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The Innovator visa came into force in the UK, on 29 March 2019 following a number of changes to the Immigration Rules, and closure of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme.

Innovator Visa - UK

Innovator Visa UK

Outlined below is information about the process of obtaining UK Settlement - permanent residence as an Innovator:

Innovator Visa UK - Eligibility

To apply for the UK Innovator visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1. This visa is meant for Innovators, who are at least 18 years old - with a new innovative idea that will help the UK economy.

2. The Innovator visa is for experienced non-EEA businesses.

3. The applicants will need a minimum of £50,000 funds for investment, and the funding can be derived from any source.

4. The innovators must be dedicated to developing their business venture in the UK.

5. The Innovator must be endorsed by an approved body to get the visa. The endorsing body can choose to fund the innovator if they like.

6. The Innovator must meet the English language requirement. To meet the English requirement, you must pass an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening or having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelorís degree, masterís degree or PhD. Exceptions to the English language requirement apply if you are a national of a list of English-speaking countries, such as Australia or USA.

7. Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while youíre in the UK.

8. The applicant will need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

Who can endorse the Non-EEA business?

  • The endorsing body can be a third-party organization in the UK
  • Organisations that have a track of supporting UK entrepreneurs
  • Their endorsement request must have support from the UK or devolved government department as being clearly linked to that departmentís policy
  • The organisation must be able to assess the applicantsí business ventures
  • To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement
  • If your business idea is successfully assessed by the endorsing body, then they will provide you with an endorsement letter, if your business is viable

What can the Innovator do under the UK Innovator Visa?

  • The Innovator can set up and establish their own business in the UK
  • They can work for their business as a director, partner or be self-employed as a member
  • They can bring their family (dependents) with them to the UK

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

  • You can stay in the UK on an Innovator visa for 3 years. Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further 3 years.
  • The innovator can apply for settlement - Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), if they have been in the UK for 5 years. However, if their endorsement is withdrawn, their visa will be shortened. In such cases, they can apply for a new endorsement before their visa period expires.

What are the restrictions of the UK Innovator Visa?

1. The Innovator cannot work for any other business outside their own. This includes anything which effectively amounts to employment, such as using their own business to hire out their labour to another employer.

2. They cannot work or train as a doctor or dentist.

3. They cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

4. They cannot get public funds.

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