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UK Innovator Visa 2023: How to Obtain Your Innovator Founder Visa?

Updated July 2023

In addition to being a highly sought-after study, employment, and residency destination, the United Kingdom actively welcomes budding entrepreneurs and forward-thinking individuals from all over the world. With the UK innovator visa, you have the unique opportunity to develop and manage your unique firm within the UK, supporting innovation and enriching the country’s dynamic business environment.

What is the UK innovator visa?

The innovator founder visa allows citizens to move to the United Kingdom and start a business. It is intended for international entrepreneurs who want to start enterprises in the UK.

Once awarded the innovative founder visa, the bearer is authorised to work for their formed business as well as take on supplementary employment, provided the function demands at least RQF Level 3, which is similar to UK A Levels.

Furthermore, with a dependant visa, the visa holder’s immediate family members, such as their partner and dependent children, can join them in the UK. Except for positions as athletes or coaches, these family members are free to engage in any form of profession during their stay. They can also pursue education if they so want.

UK innovator visa requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the UK innovator founder visa:

  • exhibit English language competency at the B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which covers reading, writing, speaking, and interpreting English
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Show proof of sufficient personal savings to support yourself throughout your stay in the UK.
  • aim to create and operate an innovative business in the UK, which should offer a novel product or service not already available in the market.
  • Obtain an endorsement for your firm or business idea from an approved body, often known as an endorsing body.

UK innovator visa application

Endorsing bodies

According to Wego’s study, in order to apply for a UK innovator visa, you must first acquire an endorsement from a UK endorsing authority. These endorsing bodies are organisations approved by the Home Office to assess applicants’ eligibility for the innovator founder visa. Please see this list of authorised Endorsing Bodies that can provide innovator founder visa endorsements.

You will be required to demonstrate to the endorsing organisation that you have sufficient funding for your business venture and disclose details about the source of these funds during the endorsement process.

However, if either of the following conditions apply, you are not obligated to show any investment funds:

  • Your company is already established and has been approved for a different visa.
  • You have made revisions to your business plan and have gained permission from your endorsing body.

Required documents

  • a ‘endorsement letter’ to prove that an endorsing body has examined your firm or business proposal.
  • a current passport or other proof proving your identity and nationality
  • bank statements demonstrating that you have held at least £1,270 in savings in your bank account for 28 days prior to applying
  • evidence that you have met the English language requirement
  • your tuberculosis test results if you live in a nation where the test is required

UK innovator visa application process

According to an official government source, you will need to authenticate your identification and provide the relevant documentation before applying for a UK innovator visa. If you need to make an appointment for this purpose, you should plan ahead of time. When you begin your application, you will be informed whether an appointment is required.

If you do need to make an appointment:

  • Your passport and paperwork may be held by the centre while they process your application. You may be required to go to your nearest visa application centre (which may be in another country).
  • You can begin applying for the innovator founder visa online here after establishing your identification.

UK innovator visa processing time

After you’ve applied online, proven your identity, and submitted your documents, you should receive a decision on your visa within three weeks.

UK innovator visa fee

The fee for the innovator founder visa is £1,036 per individual. If you want to apply for your partner and children, you must pay the same price for each of them.

Notably, you must pay the visa cost for any individual who applies concurrently with you or later to join you in the UK.

You will also be required to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Before you apply, you can find out how much you’ll have to pay.

UK innovator visa extension

The innovator founder visa has a three-year validity period.

If you have an innovative founder visa and want to continue operating your firm in the UK or start a new one, you can normally seek for a visa extension.

It is important to remember, however, that if you have a partner or child on a dependent visa, their visa will not be automatically renewed along with yours. Their visa will be valid till the date it was issued. They have two choices for ensuring their continuous presence in the UK:

  1. They can apply for an extension at the same time you apply for a visa extension.
  2. They can also request for an extension at any point before their existing visa expires.

Furthermore, if you want to extend your innovator founder visa, you must have your firm or business idea reviewed by an approving organisation. This evaluation is required as part of the visa extension process.

UK innovator visa path to citizenship

If the applicant is applying for settlement (indefinite permission to remain), the endorsement letter must state that the endorsement conditions are still met and that the business is viable for at least the next 12 months.

You settle in the UK by obtaining indefinite leave to reside. It provides you the right to live, work, and study in the country for as long as you like and to seek for benefits if you qualify. It is possible to utilise it to apply for British citizenship.

Eligibility

To be eligible for UK innovator visa settlement, the candidate must meet the conditions.

  • resided in the UK for three years on an innovation founder or innovator visa – time spent in the UK on any other visa is not allowed.
  • a new endorsement demonstrating that you’ve met the standards for expanding your business

Requirement

If you are between the ages of 18 and 64, you must pass the Life in the UK Test.

Time outside the UK

You must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months.

Fee

It costs £2,404 for each person applying. In addition, you will each need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken – there’s no fee for this.

Processing time

You will usually get a decision within 6 months for the UK innovator visa settlement.

FAQs :-

How to apply Innovative Founder visa UK?

How to apply for the Innovator Founder visa. As with an application for either a start-up or innovator visa, under the new innovator founder route the applicant must have been issued with an endorsement letter by an authorised body no more than 3 months before the date of application.

Who is eligible for innovator founder endorsement?

the applicant's business is active, trading and sustainable. the applicant has made significant progress against a previously endorsed business plan. the business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as either a director or member of that business.

What is innovator founder route 2023?

The Innovator Founder visa, launched on 13 April 2023, is a new immigration route designed for entrepreneurs wishing to establish a UK business based on an idea they have generated or significantly contributed to. It replaces two visa routes: the innovator visa and the start-up visa.

Is innovator visa changed in the UK in 2023?

From 13 April 2023, the Innovator route, which makes provision for overseas nationals seeking entry for the purpose of establishing an innovative business, will be replaced by the Innovator Founder route. The Innovator Founder route will be a route to settlement in the UK.

How much funds do I need for UK Start-up visa?

The Start-up visa category is aimed at new entrepreneurs starting their first UK business and has no requirements for initial capital investment. To qualify for a visa, applicants must first obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body confirming that their business is innovative, viable and scalable.

What is the success rate of Innovator visa in the UK?

87.8% For the UK Innovator visa (now the Innovator Founder visa), the average success rate between 2019-2022 was 87.8%. While the success rates for these business visas appear high, it is important to remember that all cases are assessed on their own merits.

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