The Innovator Visa

Are you an entrepreneur? The Innovator Visa could be the best way for you to start your company or develop your business idea in the UK. This is also an excellent route for business people who already have an established and successful business in another country, and are looking to expand into the UK market. It is possible to do this as a single person or with a business partner. While you may apply as a team, to apply for this visa you will need to be investing in a fresh idea, not joining a business that already exists. When you apply for an Innovator Visa, you will be able to enjoy settlement in the UK and then become a British citizen after some time.

First Steps

The first step to take when you are looking to apply for an Innovator Visa is to have your idea endorsed, then you must start a company. As an entrepreneur, you will need to have an active role in the development of the idea both in the UK market and other potential geographic areas.

As your business grows, you will need to stay true to the projections you presented when you applied for the visa, and account for jobs and revenue created, and any growth that takes place.


While the Innovator Visa is a wonderful way to come to the UK, there are some requirements you will need to fulfil, both personal and financial.

The personal requirements include that you should be over eighteen years old, and you will need to be able to support yourself and any dependents (family members) who come with you. It is also necessary for you to have a good grasp of English at Level B2, have generally good health, and be able to show a clean criminal record.

You will also need to meet certain levels of experience and education, as well as having a minimum of £50,000 to invest into your company. The idea will need to be endorsed, and you will need to be able to show a business plan. As a team of entrepreneurs, each investor must have this amount. This can be stated in the endorsement letter without the need for further proof of funds.

How long will it take to apply?

For an Innovator Visa, you should have a decision in around three weeks. This does not include the amount of time it will take you to prepare your valid business plan and however long it takes to get your endorsement.

The Advantages

The UK market is an excellent place for entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas. The Innovator Visa will allow you to grow your business into this market and open up a whole new realm of customers. The UK market is also an excellent profit generator, and you will be able to create more jobs and have a real impact on the community. You will also be able to get a British passport eventually and bring your family to the UK on the Innovator Visa.

You will be able to extend your visa as many times as you wish, as the first visa will be for a three year period. Every three years, it will be possible for you to begin a brand new business venture, giving you access to infinite potential and possibilities.

Getting Endorsement

In order to have your business idea endorsed, it will need to be assessed by a body relevant to your idea. They will need to see that your idea is fresh and new, that you will be able to carry it out, and that it is scalable. The endorsing body will often require a business plan.

In order to gain endorsement, the endorsing body will wish to see that your idea is innovative. This means that your product or service must not already exist on the UK market.

What you need for endorsement

You will also need to prove that it is viable - which means that the idea must be future-proof. You will need to display your skills and experience as relevant to your idea in order to prove that you will be able to move the idea forward.

Finally, your idea must be scalable. This means that you will understand likely moves the market will make and that you can encourage growth, providing jobs in the UK and beyond.


Once you have your Innovator Visa, you will have check-ins with your endorsing body at month six, month twelve, and month twenty-four to ensure that you are progressing appropriately. At any of these points, your endorsing body may possibly withdraw, and you will be required to find a new endorsement and submit a new application. If you are unable to do this, then your visa will be cancelled.

Getting Endorsement

In order to have your business idea endorsed, it will need to be assessed by a body relevant to your idea. They will need to see that your idea is fresh and new, that you will be able to carry it out, and that it is scalable. The endorsing body will often require a business plan.


For settlement, you must not have been away from the UK for over 180 days in any twelve-month time frame in the previous three years. All adults in your application will be required to pass both an English Language and Life in the UK test. Your business will need to meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • An increase in customers that goes above the market average
  • A gross venue of £1 million during the past year
  • A gross venue of £500,000 during the past year, with £100,000 being from exports
  • 10 full-time positions for workers in the UK
  • 5 full-time jobs with a salary of £25,000
  • You must have spent at least £50,000 on the running of your UK company
  • You must show research patents and activities regarding the development

British Citizenship

Once you have been in the UK for five years, you and your dependents can be naturalised as British citizens and get a British passport in the twelve-month period after gaining ILR. You must have spent no more than 450 days outside of the UK in the past five years and less than ninety days in the past twelve months.

Need Immigration Advice? Call Fusco Browne Today

If you are unsure as to whether you meet the requirements to be a British citizen or if you can apply to become a British citizen, then Fusco Browne can help. We are experienced in a wide range of immigration laws and understand that every case is different. Get in touch with us if you need advice on becoming a British citizen, and we can support you every step of the way.

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