The UK government launched a new Innovator visa for overseas entrepreneurs at the end of March 2019. The visa is aimed at more experienced, non-EEA, businesspeople or entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the UK.
Entry clearance requirements
The applicant must be at least 18 years old, pass the English language ability test, at least at level B2, produce a criminal records certificate, and meet the health requirements for a successful entry clearance application.
Evidence of business criteria
Before applying for entry clearance, the business must be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsement body. To be endorsed, applicants must present evidence that it is a new, innovative, viable, and scalable business that they want to set up in the UK.
The business may be in any sector, as long as it is innovative, viable, and scalable.
The applicant must have evidence showing that at least £50,000 is available to invest in the business. The £50,000 can be from the applicant, the endorsing body, or any other source. If the money is not already in the UK, evidence must be provided that the money is freely transferable to the UK.
In addition to the £50,000, applicants must produce bank statements showing that they have had at least £945 for 90 consecutive days in the bank account as maintenance funds.
In addition to the assessment by the endorsing body, the Home Office will make a credibility assessment of the innovator’s application.
The Home Office may request additional information from the applicant or the endorsing body and require the applicant to attend an interview.
Innovator visas are granted for 3 years, after which it may be extended for a further 3 years, or the innovator can apply to settle in the UK permanently.
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