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Innovator Visa & Start Up

UK Immigration under the Points Based System

Apply for a UK Innovator Visa or a Start Up Visa

These visas are both designed for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in the UK and run it. The Start-Up visa is designed more towards new or less experienced entrepreneurs and the requirements are in some ways less onerous than those for the Innovator visa, which is designed for the more experienced type who already has good financial backing. 

In both the Start-up and Innovator visa cases the applicant needs to have a good business plan and they also need to have endorsement (ie approval) for the business plan from a body itself approved by the Home Office, which could be either a private body or in some cases a university. 

In some instances there is a requirement for investment funding in the business; this depends on the circumstances. 

The Start-Up visa is granted for two years, with no possibility of extension or a direct route to settlement. The Innovator visa is granted for three years and it does have the possibility of extension and of settlement, after three years, if various requirements are satisfied, relating to for example investment, job creation, turnover, and number of customers. Further endorsement from the endorsing body is required for settlement applications. 

With both visas a “team” of two or more applicants can combine together to set up a business. Here, however, there are complexities: each individual team member must have received endorsement, and where there is a funding requirement each individual team member has to satisfy this. 

Dependant applications (partner and minor children) are possible. 

Applications may be made to the UK visa centre from outside the UK or, in some cases, to the Home Office in the UK. Tier 4 Students, for example, can apply in the UK to switch to Start-Up visa, and there other switching possibilities, for example a migrant holding a Start-Up visa status can apply to switch to an Innovator visa. 

Requirements for Start Up & Innovator visa

As mentioned above, all applicants need to have a good business plan and the business plan needs to be endorsed by an endorsing body. In the case of the Start-Up visa the endorsing body can be a university, so Tier 4 Students might be able to get their university to endorse their business idea. The Home Office has published lists of approved endorsing bodies. 

The Start-Up visa does not require any specific investment sum to invest into the business. Setting up a business of course inevitably costs money, but some types of business are a lot more expensive than others to set up. In contrast, the Innovator visa in many cases requires the applicant to hold funds, or to already have invested funds, of at least £50,000, irrespective of how much it actually costs to set up the business. 

There are a couple of exceptions to this requirement: applicants switching from a Start-Up visa or a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa do not have to show any specific financial investment figure. So the route from Start-Up visa to Innovator visa can be a very good one for applicants who do not strong financial backing. 

You are required to meet a set of requirements for the Innovator Visa.

  • Be 18 or over 
  • Obtain endorsement of your business plan from an endorsing body
  • Meet the English language requirement unless exempted based on nationality, age or qualifications
  • Have access to minimum funds of £50,000 to invest in your business
  • Availability of sufficient funds to support yourselves in the UK without having any access to public funds in the UK

For both visas there is an English language requirement and for settlement applications there is also a Life in the UK test requirement.

What we can do for you for a successful Business application

If you are applying for a visa we can assess your business plan and advise you about it. We can try and put you in touch with a suitable endorsing body, and we can prepare your visa application to the best effect. 

If you are applying for settlement we can assess your case and ascertain whether you have a strong application. If we agree to proceed we will prepare the best application we can to give you the best chance of success. 

Why not give us a call and discover that we are the best Immigration lawyers in London to handle your Start-Up or Innovator Visa application. We work with clients from all over the UK and the World, so if you are not in London, do not worry, we can assist you wherever you are in the world. We have helped clients who are from Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Tanzania, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, USA, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, Brazil, Columbia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Vietnam, China to name a few.

Please contact us on or call us for an initial chat and discover we are the right firm for your immigration matter and speak to an experienced Immigration Lawyer/ Adviser to bring your matter to a successful conclusion.


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