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The UK is a natural home for innovation. With one of the world's largest economies, the UK is an ideal place to foster an innovative business. If you are looking to set up a business in the UK and have some experience in the field, the Innovator Visa may well be the ideal option for you. In this article we are going to look at several different elements related to the the visa so that you have a comprehensive understanding of this visa route and can tell whether it may be the ideal one for you to use in order to set up your business in the UK.

Eligibility Criteria For Innovator Visa

The Innovator Visa is very much aimed at those with a history of running a successful business. It is one of two brand new visa categories that have been aimed at changing the way that startups and innovators setup and run their businesses in the UK. One of the biggest, and arguably most sensible, changes is the need for a business idea to be supported by a business expert which the guidance notes as authorities “such as business accelerators, seed competitions and government agencies, as well as higher education providers”.

As well as the need to have any proposed business assessed, there is also the need for applicants to have a certain amount of capital available to them to start their business. The requirement is for the applicant to have £50,000 available to invest in the business (will be waived if upgrading from a Start-up Visa) and this may come from any legitimate source. As well as this capital requirement, applicants will also need to meet the following criteria:

  • A high level of English language skills (equivalent to CEFR level B2 - exemptions apply)
  • Business plans will need to be “credible” and this may require an interview with an immigration official as well as the endorsement from an appropriate authority
  • Applicants will also require £945 to be in their personal account for at least 90 days before application to be able to sustain themselves while setting up their business

If all of these criteria are met, an application will be able to be made. For help with applications, business plans or any other query related to the Innovator Visa, please get in touch and speak to our immigration solicitors who can help you with your requirements.

Application Process For Innovator Visa

The application process for the Innovator Visa is a multi-part process. The reason for this is that the business will need to have its credibility judged by not only immigration officials, but also by an independent body such as a business accelerator, a seed competition, a government agency or a higher education provider. This level of oversight is to ensure that not only is the proposed business credible, it is also likely to be a success and create some kind of genuine innovation. Previous incarnations of similar visa routes had been criticised due to the lack of diverse and innovative businesses that had come from them. This is why the scheme was completely redesigned in order to take in the needs of what the UK actually seeks in terms of new businesses.

Once you have had your business endorsed, you will then be able to continue with the formal application. The application will be assessed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and if there is any more information or proof required, you are likely to be brought in for an interview in order to answer any questions that an immigration official may have. If all is well, you should receive notice in due course of your success or failure.

If you need help with your application then please get in touch. With years of experience dealing with entrepreneurs moving to the UK, we are best placed to help curate your application to ensure that you are well placed to make the most of your business opportunity. So get in touch today and talk to us about our services that can help you to successfully launch your business in the UK.

Can I Gain Indefinite Leave To Remain From The Innovator Visa?

Yes, you can gain Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK from the Innovator Visa. You will need to live and work in the UK for three years in order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and will need to meet the criteria attached to the route. This criteria is based around the success of the business. This helps to ensure that applicants are genuine and that they are running their businesses as described.

Processing Time For The Innovator Visa

Once your application has been finalised, you should expect a decision in six to eight weeks. This is reasonably standard across the board, but it may be lengthened if there are any issues with your application. If there are issues, you will be contacted and may need to attend an interview with an immigration officials to answer any questions that they may have.

The addition of an outsourced credibility assessment may help to speed up any application for an Innovator Visa. As the visa route is still in its infancy, we would expect there to be some minor hiccups so please allow plenty of time for your application to be processed and also expect your application to be tested rigorously as the Home Office and the outsourced authorities get used to the new process.

Further Reading

As the Innovator Visa is a brand new route, we expect there to be some teething troubles. If you need to know more, or you have some questions on the Innovator Visa then please get in touch. Our team are experts at assisting entrepreneurs to startup in the UK and they can help you to make the most of your opportunity.

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