The Innovator Founder visa was created in 2019 and is a pathway towards permanent residence, it allows experienced business entrepreneurs to establish and grow a company in the UK. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for 3 years to help drive economic growth in the country.
Entrepreneurs who want to build a business in the UK. Applicants can apply with their spouse/partner and dependent children.
How Long Can You Stay?
Up to 3 years. After this period you can apply for permanent residency.
After you have submitted your online application, proved your identity and provided the relevant documents, 90% of applicants are processed within 3 weeks.
What is a Innovator FOunder Company?
The UK government defines a Innovator Founder company including start ups as a “business that must have a innovative, viable and scalable business idea, supported by a business plan, which has been approved by an endorsing body“.
There is no minimum investment amount.
Current Business Endorsing Bodies
- Envestors Limited
- UK Endorsing Services
- Innovator International
- The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)
Eligibility for Innovator Founder visa
In order to qualify for this visa you must meet several minimum requirements.
- Have a business or business idea accepted by an approved body
- Prove you have enough money to support yourself, normally £1,270
- Speak, read, write and understand English to a minimum standard
English Language Requirement
You must prove that you can speak, read, write and understand English. To do this, you must pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
Firstly, if you are a citizen of any of the below nations you are exempt from SELT.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
The International English Language Test (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to the UK.
Your ability to listen, read, write and speak in English will be assessed during the test. IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9.
You will be required to achieve at least 7.0 overall for this visa and in each category, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
Innovator Founder Visa UK Cost
You must have sufficient funds when applying for the Innovator Founder visa, the total minimum costs will vary depending on your circumstances.
When applying within the UK such as to extend your current Innovator Founder visa or to switch from another visa. You will pay £1,292 for up to 3 years.
When applying from outside the UK the fee will be £1,036.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) entitles you to use the NHS if you become unwell or have an accident while in the UK.
You have to pay the IHS even if you do not use the NHS or even if you have your own private health insurance, the cost is £624 per year.
If you are applying for a 3-year visa you will have to pay £624 each year, therefore you will have to pay a total of £1872.
You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK, a bank statement will suffice.
The financial requirement is that you show you have enough money for your living costs for yourself and dependants while you move to the UK.
You do not need to show funds it you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with permission on the date of application.
Documentation required for Innovator Visa UK
You must bring relevant documentation that will require some preparation before arriving in the UK. Although, This will vary depending on your occupation, nationality and length of stay.
- Provide an endorsement letter from an approved body
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- A valid passport for the entirety of the visa
- Bank statement proving sufficient funds
Criminal Record Certificate
If you are applying for certain jobs mostly in the public sector such as healthcare, welfare and education sectors. You will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which, since the age of 18, you have been present for 12 months or more in the 10 years before the date of your application.
For most applicants you must prove your identity by booking an appointment at a Visa Application Centre in your current country. The appointment will include collecting your fingerprints, facial photograph and signature. The UK government website has a list of addresses for each eligible country.
Can I bring my family?
This visa will allow family members to join the main applicant in the UK, they are known as “dependants”. You don’t have to be a permanent resident or have an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK to bring your family members. The cost for each adult dependant is £285, £315 for one child and £200 for additional children as of July 2023.
Dependants over 18 can work full time in any profession throughout with no restrictions. The length of time allowed to stay is the same as the main applicants work visa.
Can this lead to British citizenship?
Yes, the first step to becoming a British citizen is being granted a visa that contributes towards the 3 year requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
There are 3 main stages to being granted British citizenship.
- Live and Work in the UK for 3 years on a work visa
- Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- Apply for Naturalisation/British citizenship
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