Innovator Visa Application

The Innovator Visa is a UK immigration route designed for entrepreneurs who want to establish a new business in the UK. It replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in 2019. To apply for an Innovator Visa, applicants need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea and must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body in the UK. The endorsement must confirm that the business idea is innovative, viable, and has the potential for growth. Successful applicants will be granted leave to remain in the UK for up to three years, during which time they can develop their business. After this initial period, they can apply to extend their visa for a further three years or apply for settlement in the UK.

UK Innovator Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for the UK Innovator Visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Innovative business idea: Applicants must have a genuine and innovative business idea that is viable and has the potential for growth. The business idea should not be a replication of an existing business in the UK.
  2. Endorsement: Applicants must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body. The endorsing body will assess the business idea, the applicant’s skills, experience, and potential to successfully run the business.
  3. Financial requirement: Applicants must have at least £50,000 in investment funds available to invest in their business. The funds can be from any legitimate source, including personal savings, investments, or loans.
  4. English language proficiency: Applicants must demonstrate their English language proficiency by passing an approved English language test, or by having an academic qualification taught in English and recognized by UK NARIC.
  5. Maintenance requirement: Applicants must demonstrate that they have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents without requiring public funds.
  6. Age requirement: There is no specific age requirement for the Innovator Visa, but applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Applicants who meet all the above criteria may be eligible to apply for an Innovator Visa and establish their business in the UK.

The CGM App is designed for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Click here to get started 

What are the documents required for an Innovator Visa Application

The specific documents required for an Innovator Visa application may vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances, but generally, the following documents are required:

  1. Endorsement letter: Applicants must provide a letter of endorsement from an approved endorsing body in the UK. The letter should confirm that the business idea is innovative, viable, and has the potential for growth.
  2. Business plan: Applicants must provide a detailed business plan that outlines the proposed business activities, financial projections, and marketing strategies.
  3. Investment funds: Applicants must provide evidence of having at least £50,000 in investment funds available to invest in the business. This could be in the form of personal savings, investments, or loans.
  4. English language proficiency: Applicants must provide evidence of meeting the English language requirement. This could be in the form of an approved English language test certificate or a degree taught in English and recognized by UK NARIC.
  5. Maintenance funds: Applicants must provide evidence of having enough funds to support themselves and any dependents without requiring public funds.
  6. Identity documents: Applicants must provide a valid passport or other travel documents.
  7. Criminal record certificate: Applicants from certain countries may be required to provide a criminal record certificate.

It’s important to note that the UK immigration authorities may request additional documents or information during the application process. Therefore, applicants should carefully review the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the UK government and the endorsing body.

Innovator Visa Requirements

To apply for an Innovator Visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Innovative business idea: Applicants must have a genuine and innovative business idea that is viable and has the potential for growth. The business idea should not be a replication of an existing business in the UK.
  2. Endorsement: Applicants must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body. The endorsing body will assess the business idea, the applicant’s skills, experience, and potential to successfully run the business.
  3. Financial requirement: Applicants must have at least £50,000 in investment funds available to invest in their business. The funds can be from any legitimate source, including personal savings, investments, or loans.
  4. English language proficiency: Applicants must demonstrate their English language proficiency by passing an approved English language test, or by having an academic qualification taught in English and recognized by UK NARIC.
  5. Maintenance requirement: Applicants must demonstrate that they have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents without requiring public funds.
  6. Age requirement: There is no specific age requirement for the Innovator Visa, but applicants must be at least 18 years old.

In addition to the above requirements, applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements for a UK visa, such as having a valid passport or travel document, not having a criminal record, and being able to show that they will leave the UK at the end of their visa.

It’s important to note that the application process for the Innovator Visa can be complex, and applicants may benefit from seeking professional advice or assistance to ensure that they meet all the requirements and provide the necessary documentation.

The CGM App is designed for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Click here to get started  

What are the Financial Requirements?

To apply for a UK visa, including the Innovator Visa, applicants must meet certain financial requirements. Specifically, applicants must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds.

For the Innovator Visa, there are two financial requirements that applicants must meet:

  1. Investment funds: Applicants must have at least £50,000 in investment funds available to invest in their business. The funds can be from any legitimate source, including personal savings, investments, or loans. The investment funds must be held in a regulated financial institution and must be disposable in the UK.
  2. Maintenance funds: Applicants must also demonstrate that they have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents for at least 12 months without requiring public funds. The amount required varies depending on the applicant’s circumstances, such as whether they are applying alone or with dependents. As of 2021, the required maintenance funds for a single applicant are £1,270 for the first 28 days of their stay in the UK, plus an additional £845 for each dependent.

It’s important to note that the UK immigration authorities may request additional evidence of financial support, such as bank statements or proof of income. Applicants should carefully review the specific financial requirements and guidelines provided by the UK government to ensure that they meet all the requirements and provide the necessary documentation.

Business Plan

A business plan is a detailed document that outlines the objectives, strategies, and financial projections for a business. For the Innovator Visa, a business plan is an essential component of the application process, as it provides the endorsing body with a clear understanding of the applicant’s business idea and its potential for success.

