Innovator Visa Application to Start a Business in the UK

Innovator Visa Application to Start a Business in the UK

The UK Innovator Visa Application allows innovators and investors to start businesses in the UK, or simply move to the UK, in 2022 and beyond. The program represents a substantial opportunity for founders, investors, and early employees to get started on their business journey in the UK with the added security of an investor visa. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about applying for the program, as well as some of its key benefits compared to other visa categories such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. First things first: what exactly is the UK Innovator Visa Program? It’s essentially...

What is an Innovator Visa?

The UK government has created a new visa category for high-value entrepreneurs from overseas who have earned at least £50,000 ($70,000) with their innovative business venture. Applicants will be considered for either an extended three-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa or a six-year Tier 1 Investor visa if they qualify for an investment of £200,000 ($270,000).

The latter option is available only to applicants who have previously owned their own business for at least two years. Additional points are awarded if an applicant holds one or more degrees from English universities and can show that he or she has participated in research and development work within these institutions.

About the Innovator visa

The Innovator visa is the replacement for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. It is for the more experienced, proven business entrepreneur who wishes to establish a viable business in the UK with real prospects of growth.

What are the key criteria to obtain an Innovator visa?

  • An original business plan demonstrating innovation
  • Support from an Endorsing Body
  • Business investment from just £50,000
  • An acceptable level of English
  • Adequate maintenance funds (unless exempted)

How long can you stay in the UK?

The duration of your entry clearance is three years. After that, you can apply for ILR (settlement) in the UK. There are various conditions to meet. Visa Kings Global can guide you on the best way to meet these conditions.

Support from the Endorsing Body

This is most vital to the success of your application. It is there to make sure you will bring benefits to the UK economy.

We have worked for six years in the start-up and new business sector as our specialism. Therefore, we have helped to raise millions of pounds for innovator companies and have dealt with venture capitalists and Fund Managers. We understand what they are looking for and we are rare in the immigration field in having that specialized knowledge.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify for an Innovator visa to set up a business in the UK, there are several requirements that you must meet. First and foremost, you will need to have either (1) £50,000 available capital or (2) £200,000 of government support. If your idea is deemed worthy by one of several designated bodies, like Nesta and NESTA or your local Enterprise Agency then they may also be able to offer some funding as well.

Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that your idea has the potential to disrupt/transform/create new markets with excellent growth potential. Finally, if your business idea falls into one of twelve specific categories from space technology to Agri-tech, then you are eligible for streamlined application processing.

How to Qualify

UK business owners and entrepreneurs with at least £50,000 of investment capital may qualify for an Innovator visa. Once approved, you’ll be able to live and work in Britain for three years. To qualify, your proposal must show that you intend to develop or commercialize a new product, service, or process which will generate significant export earnings for Britain.

You can apply for an Innovator visa if you are from one of these non-EEA countries: Australia; Canada; Israel; Japan; New Zealand; Republic of Korea; Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) SAR, China; Taiwan Province of China; United States of America. We offer UK Startup Visas using our extensive network of contacts and expertise. Contact us to start your UK business today! Start Here

Entrepreneur Immigration Solutions (UK)

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) UK immigration scheme was designed for people who want to start a business in Britain. This has recently been rebranded as ‘Immigrant Investor’. Entrepreneurs can now obtain settlement via an innovative residence route, where they will be able to apply after two years of entrepreneurship instead of five.

From April 2017, applicants will also be able to stay on and switch into Tier 1 (General) or other routes if their business is successful or they need to extend their stay because of family reasons. The requirements of each category may vary, so we recommend that you contact us with your specific circumstances and needs before proceeding with your application.

Innovator Visa Requirements

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 in national and international markets.

Preparing for Immigration

Before you can apply for an innovator visa, you'll need to be prepared. The UK immigration application process is lengthy and requires thorough preparation. You'll have to collect several documents, including proof of your education, employment history, English language skills, and bank statements. And while you may have been able to stay put while applying for your US or Canadian visa.

That's not an option when you're dealing with UK immigration officials; they expect applicants to attend their interview in person. But before we go into detail about what it takes to prepare for your innovation visa interview, let's take a look at what constitutes an innovative idea or business plan under UK law. You can find more information here on how to qualify for an innovator entry clearance permit

Applying For a UK Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain)

Applying for a UK settlement has two parts. First, you’ll need to apply for permission to live and work in the UK (this is known as indefinite leave to remain) and, second, you’ll need to apply for British citizenship (if you want it). You don’t have to do both at once—you can decide whether or not you want to pursue citizenship later on. But if you know now that your long-term plans include staying in Britain indefinitely, it’s worth getting started sooner rather than later.

Starting your business in the UK

In general, you'll have to have cash of at least £200,000 and be able to prove that you have access to at least £20,000 more cash. In addition, your family should also be able to support you by having an additional net worth of at least £60,000. You must also show that there is an economic need for your business for it to succeed.

Lastly, you must convince UK authorities that you are likely to make enough money to stay above water and pay taxes. Not all new businesses are created equal—and not all people will qualify for an Innovator Visa either. The first step is determining whether or not your business fits into one of these three categories


You may want to start your own business, but don’t know where to begin. With so many avenues to choose from, making an informed decision is difficult and time-consuming. We have created simple paths that you can use to make your life easier. Use them wisely and they will serve you well. After all, nobody knows your business better than you do! Good Luck!!!