UK Innovator Visa Overview and Eligibility
The UK Innovator Visa is a UK visa category usually for experienced business people to set up an innovative business. The investment requirement is £50,000 and you need to be endorsed by an endorsing body.
You’re eligible for this visa if:
- You are not a national of the European Economic Area EEA and Switzerland.
- You want to set up or run a business in the UK*. To set up or run a business in Britain your business or business idea must be endorsed by an approved body.
*If you want to set up a business in the UK, you must have access to £50,000 (reduced from the £200,000 usually needed for a UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa) in investment funds. If you already have a business established in Britain and you have been endorsed for an existing UK visa, no minimum investment funds are required.
UK immigration rules specify the following requirements to be eligible for the Innovator Visa:
- Innovation – Proof of a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
- Viability – Applicants must be able to demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, plus market awareness, to run a business competently.
- Scalability – Evidence of structured planning and the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.
Stay in the UK
You can stay for three years if you enter the UK on an Innovator Visa or if you switch to the visa from another valid UK visa.
You can apply to extend your visa for another three years when it is due to expire. There is no limit on the number of times you can extend.
After five years, you could be eligible to apply for settlement.
Applying for an Innovator Visa UK
You can only apply for the Innovator Visa, online. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Innovator Visa UK application. If you live in North Korea, you cannot apply online.
The earliest you can apply for an Innovator Visa is 3 months before you travel. It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.
To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement.