UK Innovator Visas

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UK Innovator Visas

The Innovator visa UK is intended for business people who have an innovative idea that they wish to implement in the UK. The idea will be for a new business and not one that is already in existence. It should also be a viable idea with potential for growth. The visa is available to those working on their own, in a joint venture or as part of a team.

The business or business idea will need to be approved by an endorsing body, and you will need to meet the necessary eligibility requirements. If your application is successful, you will be able to stay in the UK for three years, and this can be extended for three years each time it is due to expire. There is also potential to apply to settle in the UK after you have been here for three years under an Innovator visa.

At IBB Law, we have a strong understanding of the complex Innovator visa application process, and we can put together a strong application on your behalf, giving you the best possible chance of success. Our expert immigration solicitors have wide experience across a full range of visas as well as in dealing with visa rejections and refusals.

As well as our legal expertise, we provide an exceptional service to those wishing to move to the UK to live and work. We deal with visa applications proactively, ensuring there are no avoidable delays, and ensure we keep you updated. We will answer your questions as they arise and talk through your options with you to make sure you have selected the right route to the UK for your particular circumstances.

As well as dealing with applications for the Innovator visa UK, we can also help with all other types of UK work visas.

Complete support for UK Innovator visa applications

We represent individuals from around the world who wish to come to the UK to set up a business. Our immigration services include:

  • Going through your situation to ensure that the UK Innovator Visa is the right choice and advising you as to your eligibility
  • Preparing an Innovator visa application on your behalf
  • Putting together the right documentation in support of your application
  • Innovator visa guidance and representation in respect of rejections and refusals
  • Renewing an Innovator visa
  • Switching to an Innovator visa from another visa
  • Bringing your partner and children to the UK as a holder of an Innovator visa

For more information in respect of the services we offer to those seeking a visa, see UK business immigration lawyers.

Why choose IBB Law for help with applying for a UK Innovator visa?

Our experts in UK immigration at IBB Law offer:

  • In-depth knowledge of UK Immigration laws, policies and procedures.
  • Hands on support from experts who keep up-to-date with developments in the law so that you always receive practical and accurate advice.
  • A cost-effective and timely service with great attention to detail.
  • Independently accredited immigration expertise with our team being ranked by leading client guide the Legal 500 for Immigration Law.

Looking for immediate help with a UK Innovator visa application?

If you are considering making a UK Innovator visa application, our experienced team will be happy to hear from you.

For innovator visa guidance and to discuss your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email

How to apply for an Innovator visa for the UK

In our guide below, we set out more information in respect of the Innovator visa and how to apply in the following sections:

Making an Innovator visa application

Application for a UK Innovator visa must be made online. As well as submitting the application and relevant documents, you will also need to take your passport or other national identity document to a visa application centre. They will also take your photograph and fingerprints. They may need to retain your passport or identity document while your application is processed. Alternatively, you may be able to provide your passport via the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

The Innovator visa success rate was around 85% in the first months of its inception. Representation by an expert immigration solicitor will give you the best possible chance of success in this type of application. Our team have a high level of experience in dealing with UK Visas and Immigration and can put together a strong application on your behalf.

What is the difference between an Innovator visa and a Start-up visa?

The Innovator visa and Start-up visas are relatively new, established in 2019. The Innovator visa is aimed at experienced business people. Applicants will need £50,000 to invest in their idea under the Innovator visa, but this is not required for the Start-up visa.

The Start-up visa can be used by those with less or no business experience who want to establish a new business in the UK. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their idea has good potential. An endorsement is still required, and again, the proposal must demonstrate innovation, viability and scalability.

You can take on other work under a Start-up visa. However, if you have an Innovator visa, you may only work in your business.

The Innovator visa runs for three years, while the Start-up visa lasts for two. While the Innovator visa can be extended repeatedly if required, the Start-up visa cannot be extended. Those with a Start-up visa will need to consider switching to a different visa at the end of the term, such as an Innovator visa.

The Innovator visa is a potential route to settling in the UK long-term under Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Innovator visa refusals and rejections

If your application for an Innovator visa is refused or rejected, you are recommended to seek legal advice. It may be possible to make another application if errors have been made in the initial one. Alternatively, you may be able to request an administrative review of the decision if a mistake was made by UK Visas and Immigration.

Where the process was not correctly followed by the authorities or the refusal of your visa was unlawful or unreasonable, you may be able to request a judicial review of the refusal.

Renewing an Innovator visa

If you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for a UK Innovator visa and you are still running your business or wish to set up a new one, you can apply to extend or renew your visa. This should be done before your existing visa expires.

You will need to have your business or your new business idea approved by an endorsing body before you apply to renew. If you wish to set up a new business, you will need £50,000 to invest in it.

Alternatives to an Innovator visa

If an Innovator visa is not right for your circumstances, you could consider an alternative, such as:

Start-up visa – for individuals with a promising and innovative business idea that has the potential for growth.

Global Talent visa – for those with talent and promise who wish to live and work in the UK, to include setting up a business.

Frontier Worker permit – suitable for those who work in the UK but live mainly in a different country.

Innovator visa fees

If you will be applying from outside of the UK, the Innovator visa fee is £1,021. The same amount is also payable for each application in respect of your partner and children if they will be accompanying you.

If you are in the UK and wish to apply to extend or switch to an Innovator visa, the fee is £1,277. Again, this is also payable by each individual who will be applying to come with you.

You will also be required to pay the UK healthcare surcharge of £624 per year as part of the application process. This is reduced to £470 for those under the age of 18.

What rights does an Innovator visa give you?

If you are granted an Innovator visa, you will be able to set up your business, or more than one business, in the UK and work in that business, either as a self-employed person or as a company director. You will also be able to travel overseas and return to the UK.

You will be entitled to stay in the UK for up to three years, provided your endorsement remains in place. Qualifying family members can also come to the UK with you.

Once you have lived in the UK for three years, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, allowing you to settle permanently in the country, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

Under the terms of an Innovator visa, you cannot work outside of your business, and you will not be entitled to most benefits.

Innovator visa requirements

You can apply for an Innovator visa in the following circumstances:

  • You have an idea for an innovative business to be run in the UK, i.e. something that is different from anything else on the market
  • The business idea has been approved by an endorsing body, which is an organisation that has UK Visas and Immigration authority to give approval
  • You meet the required English language standards
  • You are at least 18
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK, i.e. £1,270
  • If you want to set up a new business, you have a minimum of £50,000 to invest. If more than one person is involved in the business and applying for a visa, each person needs to have this amount to invest.

Your business idea must be:

  • New, and not a business that has already been established
  • Innovative, i.e. an original idea and not similar to existing enterprises
  • Viable and scalable, i.e. with potential to grow

You will need to present your business idea to the endorsing body, who will assess it for the above criteria. You will also need to satisfy them that you will spend your time in the UK working wholly on developing the business. They will write to UK Visas and Immigration reporting on your business proposal and whether they are able to endorse it.

Supporting documents for an Innovator visa

As well as providing valid identity documentation such as your passport and having your biometric information processed, you will also need to provide the following:

  • A letter of endorsement from an endorsing body approved by the government
  • Bank statements showing that you hold a minimum of £1,270 in savings. You will need to show that this has been in your account for at least 28 consecutive days
  • Evidence that you meet the minimum standard of English language required, which could be by providing a relevant exam result or by passing a Secure English Language Test from a government-approved provider
  • Evidence of your investment funds of £50,000 if you will be setting up a business
  • Tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where this is required
  • A certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh

Your passport will need to have an available blank page in it for the visa.

Other documents may also be required.

How long does it take to get an Innovator visa?

UK Visas and Immigration aim to provide a result within three weeks of receiving your application and proof of identity if you are applying from outside of the UK. If you are applying from within the UK, the decision should be received within eight weeks.

There may be an option to pay to have a faster decision, should you need this.

Get immediate expert advice on applying for a UK Innovator visa

Applying for an Innovator visa can be complicated, requiring a range of accompanying documentation as well as acceptance of your business by an endorsing body. Our team of expert immigration lawyers have a strong track record of success in dealing with UK visa applications, and we can advise you of your options should any difficulties arise.

For innovator visa guidance and to discuss your needs with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email