa is provided within three weeks. The applicant will be contacted in case the application is taking longer. The decision will take time if:
- One is applying with a family member who requires an appointment
- Supporting documents requires verification
- There is a requirement for attending an interview
- There are any personal circumstances
Usually, the decision is provided in three weeks for the applicants outside of the UK, and within eight weeks for applicants inside the UK.
Application Fees for the Innovator Visa
The fees for applying for the innovator visa is £1,021 for the applicants outside of the UK, and £1,277 for the applicants inside the UK. For the dependants, the application fee is £1,021 for the applicants outside of the UK, and £1,277 for the applicants inside the UK for each dependant. Along with the fee, healthcare surcharge and £19.20 for biometric information have to be paid.
The application fee is reduced by £55 if the applicants belong to any of the following countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey. The reduction is applicable only to the applicant and not the dependants.
What Can and Cannot Be Done with an Innovator Visa?
After obtaining the UK innovator visa, the visa holder can set up several businesses, work for their own business as a director or a member of a business partnership. The dependants of the applicant can accompany them, visa holders, in the UK, if they are eligible. The visa holder can permanently settle in the UK also called indefinite leave to remain if the entrepreneur has lived in the UK for three years.
The entrepreneurs cannot work outside their businesses. They cannot exercise as professional sportsperson. They are not eligible for availing of most benefits, such as public funds, state pensions, etc.
The applicant is not permitted to use the investment funds for personal support. Moreover, money earned through illegal means in the UK is also not allowed to be used for personal support.Our Guarantee:
- We co-develop your business idea and present it to the endorsing body. To Start the process, an initial deposit of £1500 is required upfront.
- Once the endorsement body approves the business idea, our team of experts would progress with the networking and guidance stage for the business plan for which you would be invoiced £3500.
- Once your Start-up has secured endorsement, we bill the final deposit of £3500 in the final invoice and ensure delivery of endorsement.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified legal or immigration expert. If you require any specific legal or immigration advice, you can seek the service by filling in the contact us form here. All rights reserved.