The Innovator Founder Visa is for start-up entrepreneurs and experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants do not need to have any specific level of funds to invest in their proposed business, but must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea, supported by a business plan, which has been approved by an endorsing body.
Applicants for an Innovator Founder Visa must have generated, or have significantly contributed to, their business idea. Innovator Founders must also intend to have a key role in the day-to-day management and development of their business.
In order to qualify for an Innovator Founder Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are at least 18 years old;
- You have an endorsement letter from an approved UK endorsing body that confirms that:
- You are a fit and proper person to receive endorsement under the Innovator Founder route;
- The endorsing body has no concerns over the source of any funds invested into your business;
- The endorsing body has no reason to believe that you or your business may be the beneficiary of illicit or unexplained wealth;
- You have a business plan and you either generated or made a significant contribution to the ideas in that business plan;
- You will have a day-to-day role in carrying out the business plan;
- You will have at least two Contact point meetings with the endorsing body at regular intervals;
- You are either the sole founder or an instrumental member of the founding team; and
- You have an innovative, viable and scalable business venture;
- Your endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Innovator visa application;
- You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
- If you are outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months, you have at least £1270 to support yourself, plus £285 for a dependent partner, £315 for a first child and £200 for each additional child;
- Your application does not fall for refusal on general grounds for refusal;
- You have provided a TB test certificate, if required.
Innovator Founder visas are valid for 3 years and can lead directly to indefinite leave to remain in the UK at the end of this period. Innovator Founder Visa applicants can bring their partner and any children under the age of 18 to the UK.
You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.