Skip to main content

The innovator visa has been created for experienced business people to launch their own businesses in the UK. Unlike the historic Entrepreneur visa, the innovator route requires you to gain endorsement from a recognised endorsing body in the UK.

If you have plans for a new, innovative, viable, and scalable business that is completely different from anything else out there, this may be the ideal visa option for you.

Setting up a business in a country that you are unfamiliar with can come with its challenges. Along with finding new ideas and making business plans, you need to navigate your way through unknown regulations and legislation which can be daunting.

At The Nathanson Partnership, we provide detailed immigration advice to help you secure your Innovator visa. We take the pressure off by setting out exactly what your next steps should be toward business success so that you can focus on growing.

What Are the Requirements for the Innovator Visa?

Before you make the Innovator visa application, you must show that you can meet the following requirements:

Financial Requirement

You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds that you are able to use to set up the business. You will need to show where you got this funding from.

In addition, you must also have access to at least £1270 that you have held in your bank account for 28 days continuously to prove that you are able to support yourself. This must be separate from your investment funds.

Endorsement Requirement

To qualify as an innovator, applicants are required to obtain endorsement from an approved endorsing body. These include business organisations and higher education institutions.

Endorsement is based on the principle that endorsing bodies are best placed to assess and identify innovative business ideas and talent.

Before you are able to apply for the Innovator visa, you must first apply for an endorsement from an endorsing body on the Home Office list. You can find the list of approved endorsing bodies here.

Each endorsing body has its own criteria and application processes and you must apply through them directly. If you are successful in gaining endorsement, you will be given an endorsement letter to demonstrate that your business idea has been approved and is supported.

The endorsing body must also be satisfied that your business idea is innovative, viable, and scalable.

InnovationYou have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viability – You have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Scalability – There is evidence of structured planning and potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

English Language Requirement

If you are from a country where English is not the main language then you will need to show that you have the required level of English language proficiency which is level B2 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

How Long Can You Stay on the Innovator Visa?

Once you have secured the Innovator visa, you can stay in the UK for 3 years. You have the opportunity to extend your visa as many times as you want provided you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Does the Innovator Visa Lead To Settlement?

After 3 years of being in the UK on the Innovator visa, you will be able to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain).

Innovators should meet at least two of the following requirements:

  • at least £50,000 must have been invested and actively spent, furthering the business plan assessed in the previous application;
  • the number of business customers has doubled and is currently higher than the mean number of customers in comparable businesses in the UK;
  • the business has engaged in significant research and development and has applied for intellectual property rights in the UK;
  • at least £1 million annual gross revenue has been achieved in the last full year of business;
  • at least £500,000 annual gross revenue was generated in the last full year, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas;
  • the business has created the equivalent of 10 full-time jobs for resident workers;
  • the business has created the equivalent of 5 full-time jobs for resident workers with an average salary of £25,000 per year.

In addition, you must also pass the Life in The UK Test and meet the continuous resident requirement of not spending more than 180 days in any 12-month period outside of the UK. Applicants will also need to continue to be endorsed by the endorsing body to qualify for settlement.

How Can The Nathanson Partnership Help You?

At The Nathanson Partnership, we can help you apply for your Innovator visa. The key to your success is to secure an endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

We provide a full Innovator visa service whereby we advise on which endorsing body innovators you should apply to for endorsement, and we will support you throughout the whole process.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment with our qualified and experienced UK immigration advisors.

Contact Our Expert Innovator Visa Immigration Professionals

The Nathanson Partnership is made up of regulated immigration professionals providing immigration advice that is accurate and reliable. We are fully accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which means that we must adhere to high-quality immigration service standards.

We are proud to represent a range of clients and pride ourselves on giving clear, transparent, and practical advice as we understand that the UK immigration system can be confusing. Our experts are well-versed in comprehending the immigration rules and interpreting them to fit our clients’ individual situations.

If you need assistance with your Innovator visa application, our team of specialists are keen to help you.

Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between the Start-up and Innovator Visa?

The Start-up visa is for new entrepreneurs with no business experience that want to set up a new business venture, whereas the Innovator visa is for experienced business people. The Innovator visa leads to settlement, but the Start-up visa does not. The Start-up visa lasts for 2 years whereas the Innovator visa lasts for 3 years. However, for both visas, you will need to be endorsed by an endorsing body.

Can I Work on the Innovator Visa?

Yes, you can work for your business on the Innovator visa as a director, self-employed, or as a member of a business partnership.

Can an Innovator Visa Be Extended?

Yes, you can extend your Innovator visa as many times as you want by 3 years each time. However, in order to be eligible for the extensions you will need to continue to meet the visa requirements.