Do you have a new, innovative, viable and scalable business idea? The new Innovator Founder visa may help you establish a business presence in the UK as an individual or as part of a team.
The new Innovator Founder visa route commenced from 13 April 2023, this coincided with the end the Start-Up visa and the previous Innovator route. The route no longer has a requirment of having access to at least £50,000 to invest into the business however you must be able to establish funds for establishing and growing the business. The endorsing body may carry out due diligence on the source of the funds. The Home Office have provided a route for those wanting to set up and run an innovative business in the UK, essentially your idea must be different from anything else on the market. The businesses or business idea will need endorsement from an approved endorsing body and the individual / individuals will be required to meet the eligibility requirments for this route.
The business idea must be able to satisfy all the following elements:
What are the stages to applying for an Innovator Founder visa:
The business idea or business must be assessed by a Home Office approved endorsing body to confirm you meet the above criteria is met.
The endorsing body will provide you with an endorsement letter if the business is eligible. There is a requirment to remain in contact with the endorsing body each year to show the business is making progress. Notably, endorsement can be withdrawn.
When you apply you need to provide an ‘endorsement letter’ to show that an endorsing body has assessed your business or business idea.
Submit an online application with the required supporting documents.
What can you do with an Innovator Founder visa:
You are permitted to set up a business or several businesses.
You can work for your business - this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership.
You cannot work as a professional sportsperson or apply for benefits or the State Pension. You can also not switch to an Innovator Founder visa if you are in the UK on a visit visa; short-tern student visa, Parent of a Child Student visa; seasonal worker visa; domestic worker in a private household visa; immigration bail or given permission to stay outside the immigration rules.
Applying for an Innovator visa
Other requirments which must be met are:
Identity - a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality.
Age - be at least 18 years old.
Knowledge of English - to read, write, speak, and understand English to a level B2.
Financial Requirment - prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK, this cannot be money from the investment funds or money earned while working in the UK illegally. You need to have had at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply for an Innovator Founder visa from outside the UK or if you are applying from within the UK to extend your Innovator Founder visa or switch to an Innovator Founder visa and you have been in the UK for less than a year.
Tuberculosis test - provide valid tuberculosis test results if have lived in a country for more than 6 months for which this requirment is applicable.
Alternative visa routes to explore if you cannot meet the criteria for an Innovator Founder visa:
If you would like further information about the Innovator Founder visa or would like to explore alternative visa routes, please contact our Immigration team.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.