Innovator Founder Visa
You can apply for an Innovator Founder visa if:
- you want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK – it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
- your business or business idea has been endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body
- you meet the other eligibility requirements
This visa used to be called the Innovator visa.
You must be able to show that your business idea is:
- new – you cannot join a business that is already trading
- innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
- viable, with potential for growth
- scalable – you must give evidence of planning that includes creating jobs and growing into national and international markets
You’ll need to get an endorsing body to assess that your business idea meets the requirements.
Knowledge of English
You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.
For more information on our Innovator Founder Visas, please get in contact where we would love to discuss further on how we could help you.Learn More
How long you can stay
You can stay for 3 years if you either:
- come to the UK on an Innovator Founder visa
- switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK
You’ll need to meet with your endorsing body after 12 months and 24 months to show you’re making progress with your business. Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn by the endorsing body. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.
If you want to stay longer in the UK
You can apply to extend your stay for another 3 years when your visa is due to expire. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend.
You may be able to apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years.
How to apply
You must apply online.
How you apply depends on whether you’re:
- outside the UK and are coming to the UK
- inside the UK and extending your current visa
- inside the UK and switching from a different visa
Your partner and children can apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible.
How long it takes
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.
Getting a decision
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:
- 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
- 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK
If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.
How much you pay for an Innovator Founder visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.
Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch (in the UK)
You £1,036 £1,292
Your partner and children £1,036 each person £1,292 each person
You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK
You’ll also need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken – there’s no fee for this.
What you can and cannot do
With an Innovator Founder visa you can:
- set up a business or several businesses
- work for your business – this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
- do work outside your business, as long as it’s ‘skilled work’ – for example, a job on the Skilled Worker eligible occupations list or a job needing at least a level 3 qualification
- bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years and meet the other eligibility requirements
- work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
- apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with an Innovator Founder visa.
The option to obtain an Overseas Media Representative Visa is available for individuals who wish to work in the UK as representatives of overseas media organisations on long-term assignments.
The Innovator Founder Visa offers entrepreneurs a unique pathway for their startup to join the UK economy.
This Minister of Religion Visa is designed to provide visa holders with tailored protection to allow them to fulfill their religious duties throughout their stay.
The Frontier Worker Permit provides an easy, convenient way to obtain special access to work in the Frontier. By simply obtaining this permit, you will have all the necessary permissions and clearance to work without delay.
The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is an ideal solution for those looking to extend their stay in the country for longer periods. It provides the necessary rights and permissions to live and work as domestic workers in an another country.
Under the Service Providers from Switzerland route, eligible employers, companies, or self-employed individuals have the opportunity to enter into contracts with a UK-based party for a maximum duration of 90 days per calendar year.
The Scale-up Worker Visa route offers a streamlined process for highly skilled workers to enter the UK.
Get in Touch
With years of experience working in UK immigration and British nationality law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps to obtain your visa. Get in touch today.