Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa category is for businesspeople outside the EEA and Switzerland who have £50,000 to invest in their business from any legitimate source. All applicants for entry clearance or leave to remain must have been endorsed in this category by an endorsing body. The applicant does not need to be the sole founder of the business and maybe a member of an entrepreneurial team.

Endorsement Criteria

The endorsement letter must confirm both of the following:

The applicant’s business venture meets all of the requirements in the table below:

Innovation Viability Scalability
The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage. The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business. There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets.


The endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures.

The requirement in (a) does not apply if the applicant’s last grant of leave was in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category, and the endorsement is from the same endorsing body as the endorsement which led to that grant of leave. Instead, the endorsement letter must confirm that the applicant’s business venture is genuine and credible.

Investment funds

The applicant under must have at least £50,000 available to invest in their business. This may include funds which are already invested in the business. However, if the endorsement letter confirms that funds are already invested no further evidence for investment funds is required. The funds can be from;

  • Applicant’s own investment funds
  • A UK organisation which employs at least 10 people
  • An overseas or UK organisation which employs less than 10 people or;
  • A third party

Maintenance funds

The main applicant must have at least £945 and £630 for each dependant available in a regulated financial institution listed in Appendix P for 90 days period.

Visa extension

An endorsement letter is required at both extension and settlement stage. The following requirements must be met in order to apply for an extension of stay:

  • Applicants must remain running a UK business or intend to incorporate a new business
  • Applicants must have an existing established business accompanied with a relevant endorsement for the earlier visa
  • Applicants must have at least £50,000 investment funds in order to start a new business venture, and the new business model must be assessed by an Approved Body
  • Applicants must have sufficient funds to support themselves without reliance on public funding
  • Applicants may include any dependents included within their current visa on the application to extend, including children who have reached 18 years of age during their stay in the UK


The applicant’s business venture meets at least two of the following requirements:

  1. At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement.
  2. The number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.
  3. The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
  4. The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts.
  5. The business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.
  6. The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers.
  7. The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).

English language requirements

An applicant of Innovator visa cant meet the Secure English Language test listed in Appendix O if ;

  • The applicant has passed an English language test at CEFR Level B2
  • The applicant is a national of majority English speaking country or;
  • The applicant has a degree taught in English evidenced by UK NARIC equivalence

Switching to this visa

The applicant’s from following categories may be able to switch into the Start-up or innovator visa provided they meet the criteria.

  • Start-up
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur (No closed)
  • Tier 2
  • a visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur, as set out in Appendix V

Why Us

We have experienced business immigration solicitors, who provide prompt and cost-effective advice to any individual applying for Innovator Visa from overseas or within the UK. By making an appointment with one of our business immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  We will assist you with all aspects of business immigration law, including applying for an initial application to extension or settlement.  If you wish to discuss, please phone our London office on 0203 909 8399 or contact us online.

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