The Innovator visa is a new business visa scheme established by the UK government on March 29, 2019, with an aim to encourage talented people to come to the country, who would lead industries with new and innovative ideas. The visa holder may apply for residency. Eligible applicants are those with innovative ideas and skills.
- For a successful initial visa application, you must meet the following requirements:
First, you must prove that you have at least £50,000 in business funds.
Second, you must have a competitive business idea based on a viable, innovative business model, receive a feasibility review and an endorsement letter from a body endorsed by the UK Visas and Immigration.
Your business plan should be able to prove that it will contribute to the development of specific areas, such as economic, social, cultural or science sectors in the UK, and has potential to enter international markets.
Third, you must demonstrate your English proficiency through an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 (intermediate).
Fourth, you should be able to prove that you have enough financial resources to support yourself and your family without relying on the UK government's subsidy while doing business.
Conditions of Stay
- You can bring your family members with you and apply visas for your spouse and children under 18 years of age.
The accompanying family members may apply for their visa together with the main visa applicant or separately at a later date.
Children under 18 years of age may enjoy the merit of being admitted to a public school when the visa is issued.
Your spouse and minor children are also eligible to apply for residency with the principal applicant as accompanied family members.
Length of Stay
- A 3-year stay will be each granted for the first and extended application, and you may apply for residency if you have demonstrated outstanding business performance after a 3-year stay.
The degree of contribution of your company, in terms of business operation, job creation, among others, will be the main evaluation criteria for residency.
You can apply for citizenship one year after obtaining your residency.
Requirements for Visa Extension or Residency
- For a successful extension, you must meet a number of requirements.
Personally, you should not have any reasons for disqualification as a visa holder as defined by the Home office.
You must be able to verify the future business sustainability of your business by receiving an endorsement letter from an endorsing body.
For this, you should be able to prove that you established a business and ran it as a registered director and submit an endorsement letter on your business sustainability in the next 12 months, based on expenditure, asset size, and sales, to demonstrate its business potential.
An Innovator Visa holder can apply settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years of continuous UK residence, provided at least two of the following conditions are met:
- At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement;
- The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers;
- he 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);
- 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;
- The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK;
- The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts;
- 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.