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July 23, 2021

UK Innovator Visa Explained

The Innovator visa is for experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK. In most cases, the applicant will need to have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business. Mann’s Solutions team prepared answers to the most common questions regarding the Innovator Visa.

1. Should I apply for the Innovator or Start-up category?

Our immigration advisers will help you with the right decision, as the right category will depend on your current circumstances and long-term goals in the UK. To make things clear, the Innovator route has a quicker route to settlement, however will require initial funding of at least £50,000. On the other hand, the Start-up route has a lower threshold for entry but allows more flexibility as individuals in this category are permitted to take other employment while their business gets up and running.

2. Is there an investment funds requirement?

The investor will need to have at least £50,000 available to invest in UK business and may rely on their own savings or funding provided by the endorsing body. However, the requirement to have a ‘viable’, ‘scalable’ business idea means that the investor may need to have more than £50,000 available for the investment. 

3. What do I need to know about Endorsing Bodies?

The Home Office has a list of endorsing bodies for Innovator visa applications that contains the names of all currently approved Innovator visa endorsing bodies, as well as links to their websites. To apply for a visa, the applicant will need to be endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body, Venture Capital Firms via submitting a business plan with the relevant idea, which is innovative, viable, and scalable.

Our immigration advisers can assist applicants to identify an appropriate endorsing body and then prepare a strong application for endorsement which demonstrates their business idea is innovative, viable, and scalable

4. Which endorsing body should I apply to?

The right endorsing body for your application will depend on your individual case and requirements. What needs to be considered is the field in which your business will operate, the timing of the application, location, and what support the business may require.

5. What documents have to accompany the endorsement letter?

For a new business endorsement, the endorsement letter must include the following documents:

– The endorsing body name

– Endorsement reference number

– Date of issue must be no earlier than the three months before the date of the application

– Applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality, and passport number

– Short description of the proposed business venture, products, and services it will provide

– Name and contact details of someone within the endorsing body who will certify the contents of the endorsement letter to the Home Office

– Proof the business is innovative, viable, and scalable as set out in the part W6 of Appendix W in the Rules

– Satisfy the endorsing body that the applicant will devote their entire working time to the UK developing business ventures

 6. Are there any restrictions regarding the business the investor can set up?

Your business idea may relate to any sector, provided the business idea is sufficiently innovative, viable, and scalable. Applicants can also develop other businesses as well as their main business idea.

7. How long will be valid Innovator visa once approved?

The initial Innovator visa will be granted for 3 years.

8. Will I be able to apply for ILR?

The investor will be able to extend an Innovator visa for periods of 3 years initially. There is no maximum time limit in the Innovator category. Moreover, visa holders will be able to apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain) after spending 3 years in the Innovator visa category.

9. Are there any residency requirements for ILR application?

To qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) the applicant has to spent not more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period, during the last 3 years prior to the application.

About Innovator Visa

UK Innovator Visa is a popular choice among our clients who want to start a business in the UK and settle within 3 years. The innovator visa category is designed for experienced businesspersons who have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business, but certain exceptions apply. To start the company, applicants will need to have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea that has to be approved and supported by an endorsing body.

What do you need to know?

Applicant’s partner and any children under the age of 18 may accompany or join them as dependents. Applicants can be the sole founder of their business and they can be a member of an innovator team. Each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an approved endorsing body, in order to satisfy the investment funds required for a new business endorsement, each applicant must have at least £50,000 investment funds each.

Contact our Immigration Lawyers – UK Business and Corporate Visas

Mann’s Solutions is an international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong, and Moscow. We are specialized in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers are regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) and IMC (Investment Migration Council).

For further information or to discuss your circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration lawyers in London Office, please contact us at or call +44 207 993 63 46.

Photo by Mike Stezycki on Unsplash