Innovator Visas

What is a Innovator Visa?

An Innovator Visa is a legal document which enables non-British individuals to set up and run an innovative business in the UK.

The business must be different to anything else currently on the market. Your business idea must be viable, innovative, and scalable- with potential for growth and the creation of jobs.

Your business should not already exist, but if it does, then it should not have started trading yet when you apply for an Innovator Visa.

You can work on your own as the sole founder of the business, or you can have a team of people working with you.

The Innovator Visa is designed for experienced business professionals. If you are a first-time entrepreneur, then a Start Up Visa might be more suitable for you instead.

To learn more about Innovator Visas, click here to read our blog article on ‘What is an Innovator Visa?’ or our helpful web page on Innovator Visas.

How do you apply for an Innovator Visa?

To apply for an Innovator Visa, you must make an application online, via this UK Government webpage.

The Home Office will process your application.

You will usually hear back with a decision within 3 weeks, if you are outside the UK, or within 8 weeks, if you are inside the UK.

You may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

Click here to find out if you can pay to receive a faster decision on your application.

What are the requirements for an Innovator Visa?

To qualify for an Innovator Visa, you must fulfil the following conditions:

What supporting documents do you need to apply for an Innovator Visa?

When applying for an Innovator Visa, you will be required to submit the following supporting documents:

  • An ‘endorsement letter’ to show that an endorsing body has assessed your business or business idea. The endorsing body must be satisfied that your business plan is original, genuine, and has a competitive advantage in the market, and that you have the skills and knowledge to run the business successfully.
  • A valid passport or other document that proves your identity and nationality.
  • Bank statements showing you have had at least £1,270 in savings in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply- to show that you can support yourself while you are in the UK.
  • Evidence of your investment funds (if you are setting up a new business).
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement.
  • Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test

If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you must provide a certified translation.

You will need a blank page in your passport for your visa if you are:

  • from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein but do not have a biometric passport with a chip in it

You may need to provide additional documents if UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) asks for this.

How long can you stay in the UK on an Innovator Visa?

You can stay for 3 years if you come to the UK on an Innovator visa, or if you switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK.

Can you extend an Innovator Visa?

Yes, you can apply to extend your stay for another 3 years when your Innovator Visa is due to expire. There is no limit on the number of times you can apply to extend the visa.

You may be able to apply for settlement once you have been in the UK for 3 years.

What Does Innovation, Viable & Scalable Mean When Applying for an Innovator Visa?

The UK has been home to some amazing innovators throughout its history. James Dyson, inventor extraordinaire, once said, “We always want to create something new out of nothing, without research, and long hard hours of effort. But there are no such things as a quantum leap”. We think this summarises the UK’s efforts towards business excellence perfectly. 

The country may be small, but we sure are mighty in global business, with some big brands coming from within our very own borders. That is why this visa is based upon the core values that each idea must be innovative, viable and scalable. 

Innovation: This means there must be a genuine business need and gap in the market for your business idea. The government are looking for ideas that are outside of the box, and that will represent the UK in a positive light. All ideas must also be endorsed; this is essentially the government’s way of understanding if my peers consider the business case a good idea. If your idea meets these needs, your visa should get approved. 

Viable: Viability refers to your own abilities in running the business and giving it the market presence, it needs to excel. You could have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have the means or access to contacts that can help you bring it to life, there is a low chance of it becoming a success. As part of your application, you will need to show your official business plan, which should cover the first three years of trading in line with the approved length of an Innovator visa. 

Scalable: The government also wants to see your business idea grow and develop into a company that can provide other benefits to the UK. This includes wider business settlements, employment opportunities and, of course, financial gains. You should also include this within your business plan, which our team can help you with. 

Tick these three boxes, and you are well on the way to securing your Innovator visa. 

What Is the Difference Between an Innovator and a Start-up Visa?

If you have started looking into your options, you have probably also come across the UK start-up visa. Whilst both applications and criteria are very similar, the main difference is that the start-up application is for people who have less business experience. The length of the visa and associated benefits will also differ but the criteria for approval consider the lack of investment and business experience.

If you are unsure of which option is ideal for you, please get in touch with us today

Can I bring my partner and children with me to the UK on my Innovator Visa?

Yes, you can apply to bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they are eligible.

Make sure you include your partner and children on your application form.

Your partner and children must each have a certain amount of money available to support themselves while they are in the UK.

In addition to the £1,270 you must have to support yourself, you - or your partner or child - will need:

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

Click here to read the guidance on bringing dependants with you to the UK on an Innovator Visa.

How much does an Innovator Visa cost?

You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.

View the table below to find out the costs of an Innovator Visa:

Who you are applying for

Apply from outside the UK

Apply from within the UK (extend or switch visas)




Your partner and children

£1,036 for each person

£1,292 for each person

You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

Click here to check how much you will have to pay before you apply.

What happens if I am in the UK on an Innovator Visa and my endorsement is withdrawn?

Your visa may be cut short. If you want to stay in the UK for longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement, before your current visa expires.

What else do I need to know about Innovator Visas?

Keep these handy tips in mind when you apply for an Innovator Visa:

  • You must stay in contact with your endorsing body throughout your stay in the UK on the visa, especially for the checkpoints at 6, 12 and 24 months.
  • Your endorsing body must be satisfied that you are making reasonable progress with your business idea.
  • You will not be permitted to work in another job while you are in the UK on an Innovator Visa. You must dedicate your time to your business, solely. If you do take up another job with another employer, this will be considered a breach of your visa rules.
  • While on an Innovator Visa, you cannot receive benefits (public funds).
  • You cannot work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach, while in the UK on an Innovator Visa.

Can my Innovator Visa application be rejected?

Your visa application may be rejected if the Home Office are not satisfied that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Your rejection letter will outline the reason(s) for rejection and inform you of your next steps. You may be given a right to appeal, or you may be able to re-apply for the visa.

Your application may be rejected if:

  • Your application is incorrect, insufficient, misleading, or fraudulent.
  • Your supporting documents are insufficient, inconsistent, in the wrong format, or fraudulent.
  • You do not meet the financial requirements.
  • You do not meet the English language requirements.
  • You have applied for the wrong visa.
  • The Home Office has reasons to believe that your application or business idea is not genuine.
  • You have failed to disclose any previous criminal convictions.
  • You have previously breached immigration laws.

Where can I get help on my Innovator Visa Application?

The immigration professionals at Synergy Immigration Solutions understand the complexity of the UK’s immigration laws and the issues that can arise during the application process.

That is why we house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost only, for complete support on your visa application.

We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their visa applications.

We will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you time, effort, workload, and stress.

We will answer your questions and address any concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success.

We process all applications in an efficient and timely manner and keep our clients well-informed throughout the process.

It is vital that the correct documentation is in place to ensure the application is approved.

We would always recommend that you appoint a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to manage this process for you.

Where can I get help on my Innovator Visa Application?

Click here to contact Synergy Immigration Solutions and submit your query.

Alternatively, email or call 020 4538 5124. We will get back to you within 24 hours and we are more than happy to help.

About Us

Synergy Immigration Solutions Ltd is an OISC registered company offering a wide range of UK immigration services for both corporate and individual clients needing assistance with their visa issues and concerns.

We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), registration number F202000171.

We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

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