Innovator Visa

Specialist Business Innovator Visa Solicitors London UK

This is the new category introduced to replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) sub-tier of the Points Based System. As above, it opened on 29 March 2019, when the Entrepreneur route was closed to new applicants.

What is an Innovator Visa?

This innovator visa is aimed at entrepreneurs and business professionals that can demonstrate a viable business idea / venture along with being able to meet the endorsement criteria. A good article on 'What is an innovator visa can be found on the Free Movement website by clicking here. Essentially, the innovator visa is aimed at “more experienced business people” who have £50,000 to invest in an innovative business concept or venture which has the capacity to be upscaled relatively quickly. For less experienced entrepreneurs seeking investment they should be guided towards a start-up visa instead.

What is the Endorsement criteria for an Innovator Visa?

As in the Start-up category, in respect of an initial application, the endorsement letter provided by the endorsing body must confirm the Innovation, Viability and Scalability criteria and that the endorsing body is reasonably satisfied the applicant will spend their entire working time in the UK on developing business ventures. In respect of an initial application, the endorsement criteria are almost exactly the same as in the Start-up category and are as set out below.

‘New business’ or ‘same business’

There is a ‘new business’ and ‘same business’ distinction which naturally depends on whether you are applying on the basis of a new business not previously endorsed or an existing business that has been previously endorsed in any of the Start-up, Tier 1(Graduate Entrepreneur) or Innovator categories.

In respect of either a ‘new business’ or ‘same business’, your business must be endorsed by an endorsing body. An endorsing body is an organisation which has a track record of supporting entrepreneurs in the UK.

Investment funds

Different requirements apply with regard to investment funds depending on whether it is a  ‘new business’ or the ‘same business’. You must have at least £50,000 available to you to invest in your business, and this may include funds already invested in the business. In respect of teams, Innovators must demonstrate at least £50,000 available to each team member (unless they are resident workers or have leave in any another immigration category which allows them to engage in business in the UK).


You must provide a valid endorsement letter, appropriate according to whether you are applying on the basis of a previously endorsed business or a new business, from an endorsing body that confirms the applicants proposed or existing business meets the endorsement criteria, as well as containing other simple prescribed information.

You must be at least 18 years of age.

You must have an English language ability of B2 level Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning (CEFR). English language ability must be demonstrated in the existing ways, i.e. UK degree or degree taught in English (confirmed by UK NARIC as UK standard comparable), secure English language test (SELT) English language test or national of a majority English speaking country or having met the English language requirement in a previous successful application.

You must be able to demonstrate that you will be able to maintain yourself in the UK by showing the required level of maintenance funds for a consecutive 90-day period.

Period and conditions of leave

Leave will be granted for three years and there is no time limit on time spent in this category.


This category does lead to settlement after three years and in addition to endorsement settlement criteria the normal settlement criteria apply with regard to knowledge of language and life in the UK (as set out in the Immigration Rules, Appendix KoLL), breach of immigration laws and general grounds for refusal.

Immigration status and switching

If applying for leave to remain, you must have either last have had leave in the Start-up category or be switching from one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
  • Tier 2.
  • A visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur, as set out in the Immigration Rules, Appendix V.

Tier 4 (General) applicants are not permitted to switch into this category.


There is no recourse to public funds and study is permitted. Registration with the police is required where the Immigration Rules, Part 10 applies. The usual employment conditions apply: no employment as a doctor or dentist in training; no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

Innovator Visa UK: How can Qore Legal help?

There are 30 endorsing bodies in the UK able to grant an Innovator Visa. Qore Legal has trusted referral partner status with Innovate Britain. This means that applicants put forward by Qore Legal will receive a special fast track assessment of eligibility for endorsement.

Endorsing Body Innovate Britain UK

Contact Qore Legal, A Specialist Immigration Law Firm in London with the top Business Innovator Visa Solicitors.

Qore Legal is based in Central London and we assist clients from throughout England. We also specialise in immigration services for Chinese companies and individuals.

Call 020 3946 2560, email or use our online contact form.

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