A brief introduction to the Innovator visa


On 29 March 2019, the Innovator visa category was officially launched. Under Appendix W of the Immigration Rules, the Innovator visa scheme is aimed at experienced and driven foreign entrepreneurs seeking to establish and run an innovative business in the UK.


All applicants must also meet the requirements listed below:


  • English language- Level B2
  • Maintenance funds- £945 of available funds for applicant, plus £630 funds for each dependant
  • Endorsement Letter
  • Age (18+)
  • Available investment funds (at least £50,000 in cash funds)


Please note that multiple Innovator migrants can apply for endorsement to be co-directors of the same company. However, each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an approved endorsing body. Each migrant must also independently demonstrate that they have a separate £50,000 available to invest with a ‘new business’ endorsement. It is important to note that the funds can be sourced from a third party or in the alternative they must be held in the migrant’s personal bank account for a 90 days period.


How long is it granted for?


Entry clearance and initial leave to remain will be normally granted for 3 years and the extension will be issued for a further 3 years. Please note that there is no limit to how many extensions an Innovator can apply for. In addition, applicants can apply for settlement as soon as they meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain having spent 3 years in the UK.


How much does it cost?


The fee for the Innovator visa when applied inside the UK is £1,277, whilst the UKVI will charge £1,021 for an application made outside the UK. Please note that fees are reviewed and increased annually. The applicants will also need to pay £1200 for the immigration health surcharge and for an additional fee, the processing of the application can be expedited.


Indefinite Leave to Remain


Please note that migrants will be able to apply for settlement under the “Innovator” visa category having spent 3 years in this category if their business were to meet at least two of the following requirements:


(i) At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement.


(ii) The number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.


(iii) The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.


(iv) The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts.


(v) The business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.


(vi) The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers.


(vii) The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).


How can we assist with the Innovator visa application?


As part of our corporate service, we conduct a thorough assessment of the candidate’s eligibility under the Innovator visa category. Our services include but are not limited to the following:


  • The appropriate endorsing body
    We will guide you in the selection of an appropriate endorsing body suitable to your specific circumstances as you might seek endorsement in the medical field or IT, sustainable development, energy, pharma, environmental protection, or computer science amongst others. For the endorsing bodies, please refer to the list on GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/endorsing-bodies-innovator


  • Research
    Every migrant and their business background are different. At Migra & Co, we are expert in dealing with marketing research, business strategy research, risk management, cash-flow management. We are also able to refer you to trusted third parties to review or prepare accurate the financial forecasts projections in support of your business plan.


  • Consultation
    During the consultation, we will review your individual circumstances, immigration history and priorities. Afterwards, you may wish to instruct us further to liaise with the immigration authorities on your behalf until the approval of your application. You can book a consultation in person or over the phone and after the meeting, we will provide you with a written advice on the best strategy for turning any complex immigration issue into sound solution.


  • Business plan assistance
    Our senior consultants have been involved with business plans drafting since 2008, gaining vast amounts of experience in assisting our clients to make their case persuasive, compelling and above all successful. We can assist you with the business model development, marketing and competitor research, complex funding requirement. We can provide critical, honest and constructive appraisal including recommendations on how to make your plan more attractive to the endorsing bodies


  • Interview assistance
    We have the business expertise and the know how in dealing with owner-managed businesses, and as part of our services, we can also offer mock interviews in order to provide practical guidance to prospective innovators. During the interview, we will discuss and review your answers in terms of marketing research, your role, the projected growth of the company, improvements in profitability an efficiency, risk management, financial forecast and cash-flow management.


  • Immigration application bundle
    Finally, we will assist you with the drafting and preparation of the immigration application bundle. This should make your visa application process more efficient and more cost-effective; it also eliminates any uncertainty and helps to avoid the disappointment and frustration of a refused application and the resulting disruption to your immigration plans.


Contact Our Immigration Team


For expert advice regarding any aspect of Innovator visa application please do not hesitate to contact us for advice. Call us on +44 20 3384 3075, email: [email protected] or use contact form below.

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