What is the Innovator Visa?

The UK Innovator visa is a fairly new program established in March 2019, replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. It aims to attract skilled foreign nationals and their innovative new businesses to the country to boost the development of the British industrial sector. To qualify for an Innovator Visa, you must be an experienced business person with an innovative idea that is supported by an independent endorsing body in the UK. Your business idea may fall into any sector but it should be sufficiently innovative, viable and scalable.
  • Your spouse and children under 18 years can live, work, and study under the Innovator UK visa.
  • It allows visa-free travel to the ‘Common Travel Area’ countries.

Program Highlights

  • It requires a low investment amount of a minimum of £50,000 in the UK business, in addition to £945 per month to support you and £630 per month for each of your dependents.
  • After an initial residence visa of 3 years, you will be eligible for the ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) if you meet the additional requirements.

Not Sure Where to Begin? Let Experts at Nysa Global Help You.

UK Innovator Visa Guidance

Everything you need to know about the UK Innovator Visa, from eligibility factors, application process to timeline associated and much more.


  • Permission to enter and remain in the country for 3 years.
  • You must possess the skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to operate and further develop your venture successfully.
  • Your business idea should be original or if it already exists, it should not have fully started trading.
  • Your business plan should meet the changing needs of the market, carry a competitive advantage, and be structurally planned for job creation and growth in both national and international markets.
  • You can work as the sole founder, have an innovator team with you, or function as a joint venture. However, each applicant must receive their separate endorsement from a registered endorsing body and have a minimum of £50,000 investment funds.
  • You must meet the English language requirement by passing the exam to level B2 or carry a university degree taught in English.
  • You must work on your venture throughout your visa time and avoid outside employment.
  • Minimum in-person presence required.
Obtaining an endorsement from the Home Office:
Your Innovator UK visa will only be successful once you receive an endorsement from an endorsing body that is approved by the Home Office. There are two stages to the endorsement process including the submission of the documents followed by an interview for the officials to evaluate your business plan.

Documentation Required

  • A valid passport or other document confirming your identity and nationality
  • Bank statements as evidence of the savings in your bank account for 28 successive days
  • English language test result
  • Evidence of the investment funds, if setting up a new business
  • Passport photograph
  • Clear tuberculosis (TB) test result, if necessary for your country
  • A criminal record certificate
  • A certified translation of the documents if they are not in English or Welsh

Cost & Expenditure:

  • You must have at least £1,270 for 28 consecutive days in your bank account besides the £50,000 investment in your UK business.
  • You will have to show at least £945 (additional £630 funds for each dependent) of available funds for entry clearance.
  • However, you won’t have to prove your maintenance funds if your endorsing body confirms the awarding of a minimum of £945.
  • You cannot use money from your investment funds.
  • The current application fee is £1,021 if applying from outside the UK and £1,277 when switching the visa category from within the UK.

Visa Process

  • Step 1: Prepare a business proposal that is coherent with the Innovator visa requirements
  • Step 2: Furnish proof and source of funds
  • Step 3: Submit the required documents to the endorsing body
  • Step 4: Establish credibility and intent with the endorsing body. Attend an interview if required
  • Step 5: Show eligibility fulfilment – funds for entry clearance, etc.
  • Step 6: Get the endorsement letter, fill in the visa application and submit to the Home Office

Visa Timeline

  • The processing takes around 3 weeks. Planning the business and getting it endorsed might make the preparation time longer.
  • The Innovator visa is valid for 3 years initially. It can be further extended for an additional 3 years for an unlimited number of times.
Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR):
As an entrepreneur, you can apply for ILR after 3 years of your first entry with the Innovator route. You must provide an endorsement letter confirming the achievements of your business, your consistent active engagement in running it, and aim to continue the same in the future.

Qualifying for the Innovator Visa

Presenting a properly structured business concept and plan are paramount to success in securing an endorsement. The key aspect is to demonstrate a genuine innovativeness in the idea/concept. Many entrepreneurs are unable to document this properly.

We at Nysa Global have relationships with a number of endorsing bodies and can direct candidates to the appropriate ones.

We also work with entrepreneurs through an incubation stage where we help refine their business concept and prepare a proper business plan.

Settlement Requirements

Your business must meet at least two of the following criteria:
  • An expense of at least £50,000 for running a UK company
  • A significant rise of customers, higher than the market average
  • Research and development activities and patents
  • Gross revenue of £1 million in the last year
  • Gross revenue of £500,000 in the last year, including £100,000 from exports
  • 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  • 5 full-time jobs with an average annual gross salary of £25,000
Other criteria
Your absences from the United Kingdom cannot exceed 180 days in any year during the last 3 years. Dependants are given ILR based on the main applicant. All adult applicants must also pass an English language test and a Life in the UK test.

Path to British Citizenship & Passport

Get registered as a British citizen after 12 months of getting an ILR and spending at least 5 years in the UK.

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