Tier 1 UK Innovator Visa

A tier 1 UK innovator visa is for foreigners that want to set up businesses in the UK. This visa targets skilled potential business owners with the aim of driving the local economy with new businesses.

What are the Requirements for an Innovator Visa?

Those with existing businesses or business ideas can apply for a UK innovator visa. However, this is only the first step – an endorser should endorse the plan within three months before application.

Aside from the endorsement, eligibility also hinges on the following innovator visa requirements:

  • Age requirement: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age for the innovators visa application process to move forward.
  • Language requirement: Applicants must know English – the minimum requirement is at least a B2 level on the CEFR scale. Note that citizens of some English-speaking countries need not take the exam.
  • Health screening: The applicant must also undergo a medical screening to rule out the presence of diseases. For example, pulmonary tuberculosis is among the diseases screened for an innovators visa.
  • Current investment: The visa requires at least £50,000 in funds for those planning to apply in a UK business. Aside from the money, proof of the funding’s source must also be provided. Take note that some established businesses, based on specific circumstances, may have this requirement waived.
  • Shared funds: The $50,000 investment requirement cannot be split between multiple investors. Each innovator visa applicant must have $50,000 worth of investments, even if there is only one business.
  • Proof of self-sufficiency: Another innovator visa requirement is a bank account worth at least £1,270 is required. This amount should be present in the account for 28 straight days before the application process. Also, this money is not included in the investment requirement.
  • Proof of support for family members: Aside from the £1,270 in the bank account, higher amounts are required if family members are present. An additional £285 is required for a partner or spouse, £315 for one child, and £200 for every succeeding child.

Once all the innovator visa requirements above are fulfilled, the applicant can move forward with the application.

How Does the Innovators Visa Endorsement Process Go?

Among the most important of the innovator visa requirements is the endorsement.

Not all businesses can get an endorsement for an innovators visa. There is a set of criteria used for assessing whether a business is worthy. They are the following:

  • New business: The business should be new. In addition, the applicant should not just aim to participate in an already functioning business.
  • Innovation: The idea for the business has to be innovative. This means that it has to be original and should be different from anything else currently available. The endorsing body will also check if there is a market for that business idea.
  • Viability of the business and the operator: Both the business and the applicant will be assessed for viability. The business itself has to be viable. On the operator’s end, skills and awareness will also be assessed by the endorsing body.
  • Capacity to scale upward: The plan needs to have the potential for growth and must have a proper business structure.

The more the business plan has the above qualities, the more likely it will be endorsed. As such, applicants need to put their best foot forward in presenting the business idea to the endorser.

How Long is a UK Innovator Visa Valid for?

The validity period of the innovators visa is set at three years after approval. For those switching from another visa type into an innovator visa, the validity is renewed for another three years.

  • Extensions: Of course, those that want to extend this visa will be allowed to do so. The government accepts an extension of another three years for those that wish to stay. Take note that these extensions are unlimited – one can choose to extend and extend as long as needed.
  • Termination: If the endorsing body sees it fit, they may terminate their endorsement of the business. If this happens, then the innovator visa’s validity is also terminated. The visa holder must then apply for another visa.

How Does the UK Innovator Visa Application Process Go?

The innovators visa application process varies. There are three main processes, depending on where the applicant is coming from.

1.     Those outside the UK

Those seeking to enter the UK through an innovator visa will need proof of identity through either biometrics or an immigration ID check. After that, the agency will guide the applicant through the rest of the process.

Do take note, however, that dependents of the applicant must apply for a separate visa.

2.     Those inside the UK and want to extend the visa validity

Those that wish to extend the visa must also meet the eligibility requirements explained earlier in this article. Other requirements include funding, proof of business, proof of identity, and endorsements.

This process must be done before the visa expires. Also, dependents and partners will need to apply separately.

3.     Those inside the UK and are switching between visa types

Those with an existing visa can switch to an innovator visa if the earlier-mentioned eligibility requirements are met.

There are exceptions to visas that can switch to an innovator visa. These exceptions include visit, short-term student, parent of a child student, and seasonal worker visas. Immigration bail and compassionate grounds also cannot switch to this visa type.

What are the Benefits Granted by a UK Innovator Visa?

An innovator visa comes with numerous benefits. Visa holders will be able to:

  • Establish a business within the country
  • Be employed in the said business
  • Bring along a spouse or partner and children to the UK
  • Travel to and from the country
  • Apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country

Of course, all these benefits have specific conditions to them, like minimum stay for the application for indefinite leave. Make sure to take note of the fine print regarding what these conditions are.

Are You Applying for a UK Innovator Visa? We can help.

If so, then be mindful of all the requirements above. Those that need endorsements can approach us ___. We will help make your business idea worthy of getting you that innovators visa.

References:

Innovator visa https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa

Innovator rules: Immigration Rules Appendix Innovator https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-innovator

Innovator visa: Knowledge of English https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/knowledge-of-english

Innovator visa: Apply from outside the UK https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/apply-from-outside-the-uk

Innovator visa: Extend your visa https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/extend-your-visa

Innovator visa: Switch to this visa https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/switch-to-this-visa

 

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