Innovative Founder Visa

Innovative Founder Visa

The Innovator Founder Visa is for international entrepreneurs who have an innovative, viable, and scalable business proposal that has been approved by a designated endorsing body.

Awards and Accreditations

Innovator Visa Overview

You can apply for a UK Innovative Founder Visa if you want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK. The business must be innovative and unlike anything else on the market. Your business must have been endorsed by a designated endorsing body. The Innovative Founder Visa replaced the Innovator Visa in March 2023. 

Applicants for a UK Innovator Founder Visa must have formulated their own business idea or made a substantial contribution to its founding.  Innovator Founders must also intend to play a significant role in bringing their idea to market and commercializing their product.

Visas for Innovator Founders are valid for three years and can lead directly to indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom at the conclusion of this period.  Applicants for the Innovator Founder Visa may be accompanied to the UK by their spouse and dependent children.

Eligibility Requirements for a UK Innovative Founder Visa

To qualify for an Innovative Founder Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old,
  • Your business idea must have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has positively assessed your new business idea for innovation, viability and scalability and is satisfied that you will spend your entire working time in the UK on developing your business venture,
  • You genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in your application,
  • You do not intend to work in the UK other than for the business(es) you have established,
  • You are competent in the English language to at least IELTS 5.5, and
  • You can maintain and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds and have sufficient liquid cash savings held in a regulated financial institution.

Investment Funds

The immigration rules do not specify a minimum amount of funds that you must invest into your proposed business. In practise, however, the requirement to have a “viable” and “scalable” business idea means that you will need to demonstrate that you have access to sufficient investment funds to launch and develop your business.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Your initial Innovative Founder visa will be valid for 3 years. It is possible to extend an Innovative Founder Visa for a further 3-year period.  There is no maximum time limit in the category.

You will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) after spending 3 years in the Innovative Founder Visa route. In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as an Innovator you must again be endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that is satisfied that you have shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement, you are a registered with Companies House as a Director or Member of your business, your business is active, trading and appears sustainable for at least the following 12 months, you have had an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business and you will spend your entire working time in the UK on developing your business ventures.
You will also have to satisfy at least two of the following:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering your business plan,
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary for at least £25,000 a year,
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers with no average salary requirement,
  • The number of customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services,
  • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK,
  • The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts, and
  • The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.

In order to qualify for permanent residence in the UK you will also need to have spent not more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period during the 3 year period of your visa and have sufficient knowledge of English and Life in the UK.

You will need to stay in contact with your endorsing body with checkpoints at 6, 12 and 24 months after your application is successful.  The endorsing body will need to be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business venture and have demonstrated reasonable progress in relation to either your original or a new business idea that is innovative, scalable and viable. Your endorsement may be withdrawn, and your leave curtailed if this is not the case.

Switching into the UK Innovative Founder Visa

You may switch your status into the UK Innovative Founder Visa route from other routes unless your current leave to remain is as a, Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Short-term Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or as a person with leave outside the Immigration Rules.

Next Steps

Our team of immigration lawyers has experience in assisting all types of startup businesses.  Our lawyers are experts in the immigration options for startups and will guide you through the complex Home Office rules and policies.

For further information, please schedule a consultation.

See also:

Contact Us

UK Legal Advice

Book your UK visa application appointment in USA.

UK Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

Our team of UK immigration lawyers will handle your case promptly and diligently until you achieve the desired outcome. Your dedicated UK immigration attorney will provide you with an estimated processing period for your case and keep you informed through each stage of the UK visa process. To expedite the processing of your application, we will ensure that your forms are meticulously completed and that you provide sufficient supporting documentation.

However, please note that the UKVI processing time depends on several factors including the volume of cases the UKVI is receiving and whether there are any priority programs where UKVI gives precedence to applicants from war torn countries or countries affected by natural disasters.

We can offer a fast-track service if your application is time sensitive. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about this package and all the services provided by our immigration lawyers.

Hiring one of our qualified UK immigration attorneys can offer several benefits when applying for a visa. Here are some of the advantages:

  1. Expertise and Knowledge: Our UK immigration attorneys specialize in all aspects of UK immigration law and are well-versed in the complexities of the UK visa application process. They stay updated with the latest changes in immigration laws and regulations, ensuring that your application is accurate and compliant.
  2. Personalized Advice: Our immigration attorneys can assess your specific circumstances, understand your immigration goals, and provide tailored advice based on your situation. They can determine the most suitable visa category for you, explain the requirements, and help you gather the necessary supporting documents.
  3. Application Preparation: Immigration lawyers can assist you in completing and organizing your visa application. They have experience in preparing the necessary paperwork, filling out forms correctly, and ensuring that all required documentation is included. This can help reduce the chances of errors or omissions that could lead to delays or a rejected application.
  4. Increased Approval Chances: With their expertise, our qualified UK immigration lawyers can identify any potential weaknesses or issues in your application and address them proactively. They can highlight your qualifications, skills, and experiences effectively to demonstrate your eligibility for the visa. This can increase your chances of a successful application.
  5. Legal Representation: If your visa application is complex or encounters challenges, having one of our skilled immigration lawyers on your side can be invaluable. They can communicate with the UK Home Office or immigration authorities on your behalf, prepare detailed and persuasive legal submissions and provide guidance throughout the process.

Time and Stress Management: Navigating the UK visa application process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the requirements. By hiring one of our immigration lawyers, you can offload the paperwork, legal aspects, and administrative tasks to them, allowing you to focus on other important matters.

Our experienced UK immigration attorneys provide specialist legal advice and representation on all aspects of UK immigration law, to individuals and businesses. Our services can be classified as:

  • Initial Immigration Consultations
  • Immigration Application Preparation and Submission (Full Representation)
  • Immigration Application Checking Service
  • Sponsor License Applications and Corporate Immigration Services

Regardless of the service you require, you can be assured that you will have direct access to a specialist UK immigration lawyer who has an in-depth understanding of UK immigration law and procedure. Our flexible services are delivered professionally and are tailored to your individual situation. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about our cost-effective UK immigration solutions and the services provided by our immigration lawyers.