UK Innovator Visa – How You Can Stay In The UK By Setting Up A New Business

UK Innovator Visa – How You Can Stay In The UK By Setting Up A New Business

The United Kingdom encourages and promotes entrepreneurship, with millions of self-employed company owners, sole traders and freelancers operating here. Starting a business in the UK is a direct route to being granted a long term visa or even permanent settlement.

Cromwell Wilkes helps many entrepreneurs to legally set up businesses in the UK and obtain a visa stress free. One of the most popular methods is the Innovator Visa.

What Is The Innovator Visa?

As of March 2019, the Innovator Visa replaced the popular Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

The Innovator visa enables overseas entrepreneurs to come to the UK and set up an innovative business. It is precisely for those who want to set up and run an innovative company in the UK, but the business must be different from anything else on the market.

This type of visa allows holders to remain in the UK for up to three years, at which point they can reapply for a further three-year extension. One of the most significant benefits of the Innovator visa is that applicants may be able to acquire permanent settlement in the UK after three years. This is shorter than the typical five years required for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Who Is The Innovator Visa Applicable For?

The Innovator visa is aimed at people who have an existing business or business idea with sufficient investment funds and is intended for those with strong business experience. On the other hand, the start-up visa is for those who do not have existing investment funds.

Innovator Visa Requirements

As an applicant, you will be eligible for this visa if you meet the following criteria:

  • You must prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself (a minimum of £1,270 in your bank account).
  • You must demonstrate you are from a majority English-speaking country or have taken an accredited English language examination.
  • You intend to set up a business in the UK and be endorsed by an approved body.
  • You must have at least £50,000 in investment capital or have invested this sum already in the previous year. If you haven’t invested the money yourself, it must come from a government-endorsed funding competition, a venture capital fund registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, or a UK government department.

You must also be able to show that your business idea is:

  • Viable, with growth potential.
  • New to the market – you cannot join a business that is already trading.
  • Innovative – you must have an original business idea that is different from anything else currently in the market.

How Long Does It Take?

As a part of your application, you will be required to prove your identity and provide the necessary documents. You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this – you will find out if you need one when you start your application.

Please note, that prior to submitting your application, the business planning and endorsement stage can take up to a few months.

Once you have applied, proved your identity and provided your documents, you should expect a decision on your visa within:

  • Three weeks, if you are outside the UK.
  • Eight weeks, if you are inside the UK.

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be eligible to pay for a faster decision.

Do you need expert advice to navigate the ever-changing and complex immigration system? Contact our team for a no-obligation consultation. We would be delighted to see how we can help you. Please get in touch for your free, initial consultation.