The Home Office aims to encourage non-EU entrepreneurs to invest in the UK, create jobs, and boost the British economy. This category is for more experienced business people seeking to establish a business in the UK.

Migration pathway

innovator visa english

Advantages of being an Innovator Entrepreneur in the UK

1. English language requirement

2. Little investment funds required

  • You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business. You do not need funds if your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa
  • You can form a team with other innovator applicant, but business partners are no longer able to share the same investment funds in Innovator visa (as they would have been able to do under Tier 1 Entrepreneur route).
  • The team must have £50,000 for each innovator applicant.

3. Diverse choice of investment

  • You want to set up or run a business in the UK – you need to have your business or business idea endorsed by Home Office approved endorsing body.
  • The applicant must not do any work outside of your business, and could only work for the business includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership.
  • After 3 years, Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further 3 years or to settle permanently in the UK. There is no maximum time limit placed on applicants to remain in the UK under this category, but endorsement will be required at the extension and settlement stages.

4. Short waiting time

  • You will get a decision within 30 working days
  • If your documents are complete, it could take as quick as 1 month

5. One applicant needed for family settlement

  • The main applicant can bring their partner and their children below 18 to the UK
  • When you meets the eligibility requirements, their whole family can apply for settlement
Applicants can switch from the following categories:
  • Start-up
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2
  • Visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur
Living in the UK

Your partner and your children below the age of 18 can apply as your dependents to stay with you in the UK. Your children can receive free public education in your residential area. If you prefer to send them to private schools, you can do so but it will not be free of charge. Your family and you will be entitled to free NHS health care, but you can always purchase private medical insurance if that is what you prefer.

During your initial 3 years on a Innovator visa, we will keep a close eye on your circumstances and will inform you of any amendments to the immigration rules that might affect you. We will further assist you on your application for extension when the time comes. We suggest that you work with the same immigration law firm for the entire 3-year period before you obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is because the law firm will have grasped a complete understanding of your circumstances by the time you need an extension of leave. At the same time, you will have had positive experience of visa approvals with your chosen company, which will give rise to mutual trust and familiarity. If you choose to switch representatives before your visa extension, that would mean a start from scratch, which would bring unnecessary risk and burden to your application. This is the reason why most of our clients choose to stick with us for the entire 3-year period until they get their Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Our work
  1. Once you have officially appointed us as your legal representative, we will bridge the gap between you and a visa. We will fill in the online application form and check the sufficiency and validity of all your documents. We will inform you if we need anything further from you.
  2. You will also need to submit a business plan. If you want, we can provide you with a questionnaire to assist you in writing it up. You may write your plan in Chinese for us to translate into English, or alternatively, if you feel comfortable enough, you can write it in English and we can proof read it for you.
  3. We will also write a letter of legal representation that is tailored to individual customers, and submit that along with the complete application to the British Consulate-General in your country.
  4. We will then follow it up closely with the Consulate-General to ensure they review your application in line with the Home Office guidance. In some cases, your application may be sent to the Home Office for review. If that happens, we will stay in touch with the responsible caseworker who will discuss with us any uncertainty they may have regarding your application.
Waiting time

In general, it takes around 3 months to prepare your application. Once it has been submitted, you should receive a decision within 4 to 8 weeks. If your case is complex or if the Consulate-General requires more documents, it could take slightly longer.

Application procedure

If your family and you are interested and wish to appoint us as your legal representative, then we would be grateful if you could provide us with the following documents:

  1. Copies of you and your family’s passports
  2. Bank statement showing you have £50,000 or more in savings
  3. Your personal history, proof of bank account
    • If you are married and your spouse is coming with you, you will need proof of marriage
    • If you have dependent children and they are coming with you, you will need their birth certificates
  4. Proof of you meeting the English language requirement of at least a ‘5.5’ in IELTS

Different customers have different requirements, and some may not be willing to disclose confidential documents. Therefore, we strongly advice our clients to let us know what they want, what they cannot disclose, and what we should pay special attention to, before we hit the ground running. This would then allow us to do our job efficiently and properly.

Settlement success criteria

Endorsing bodies must confirm in their endorsement letter that an applicant has achieved at least 2 of the following:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement
  • The number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products and services
  • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  • The business has generated a minimum annual revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts
  • The business is generating a minimum annual revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses)

Our lawyers can speak Mandarin, English, Cantonese and Malay fluently. If and when you decide to appoint us as your legal representative, we will communicate with you in your preferred language.

We sincerely hope that the information above has helped you understand more about investment immigration and the services we offer.

Should you have further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)20 7253 6888 by phone or by e-mail. We will endeavour to provide you with the highest standard of service!