Who Is Eligible for Innovator Visa in the UK

Who Is Eligible for Innovator Visa in the UK

The Innovator visa is a type of work visa for experienced and creative business people. But what does that mean exactly and how can you apply? Let’s dive into the topic.

What Is the Innovator Visa?

The Innovator visa, now known as the Innovator Founder visa, is a UK work visa designed for experienced entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK. The Innovator Founder Visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in 2019 as part of the UK government’s efforts to streamline and enhance its visa routes to attract innovative business ideas and talent to the country to stimulate economic growth.

So if you want to set up and manage a new business in the UK that’s innovative and unique and have your business idea endorsed by an eligible body, you may be able to apply for the Innovator Founder visa to come to the UK. There are, however, a few other eligibility requirements to meet before you begin any application.

Who Is Eligible for Innovator Visa in the UK

Who Is Eligible for Innovator Visa in the UK

You can apply for an Innovator Founder visa for the UK from any country and switch to the visa from within the UK if you’re there on a long-term visa already. However, to be eligible to apply for the Innovator visa, you must:

  • Be over 18
  • Have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea that should lead to economic growth
  • Have your business plan endorsed by an endorsing body in the UK before the application
  • Be able to prove you have the skills, knowledge and experience to run a successful business
  • Have already established a business, or have at least £50,000 to invest in the business start-up once in the UK
  • Have at least £1,270 in your bank in the 28 days before applying to show you can support yourself in the UK
  • Disclose any criminal convictions and be determined to be of good character
  • Have sufficient knowledge of the English language

If you meet each of these requirements, you should receive your Innovator Founder visa, however, there is never any guarantee of success. Each application is assessed on its individual merits, and applicants must provide sufficient evidence to support their eligibility.

The Innovator Founder visa is not necessarily designed for start-ups and applicants won’t receive any funding for the business, so they must show in their business plan how much money they have to invest to sustain their business to have it approved by the endorsing body.

This money is separate from the personal maintenance costs, which increase according to the number of dependants the applicant brings with them.

Innovator Founder Visa Language Requirements

Innovator Founder Visa Language Requirements

To be eligible for the Innovator Founder visa, you need to be able to prove you have at least B2 level English according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This framework assesses your ability to speak, read, write and understand spoken English on a scale from A1 (basic language user) to C2 (proficient language user). B2 is considered to be an Independent Language User, so you must be able to use and understand English with some fluency, but not necessarily entirely proficiently across all topics.

If you are from an English-speaking country, such as Australia, Canada, Guyana or Jamaica, you don’t need to meet the language requirement. However, if you’re from a non-English-speaking country, you must prove your English language skills by either:

  • Having a degree-level qualification that was taught in English (equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD)
  • Have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider within two years before the date of your application
  • Having a GCSE, A level or Scottish equivalent in English gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18

When applying for your Innovator Founder visa, you must submit your certificate of English-speaking qualifications with your application.

Documents You’ll Need to Apply

Documents You’ll Need to Apply

When you apply for an Innovator Founder visa, whether you’re doing your first application from inside or outside of the UK or extending the visa, you need to submit your application online with several supporting documents. To do this, simply scan or digitise your documents to add them to your online application.

For the Innovator Founder visa, you’ll need to provide:

  • A valid passport with a blank page for your visa if you’re from outside of the EU or EEA, or don’t have a biometric chip in your passport
  • Your endorsement letter for your business plan from an approved endorsing body
  • Bank statements showing at least £1,270 in your personal bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before your application
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • A negative tuberculosis test result if applying from one of the specified countries
  • Evidence of any past criminal convictions
  • Certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh with the credentials of the translator

Your dependants i.e. your partner and any dependant children must also submit their own applications and will be assessed individually. For each dependant, you will need to show you have extra money to support them.

As well as the £1,270 for yourself, you’ll need an extra:

  • £285 for your partner
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each other child

You’ll also have to pay the application fee of £1,191 per applicant from outside the UK and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which will be calculated according to how long your visa is given for.

Is the UK Innovator Visa Easy to Get?

In theory, all UK visas are easy to obtain if you meet the eligibility requirements, however, meeting the requirements and providing sufficient evidence is not always a simple task. The first hurdle with the Innovator Founder visa is coming up with a detailed business plan that shows your idea is new, unique, viable and scalable to be endorsed by an approved body. However, once your business plan is endorsed, the other requirements are much easier to meet.

Supposedly, UK visas have a 15% rejection rate, with some visas facing significantly higher rejection rates than others. However, the main reasons for the rejections are that the applicant:

  • Doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria
  • Has lied on their application form
  • Has a criminal conviction that would make them a threat to British society or shows they are not of ‘good character’ according to the Home Office.

So if you are upfront with your personal details and meet each of the requirements, there is a high chance of success with your visa application.

Your Rights in the UK with an Innovator Visa

Your Rights in the UK with an Innovator Visa

If your application for an Innovator Founder visa is successful, you’ll be granted permission to live and work in the UK for 3 years. You will have to meet with your endorsing body after 12 months and 24 months to ensure your business is progressing as planned and you still meet the terms of the visa. If your business has not taken off and does not appear to be scalable or profitable for the UK economy, you may have your visa rescinded.

While you stay in the UK with your visa, you may leave and return to the UK as much as you wish and undertake work outside of your business as long as it’s ‘Skilled Work’. However, you may not work as a professional sportsperson or apply for most public funds.

There is no explicit regulation regarding studying in the UK on an Innovator Founder visa, however, you should not study full-time instead of running your business as this will result in your visa being cut short.

When Your Visa Expires

You can extend your Innovator Founder visa before it runs out to continue living in the UK at the cost of £1,486 per applicant, or you can apply to settle in the UK, also known as permanent residency or ILR after 3 years. This will allow you to live and work indefinitely in the UK with much fewer restrictions.

To be eligible for ILR, you must:

  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Not breach any immigration laws
  • Not spend more than 180 days in 12 months outside of the UK

Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions for Visa Help

If you want help applying for your visa, contact Synergy Immigration Solutions for individual help from our expert team! Read our privacy notice to understand how we process your data.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *