Tier 1 Innovator Visa

Tier 1 Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa allows experienced business persons from non-EEA countries who want to
establish a business in the UK to enter the UK. They must have an innovative, viable and scalable
business idea which must be endorsed by Home Office approved endorsing body.
This visa category can lead to settlement in either 3 or 5 years subject to meeting certain

Eligibility Requirements:
• Applicants must be at least 18 years old;
• Meet an English language test B2 CEFR;
• Have funds [£945 for main applicant and £630 for each dependent held for a consecutive
period of at least 90 days before the application
• Applicant has at least £50,000 in investment funds if they want to set up a new business

Application Process:

The processing ?me will depend on whether an applicant is applying for Innovator Visa with a new
business idea which requires a minimum investment of £50,000 into the proposed business

The application process can be divided in the following 3 main steps:

i). Preparation of a business idea and plan which must be innovative, viable and scalable
ii). Approval of proposal business idea and plan from Home Office endorsing body [ETA 4-8 weeks]
ii). Applying for applicant’s [and any dependents Entry Clearance Application [ETA 2-4 weeks]

Business plan requirements for Innovator Visa:
Applicant’s business idea and plan must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must be a genuine, original business plan that meets a new or existing market need and/or
    creates a completive advantage [Innovation]
  2. The applicant must have the skills, knowledge, and experience and market awareness to run
    the new business [Viability]
  3. The applicant must be able to show evidence of scalability of the business with the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets [Scalability]

    Home Office assessment of Innovator Visa/Entry Clearance applications

Once an applicant has secured an endorsement letter and met the general criteria for the
Innovator Visa, they need to ensure that their entry clearance application addresses the additional
Home Office criteria which might involve satisfying the Home Office that the applicant genuinely
intends to undertake and are capable of undertaking the proposed business plan. To that end, the
Home Office might consider applicant’s previous work and education.

Length of an innovator visa and extension applications:
i). First visa duration is for a period of 3x years;
ii). A further extension of 3x years can be granted;
iii). There is no limit on the number of time an application can be made to extend an Innovator

Settlement in the UK after 3x years:
An Innovator Visa holder can apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years
of continuous UK residence, provided at least two of the following conditions are met:
i). The business has created at least 10 full ?me jobs for the resident workers;
ii). The number of business customers has at least doubled in the three years of the visa and is
higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable
main products or services;
iii). At least £50,000 has been invested and spent in the business;
iv). The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full ?me jobs for resident workers
paying at least £25,000 a year;
v). The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied
for intellectual property protection in the UK;
vi). The business has generated gross revenue of at least £1 million;

Settlement in the UK after 5x years:

An innovator visa holder can qualify to apply for settlement after completion of 5 continuous years
under this visa category.

Innovator visa restriction:

Under an Innovator visa, you cannot:
• Do any work outside the business, for example, take on employed work
• Work as a doctor or dentist in training
• Work as a professional sportsperson
• Access public funds

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