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Tier 1 UK Innovator Visa Scheme

This page contains the latest information relating to the new Innovator Visa route announced by the government as a replacement of the Entrepreneur Visa as a method to start a business in the United Kingdom. Until April applicants can still apply for the Entrepreneur Visa, and should call us to decide whether to apply now or in April under the new system on 0207 118 4546.

When does the new Tier 1 Innovator Visa Route Open?

The government believes that they will be taking applications for the new visa in April 2019, although this might be delayed.

Clients can apply for the Entrepreneur Visa now, or the Innovator Visa later, and can speak to our team in order to decide which is best for them. The Innovator Visa UK has not had its details announced at the time of writing, although clients are often confused by certain lawyers websites which contain details of an older visa also confusingly called the Innovator Visa which was scrapped in 2008.

If you are reading a page which covers Innovation Visas or any form of visa for Innovators in London please be aware of references to:

• Personal Characteristics
• Business Experience
• Business Plan
• Financial Viability
• Economic Benefit to the UK

These are references to the old Innovator England Visa which was scrapped in 2008, please do not rely upon these sites.

What are the requirements for the new UK Innovator Visa?

As noted above, the full details are not released. The government has specified certain requirements that they will look for. These are:

Innovation – it is likely they will assess whether the business products, marketing or branding display any innovation. Here a focus on new methods, branding and perhaps most significantly new inventive products or services will be assessed.

Viability – it will not be enough to simply be innovative, it is likely that the business will need show that it has thought about an made plans to be viable. Essentially this means careful assessment of whether the business will be able to provide the product or service in question, and whether it will be able to maintain cash flow until profitability. It is unlikely that the business plan that does not have a clear route to profitability will be accepted.

Scalability – this is relevant to start-ups most of all – business plans will need to have clear goals to scale. This is relatively easy for tech companies who are built to scale up from the outset. However all is not lost for companies in other sectors or others who are experts in other forms of businesses. For example, someone who wants to commence a fast food business will clearly be at a disadvantage if there seek to set up a single store which relies on local foot traffic for business. But if the same business, instead sought to open a number of branches of a fast food outlet that had strong branding, had innovative ideas or menu products (ie a normal range of fast food products as well as some that were indigenous from their country) or a strong process in its kitchen, this would fulfil all the relevant criteria.

• Client’s thoughts and plans will need to be tweaked to encourage the 3 elements above in the business plan and in the execution of the business.

How do I get endorsed for the Innovator Visa ?

The Innovator visa will require its applicants to submit a business plan and other supporting documents in order for them to be endorsed. The endorsement will be from a business sponsor and will be mandatory for all applicants. Unfortunately, there are no details on who the sponsors are and what additional criteria they will apply.

We wait to hear whether the governments approach after Brexit is concluded will affect their plans to push forward with the tier 1 innovation visa route.

Contact us for more information on 0207 118 4546, send us an email on or complete the box contained on top right of the page.

Immigration Cases

Tier 1 UK Innovator Visa FAQ's

An UK Innovator visa is a new visa category which allows foreign nationals to establish a business in the UK after being assessed on the business’s viability, scalability and innovation. These three qualities will be central to the review of both your business idea and plan, which will be undertaken by a Home Office approved endorsing body.
The innovator visa grants you and your immediate family leave for 3 years, during which period you will build and grow your business. Based upon the progress made you may be eligible to apply for settled status after 3 years however if you are not available we can extend your visa for a further three years. After 5 years of continuous residence you may be eligible for settled status and after a year of retaining settled status you may apply for naturalisation. This will grant you British citizen status.

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