The Innovator Founder visa category is for individuals who have either held previous business experience or are start-up entrepreneurs and are looking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants of this category must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea supporting by an endorsing body.
The applicant can be a sole founder of the business or part of an entrepreneurial team.
Once successful, an applicant will receive a visa which is valid for 3 years. Once the applicant has spent a continuous 3-year period on the innovator founder visa, the applicant may apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
You are allowed to make an initial application in the UK for leave to remain as an innovator founder visa holder if you have not or last been granted permission:
There are 3 ways in which you can show you meet the English language requirement. These include:
In order to qualify for entry clearance or leave to remain under the innovator founder visa, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependants). The maintenance requirement is detailed below:
You would meet the requirements if you have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more on the date of application.
You may apply for an Innovator founder visa under the “new business” criteria if:
The applicant’s business venture meets all of the requirements below:
The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
The applicant’s business plan must be realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
The applicant has or be actively developing the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.
The endorsing body must be reasonably satisfied that the applicant meets the above requirements and will be involved in the day to day management and development of their business and this must be stated in the endorsement letter.
You may apply for an Innovator founder visa under the “same business” criteria if:
If you have or have last had permission as an Innovator Founder, you need to demonstrate that you have attended at least 2 Contact point meetings with your Endorsing Body at regular intervals during your period of permission or similar regular checkpoint assessments with your Legacy Endorsing Body; and confirm that you will have at least two Contact point meetings with the endorsing body at regular intervals during your period of permission.
You must show that the business is active, trading and sustainable and that you must have made significant progress against your business plan. You must ensure that your business is registered with Companies House and you must be listed as a director or member of that business.
You must also be involved in the day-to-day management and development of your business.
Applicants wishes to apply under this category must be endorsed in this category by an endorsing body or Legacy Endorsing Body listed on the gov.uk website.
The endorsement letter must not be issued more than 3 months before the date of application.
In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain under the Innovator founder visa, you must have:
The ways in which you can prove that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language is the same as explained above, under section titled “English Language Requirement”. To prove that you have sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom, you must pass a “Life in the UK test” administered by a recognised body.
Applicants must have spent a continuous 3 year period in the UK as a holder of the Innovator founder visa to qualify for settlement. When this 3 year period is counter backwards from depends on when it is most beneficial to the applicant. It may be considered from:
During this 3 year period, you can only be absent from the UK for maximum total of 180 days during any consecutive 12 month period. There are certain exceptions.
Your business venture must have met at least 2 of the following requirements:
If you are relying on the creation of jobs, you must also ensure the following is met:
Applicants cannot rely on the same criterion twice. For example, an investment of £100,000 will only have met one criterion; it will not be counted as an investment of £50,000 made twice.
If you are part of an entrepreneurial team, each applicant cannot share the same means of meeting the criteria. For example, if 2 applicants are relying on the creation of 10 jobs, a total of 20 jobs must have been created.