Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa is intended for experienced entrepreneurs who is eager to open or develop their own business in the United Kingdom. Innovator visa applicants must obtain the authorized organizations approval by submitting a business plan that reflects the innovation, viability and scalability of the project.

Applicants must be ready to invest at least £50000 into their business except for certain cases. The initial Innovator visa is issued for 3 years and can be extended for another 3 years. This visa category holders will be able to apply for permanent residence in 5 years and for citizenship in 6 years after the initial entry to the UK.

On March 29, 2019, the Innovator visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur immigration visa. The new visa category is designed to attract investment in sustainable, innovative and scalable business projects in the UK, stimulating country’s economic growth.

You will need £50000 for business investment except the cases when you switch to an Innovator visa from a Tier 1 graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up visa, or renew your Innovator visa as part of an existing business. You will need to come up with an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea so the authorized organization will approve it.

The Innovator visa does not require the applicant to be the sole founder of a business – you can become a member of the innovator team. Nevertheless each business partner in the innovator team is required to invest £50000. This amount cannot be divided by the number of participants. Under the terms of the Innovator visa, each team member must be ready for £50000 investment.

Applicants must obtain authorized organization approval that evaluates the business project and all necessary documentation in terms of innovation, viability, reliability, and scalability. In case the business project meets these conditions then the authorized organization will send written approval to the British MFA (Home Office).

Innovativeness. The applicant must have an original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and privilege.

Viability. The visa applicant has to have the skills, experience and necessary knowledge for running a business or develops them actively.

Scalability. The business project should contain structured plan, opportunities for job creation, and prospects growth for the British market.

The authorized organization that approves business projects must ensure that the applicant will devote all of their working time in the UK to developing their business. After the application approved, Innovator visa holders are required to stay in touch with the authorized organization, which will check them after 6, 12 and 24 months to confirm that the migrant is constantly working within the framework of their business project.

The initial Innovator visa is issued for 3 years and can be extended for another 3 years multiple times. This visa category holders can apply for permanent residence after 5 years they live in the UK. After 12 months, permanent residents of the UK are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Innovator visa application requirements (initial visa):

  • The applicant must be an adult (over 18 years of age).
  • The business (or business project) must be approved by a special organization authorized by the British home office (Home Office).
  • Applicants must provide sufficient savings prove to support themselves without applying for public funds. Applicants must have at least £945 in their Bank account within 90 days prior to submitting their application in addition to the required investment.
  • The applicant must be fluent in English and show at least B2 level on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) scale. Language skills should be at this level in reading, writing, speaking and language understanding. There are exceptions to this rule: this requirement is not applied to citizens of English-speaking countries, as well as to applicants with a bachelor, master, or doctor of science (PhD) degree, which are obtained in English and recognized by NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre).


Investment requirements  

• The immigration rules relating to requirements for investment are rather complex. The British MFA (Home Office) will reject all applications if there is insufficient evidence that the investment capital belongs to the applicants and can be invested in the UK.
• Applicants can form a new team with other Innovator visa applicants, but they are not allowed to use the same investment. Each applicant is required to pay a sum in the amount of a minimum of £50000.

Innovator visa terms of staying in the UK:

You can:

  • Open a business (or several businesses).
  • Work for your business – as a head of the company or
  • partner in shared-equity construction.
  • Bring financially dependent family members to the UK.
  • Apply for permanent residence after 5 years of residence in the UK.
  • Renew the Innovator visa multiple times.


You cannot:

  • Work outside of your business (for example, being employed by an employee in other companies).
  • Work as a doctor or study to be a dentist.
  • Work as a professional sportsman.
  • Receive government funding.

Switching to Innovator visa

An applicant has a right to switch to an Innovator visa if they are already in the UK on certain types of business visas.

Application processing time:

  • You can apply no earlier than 3 months prior to your trip to the UK. You will receive a decision on your application within 3 weeks after documents submission.
  • Priority visa service is available for those entry to the UK applications that take 10-15 days to make a decision. However, there is no guarantee that the application will be processed faster using priority service: the processing time depends on the case complicacy, the applicant’s personal circumstances, and the number of applications being processed in the current period.
  • Applicants who stay in the UK and apply for an innovator visa from a different category will have approximately 8-12 weeks of processing period.


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