Apply for Innovator Visa UK

Find out Innovator Visa Eligibility and how Skilled Visa Guide can help you.

For last five to seven years Indian Government and education institutions in India have been supporting Indian start-ups and they must be now reaching a stage where they will receive VC or Angel investor funding.

UK has a right visa for such ambitious entrepreneurs which is called Innovator Visa, which is part of UK's new points-based immigration system.

Innovator Visa is meant for businesses or entrepreneurs globally who are inclined towards starting a business in UK. Innovator visa is suitable for a startup business which is on a growth phase and has received at least £50,000 in funding or when the founder has £50,000 to invest in the business.

To be eligible for the same, the applicants must be endorsed by endorsement bodies with a minimum of £50,000 to invest.

Innovator Visa Eligibility

It has been almost two years now since the launch of Innovator Visa by UK Government in April 2019.

It has replaced Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, which had the investment requirement of £200,000, to motivate individuals start a venture in UK with a minimum investment of £50,000 and backed by an endorsement body.

Innovator visa is granted for for 3 years with a possible extension offered for 3 more years, however you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or permanent settlement at the end of 3 years.

The requirements to qualify for Innovator Visa eligibility are:

  • You need to be a citizen of any country except UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • You must be at-least 18 years old
  • You need to have a minimum of £50,000 to invest in the business.
  • You must have a minimum balance as per financial requirement in your bank account other than investment funds whose source shouldn't be illegal employment.
  • Your business idea should be endorsed by an approved endorsement body from the UK and the endorsement should also not been withdrawn prior to reaching Home Office for consideration.
  • You need to meet knowledge of English language requirement.
  • More than one applicants can be a team of co-directors or co-founders within same organisation by applying for an endorsement but they still should be having at-least £50,000 each to invest In the business and each will need a separate endorsement.

How an Innovator Visa differs from a Start Up Visa?

Start Up Visa is again an entrepreneurial visa meant for aspiring entrepreneurs who are setting up a new and unique business. Please find details about Start-up visa, if you are just setting up a new business based on your idea.

However, unlike Innovator Visa, Start Up Visa is for entrepreneurs less experienced but with a tremendous potential.

Let us just quickly go through the differences between the two.

Start Up Visa

  • Applicants do not need to have funds to invest in a business.
  • No history required of having a business set up in UK in the past.
  • If an application is successful, the applicant can stay in UK for two years, and the visa can't be further extended, however they can switch to Innovator visa or other eligible visa category
  • Applicants can bring family members to stay with them.
  • Can work outside the business venture to support their business financially.

Innovator Visa

  • Applicants do need to have minimum funds of £50,000 to invest in a business
  • You must have an existing business which is now graduating to the innovator stage.
  • If an application is successful, the applicant can stay in UK for three years, and the visa can be further extended.
  • Applicants can bring family members to stay with them.
  • Cannot work outside the business venture to support their business financially.

Innovator Visa Requirements

Innovator Visa do demand a lot of things to be fulfilled to let your application be processed with ease without any rejections.

Creating a well-etched business proposal

Your business proposal should be addressing three things:

Innovation is what your proposal must be having with originality and equally capable of meeting an existing need or creating a new need altogether.

Viability is what you need to showcase by proving you have the right mix of market awareness, knowledge, and skills to run a business.

Scalability is a means to display how good your business is in terms of future job creation and growth in terms of manpower.

Getting a go ahead i.e. endorsement from Endorsing Bodies

Approval of your business idea from endorsement bodies is the key to kick start with your Innovator Visa application wherein you would need an endorsement body to provide you with an endorsement letter.

Your application for endorsement is thoroughly reviewed by these endorsement bodies so as to see whether all three business proposal requirements align with each other or not.

In case if everything is fine, your business approval will be approved, and an endorsement letter would be issued that would be sent to Home Office, mentioning details related to applicant and application.

The endorsing bodies should have well qualified record of supporting entrepreneurs across UK in the past unless they are set up by someone already having a strong proven record.

Furthermore, the endorsing body should have everything outlined such as whether they would be providing investment funds or not, and whether the applicant is all set to invest in business with enough funds or not.

Innovator Visa Documents

The documents could vary based on your current status, yet given below are documents that are a must to get across your application:

  • Travel identification such as a Passport
  • B2 English language test proof if applicable
  • Bank statements with at least £1,270 for consecutive 28 days in your bank account
  • Investment funds evidence with at least £50,000
  • Tuberculosis test results, if applicable

Have all of your documents be translated to English or Welsh,if in case of any other language present.

Do ensure your documents live up to Home Office standards, else they will stand a chance of being rejected automatically.

Innovator Visa Application

As soon as you have gathered the endorsement letter as well as relevant documents, it is time now to apply online, and ensure to apply before 3 months when you intend to travel to UK.

Is it possible to convert any other UK Visa or Switch to Innovator Visa?

Yes, that's possible. If you are already in the UK under any of the categories mentioned below, you just need an endorsement letter from endorsing bodies and fulfill the other eligibility criterion:

  • Start Up Visa
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
  • Any Tier 2 Visa
  • Visitor Visa (if applicant came to the UK to get funding backed by an endorsement body supporting letter)

If you have any other UK visa that allows you to switch to an innovator visa,you should apply well in time before your current visa expires, so that you can continue to stay in UK while your application is under consideration at the Home Office. However, if you have applied for an endorsement, it is not a visa application and hence if your current visa expires you will be considered over stayer in the UK in breach of immigration rules.

Can my family accompany me on Innovator Visa?

Yes, your family members can definitely come along with you on Innovator Visa as dependants given the dependant is:

  • Your spouse
  • Your child under 18
  • Your child over 18 already in UK as a dependant

Ensure to have an additional required amount in your bank account other than financial requirement to pay the visa fee for you and your dependant family. Immigration Health Surcharge must be paid for you and your dependants.

If your dependant already staying in UK, then still the respective current UK Visa could be converted to Innovator Visa, when applied as a dependant child or spouse.

How long it takes an Innovator Visa to process?

For non-UK applicants, the decision can be expected within three weeks.

For UK based applicants, the decision can be expected within eight weeks, which is also applicable in case of dependants no matter where they are based.

However, the decision may take even longer, if Home Office have concerns regarding your application, and hence document verification can turn out to be an iterative process.

Is my biometric verification required?

Yes. You will need to submit fingerprints and photo. This takes place after you book an appointment at UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services after you submit the online application to give your photo and fingerprints.

What does Innovator Visa Application costs?

If you are applying for Innovator Visa for yourself then there would be following costs:

  1. Application fee for Endorsement stage,
  2. Visa Application fee after endorsement is received,
  3. Immigration Health Surcharge which is calculated on per person per year basis,
  4. Visa application fees and HIS payments for your dependant family members

You will also need to have the investable funds of min. £50,000 to invest in the UK business.

These costs keep changing periodically, however we can provide exact details if you contact us.

How long can I stay in UK under an Innovator Visa?

Innovator Visa is valid for 3 years and can be extended on expiry by going through the same process.

If the endorsement for your business has already been done then you need not to show £50,000 to renew your visa for next 3 years.

If you are not eligible to apply for an Innovator visa for the UK, you may be eligible to apply for another UK work visa to migrate to and work in the UK.

Contact us today or drop an email at info @ to get started with your Innovator Visa application for the UK.

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