How to Be Eligible for an Innovator Visa

November 8, 2022

Are you a business innovator with amazing and original business ideas that you want to convert into a full-bloomed business as soon as possible? If this is the case, then an innovator visa is what you need. An Innovator visa is a gateway to the UK for businesses, and there are conditions you need to meet to apply for this visa. The conditions are as follows:

  • You want to start a new and innovative business in the United Kingdom that is not available in the market and is different from the products and services available in the business world.
  • An endorsing body has already approved and endorsed your business or business idea, making you qualified for an innovator visa.
  • Other eligibility requirements are listed below that you need to meet to get an innovator visa.

Innovator Visa If You Are from Switzerland, European Union, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Iceland

The European Union Settlement Scheme is for individuals who by themselves or one of their family individuals started residing in the United Kingdom by December 31st, 2020. The deadline for this scheme was 30th June 2021; however, you are still eligible to apply if:

  • You are joining your family or a family member who has been living in the UK by 31st December 2020, and you can have a deadline for later.
  • There is a solid reason why you were not able to apply by 30th June 2021. For example, you got into an accident, were severely ill or were a victim of domestic abuse, etc.


Before applying for the innovator visa to the UK, you need your ideas to be assessed by an endorsing body in the UK. They will give you their endorsing letter of recommendation, making your business eligible. Your business can only be eligible if:

  • It is a completely new idea as you are not allowed to join a business already present in trading when applying for an innovator visa.
  • Then your business idea needs to be innovative that does not match with anything already present in the market.
  • Your business idea needs to have the potential to grow. Only then will it be endorsed.

Along with it, you also need:

  • To have perfect English language requirements.
  • Should be at least 18 or older.
  • Should have financial proof to support yourself and your business during your stay in the UK.

Setting Up a New Business

If you want to start and run a new startup, you need at least an investment of £50,000 to be qualified for an innovator visa. You will have to show where you got your investment from. Nevertheless, you do not require any investment funds if:

  • You have an established business, and it has been recognized for an earlier visa.
  • The endorsing body has already agreed, and you have just changed your business.

Supporting Yourself

There are conditions when applying for, changing to, or extending your innovator visa. These requirements must be acquired so that you get your innovator visa. Contrary to documentation requirements for immigrating to the US,  you need at least £1,270 for 28 consecutive days in your bank account to be able to switch or extend your innovator visa if you have been staying in the UK for less than a year or want to apply for a fresh innovator visa. To support yourself financially, you need to provide proof, and you cannot use the following methods when acquiring an innovator visa:

  • You cannot use the money required for your investment.
  • You cannot use the money earned in the UK while working illegally.

Sharing Investment Funds

You are not allowed to share investment funds with another innovator applicant. You are allowed to form a team, but each of you should have your own investment funds to be eligible to apply for an innovator visa. Each innovator applicant must have £50,000 as investment funds, and if your team has three members, then in total, you should have £150,000 funds for investment.

How Long Can Your Stay Be

If you are on an innovator visa in the UK or have switched from a different permit while staying in the United Kingdom, then you are allowed to stay in the country for three years. However, if you want to stretch your stay, you can apply for extra time for another three years when your entry permit is about to expire. If you have been staying continuously in the United Kingdom for three years, you might be able to apply for settlement.

If Endorsement Has Reserved

This situation will also affect your visa because your visa will be cut short upon withdrawal of endorsement. However, to stay in the UK, you will have to again apply for a new endorsement plan before the expiry date of your present visa.

How to Apply and What Time It Takes

You will have to apply online but how you are going to apply depends on a few conditions:

  • You are in another country and will be coming to the UK
  • You are extending your current visa and are in the UK
  • You are changing visas and are in the UK
  • You can also include your spouse and children in your application if they wish to stay in the UK and are eligible.

The application times vary as you have to send proof of your identity and provide documents. So, once your application is given, you will know what time is required for the process.

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