A strong business plan for an Innovator Visa application should include the following:

  1. Executive summary: A brief overview of the business idea, including the products or services offered, the target market, and the unique value proposition.
  2. Business description: A more detailed description of the business idea, including the company structure, legal status, and ownership structure.
  3. Market analysis: A detailed analysis of the target market, including the size, demographics, and competition. This section should also include a description of the marketing strategies that will be used to reach the target market.
  4. Products or services: A detailed description of the products or services that the business will offer, including how they will be produced or delivered.
  5. Management and staffing: A description of the management team and staffing requirements, including the qualifications and experience of key personnel.
  6. Financial projections: A detailed financial projection of the business, including revenue, expenses, and profit margins. This section should also include a description of the investment funds that will be used to start and grow the business.
  7. Risk analysis: A description of the risks and challenges that the business may face, including how they will be mitigated.

Overall, a strong business plan for an Innovator Visa application should demonstrate that the business idea is viable, has the potential for growth, and will contribute to the UK economy. It’s important to note that the business plan should be tailored specifically to the applicant’s unique circumstances and should be supported by relevant market research and data.

Application Process

The Innovator Visa application process involves several steps and can be complex. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. The first step is to find an endorsing body that is willing to endorse the business idea. Endorsing bodies are organizations approved by the UK government to assess and endorse Innovator Visa applications. The endorsing body will review the business plan and provide a letter of endorsement if they believe the business idea meets the Innovator Visa requirements.
  2. Once an endorsing body has been secured, applicants must prepare the Innovator Visa application. This includes completing the online application form, providing biometric information (such as fingerprints), and submitting supporting documents.
  3. The completed application and supporting documents should be submitted online through the UK government’s visa application website. Applicants will also need to pay the application fee and the immigration health surcharge.
  4.  Once the application has been submitted, applicants may be required to attend an interview with a UK immigration officer. The purpose of the interview is to assess the applicant’s credibility and to verify the information provided in the application.
  5. After the interview (if required), the UK government will review the application and make a decision. If the application is approved, the applicant will receive an entry clearance visa that allows them to enter the UK and start their business.

It’s important to note that the Innovator Visa application process can be complex and time-consuming. Applicants should carefully review the application requirements and seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure that their application is complete and meets all the necessary requirements.

The CGM App is designed for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Click here to get started 

Processing Times

The processing times for an Innovator Visa application can vary depending on the country of application and individual circumstances. The UK government provides estimated processing times on their website, which are updated monthly.

As of September 2021, the standard processing time for Innovator Visa applications is up to 8 weeks if applying from outside the UK. However, some applications may take longer to process if additional documentation is required, or if the application is complex.

It’s important to note that processing times can also be affected by external factors such as the volume of applications being processed and current events such as COVID-19 restrictions.

Applicants are advised to submit their Innovator Visa application as early as possible and allow plenty of time for processing. It’s also important to ensure that the application is complete and meets all the necessary requirements to avoid delays in processing.

What to do if your Innovator Visa Application is Rejected

If an Innovator Visa application is rejected, there are several options available to the applicant. These include:

  1. Appeal the decision: If the applicant believes that the decision to reject their application was incorrect, they may be able to appeal the decision. The appeal process can be complex and may require the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer.
  2. Submit a new application: If the applicant’s circumstances have changed or if they believe that they can address the reasons for their application being rejected, they may be able to submit a new Innovator Visa application.
  3. Apply for another type of visa: If the applicant is not eligible for an Innovator Visa, they may be able to apply for another type of visa that is more appropriate for their situation.
  4. Seek legal advice: It’s important for applicants to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer if their Innovator Visa application is rejected. An immigration lawyer can provide guidance on the best course of action and assist with any appeals or new applications.

It’s important to note that the UK government may provide specific reasons for why an Innovator Visa application was rejected. Applicants should carefully review these reasons and address them in any subsequent applications or appeals.

Choosing An Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Choosing an experienced immigration lawyer can be an important decision for anyone seeking to navigate the complex UK immigration system. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an immigration lawyer:

  1. Experience and expertise: Look for an immigration lawyer who has extensive experience and expertise in UK immigration law. You may also want to look for a lawyer who specializes in the type of visa or immigration matter that you need assistance with.
  2. Reputation and track record: Research the lawyer’s reputation and track record by reading reviews, testimonials, and case studies. Look for a lawyer who has a strong track record of success in helping clients with their immigration matters.
  3. Communication and accessibility: Look for a lawyer who is responsive and communicates clearly and effectively. You want to work with a lawyer who will keep you informed throughout the process and answer any questions you may have.
  4. Fees and costs: Understand the lawyer’s fees and costs upfront. Look for a lawyer who is transparent about their fees and can provide you with a clear breakdown of the costs involved.
  5. Personal connection: Finally, consider whether you feel comfortable and have a personal connection with the lawyer. You want to work with a lawyer who understands your unique situation and is invested in helping you achieve your immigration goals.

Overall, choosing an experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that your visa application or other immigration matter is handled effectively and efficiently.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Innovator Visa is a great option for entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the UK. The application process can be complex and time-consuming, but with the right preparation, guidance, and documentation, applicants can increase their chances of success. It’s important to ensure that the business plan meets the requirements of the endorsing body, and that all financial, business, and personal documents are in order. Applicants should also seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure that their application is complete and meets all the necessary requirements. If the application is rejected, there are options available, including appealing the decision, submitting a new application, or applying for a different type of visa. With the right approach and guidance, the Innovator Visa can be an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to start a business and establish a presence in the UK

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