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UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa Guidance

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.

The Entrepreneur Visa is now closed for applicants, but the Innovator Visa presents an exciting new opportunity for entrepreneurs. Call our office on 0207 118 4546 or contact us online for more information on the Innovator Visa.

What is a Tier 1 Innovator Visa?

The UK Innovator Visa is a business visa which allows individuals to move to the UK to set up a new business. Individuals applying for the Innovator Visa must have a unique business idea and a fully considered business plan which has been endorsed by an approved body. Once you have gained an Innovator Visa, you can stay in the UK for up to three years before extending or switching.

The Innovator market can be competitive, but at Westkin, our Innovator Visa lawyers take pride in assisting you with creating a winning business plan to help you in securing your visa. Please get in touch for information on how we can help you.

When did the new Tier 1 Innovator Visa Route Open?

The Tier 1 Innovator Visa route opened in April 2019, replacing the Entrepreneur Visa. Since the visa opened, our team have proven a fantastic track record in securing Innovator Visas for individuals from all across the world, helping them to set up their business in the UK.

Applying for a UK Innovator Visa

The Application process for a Tier 1 Innovator Visa includes three stages. These are:

  • You must be able to prove that you meet the financial requirements for this visa. Applicants must provide evidence that they have had at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying for the visa.
  • You must be able to show that you have the necessary investment funds for the Innovator Visa. Individuals setting up a new business in the UK must have at least £50,000 of investment funds.
  • Your business must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body in the UK. To gain this endorsement, you need to present a well considered and viable business plan.

Our team of Innovator Visa lawyers have assisted a number of applicants in creating their business plans, and evidencing their investment funds for the Innovator Visa. Our team are experienced in creating business plans across a variety of sectors, and we have valuable insight on which endorsing bodies will be right for each applicant.

For information on how we can help you with your UK Innovator Visa application, please get in touch.

What are the requirements for the new UK Innovator Visa?

When assessing whether to grant your Innovator Visa application, the Home Office and endorsing bodies will look to ensure that your business plan hits three key criteria. It is essential that individuals are able to prove that their business meets these if they want to successfully have their visa approved.

  • Innovation – Endorsing bodies assess whether the business products, marketing or branding displays innovation. Business plans should show that they’re bringing something new to the UK market, whether this is a new, inventive product, or a service not seen before in the UK.
  • Viability – Your business plan will also need to show that your business idea is 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 a 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. For example, someone who wants to start a fast food business will clearly be at a disadvantage if they seek to set up a single store which relies on local foot traffic for business. But if the same business shows that it seeks to open a number of branches which have strong branding, innovative ideas, or a strong process in its kitchen, this would fulfil all the relevant criteria.

I was pleased to work with Westkin, who helped me to get a Tier 1 Innvestor visa, which is exceptionally hard to get accepted for, in just one month. The business plan and guidance for the interview was of immense importance, and the professionalism was top notch. I would definitely recommend westkin to everyone as well as thank them for their hard work.” – Asif Huda

Our team of Innovator Lawyers will work with you to get to know your business, and create a business plan which showcases how it hits all of the above criteria. To book an initial chat with our team about your business, please get in touch.

How much does the Innovator Visa cost?

The UK Innovator Visa fee is currently £1,021 for individuals applying from outside of the UK, and £1,277 for those extending or switching their visa from within the UK. This entitles you to three years in the UK. Applicants will also need to pay additional fees for any dependents joining you in the UK, as well as the immigraiton healthcare surcharge, which entitles you to healthcare access in the UK.

Applicants for eligible countries may benefit from a reduced visa fee of £55. This applies to applicants from the below countries:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.

Innovator Visa Endorsement

The Innovator visa requires 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 is mandatory for all applicants. It is a competitive field and some applicants find the endorsement requirements difficult, however, our team of Innovator Visa lawyers are very familiar with the UK endorsing bodies, and can provide you with insightful evidence for your application. Our experience in the field helps us to raise our UK Innovator Visa success rate.

Contact us for more information on 0207 118 4546, send us an email on info@westkin.com or contact us through our website for more information on the Tier 1 Innovator Visa.

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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