The innovator founder visa was introduced in April 2023 for non-UK residents seeking to establish a business in the UK. This visa category is the ultimate choice for foreign entrepreneurs, replacing both the Innovator route and Start-up visa.
The innovator founder visa incorporates the most appealing aspects of its predecessor routes, including:
- No minimum investment requirement of £50,000
- Reduced 'check in' requirement with endorsing body – only two, instead of three under the start-up rules
- Permitted secondary employment under certain conditions.
- Path to UK settlement – time spent in the UK under this route can contribute towards fulfilling the residence requirement for indefinite leave to remain.
To be eligible, the business must receive endorsement by demonstrating that it is based on an innovative, viable, and scalable idea that the applicant has either generated or significantly contributed to. The innovator founder route allows successful applicants to come to the UK to put their business plans into practice.
Only organisations authorised by the Home Office can provide the required endorsement. These organisations, as listed on the Home Office website, are:
- Envestors Limited
- UK Endorsing Services
- Innovator International
- The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)
The previous Innovator route endorsing bodies, known as legacy endorsing bodies, can continue to endorse applicants who entered the Innovator visa scheme before 13 April 2023. However, they will only endorse applicants for the same business idea used in a previous application.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the Innovator Founder Visa Cost?
The innovator founder visa application costs depend on where you are applying from. Main applicants applying from overseas must pay £1,036, or the cost is £1,292 if applying from within the UK to switch or extend status.
Does this visa route lead to settlement?
Innovator founders are initially granted permission to live and work in the UK for a maximum period of 3 years, at which stage, provided you meet the relevant requirements, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain, otherwise known as settlement.
Can I bring dependents?
Your immediate relatives can also accompany you or follow on and join you in the UK under a dependant visa. This includes your partner and any dependent children. As dependants, your family members will be permitted to undertake any type of work during their stay, including self-employment and voluntary work, except as a sportsperson or coach. They can also pursue any studies.
Why Choose UK Visas?
UK Visas provide a comprehensive Skilled Worker Visa Service. Whether you’re arranging sponsorship for the first time, or need ongoing support for your recruitment requirements, the rules and regulations can seem overwhelming.
As UK Visa experts, we steer thousands of companies through the licence process. We’ll support your application so you can rest assured your experience will be as stress-free as possible.