The Innovator visa is designed to replace the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, which has now closed to new applicants. This route is designed for more experienced business people seeking to establish a business in the UK and who have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea. You must usually have £50,000 available to invest in their new business.
If your application is approved, you will be granted leave to enter the UK for 3 years after which you must apply for a further 2-year extension. After completing 5 years in this category you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Your business idea must be endorsed by an approved endorsement body. The endorsing body will review your business proposal and decide if it meets the innovation, viability and scalability tests. If they believe the business meets these tests, they will produce an endorsement letter about the business. You must also show them that you have at least £50,000 available to invest in this business (the endorsement body may provide the investment funds in certain circumstances).
If you cannot obtain the required endorsement you may wish to consider applying under the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route.
There are other requirements that must be met:
Most people need to apply from outside the UK, although you can apply to switch to the Innovator route if you currently are currently in the UK as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), under the Start-up visa, under the Innovator route, a Tier 2 migrant or a visitor undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur.
You cannot appeal a refusal of an application under this route, although you can ask for administrative review if you think a mistake has been made, although the Home Office will only overturn decisions where there has been a clear error. Because of this, and the high fees involved, it is very important that your application is prepared properly, and the evidence needed is sent to the Secretary of State.
It is advisable to seek specialist immigration advice when preparing your business immigration application. At HS Immigration Consultants we have significant experience in preparing applications for individuals who wish to move to the UK for work and business purposes.
If you would like to contact us about your case and to discuss how we can help you, please call us on 0121 698 2187. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also use our free immigration advice service (this is suitable for general enquiries about immigration requirements).