Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, London remains the financial capital of the world offering a lucrative business environment in which to operate. If you are seeking to start or take over a business in the UK, you will need to apply for a Tier 1 Innovator visa (formerly known as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa).

The innovator visa is aimed at more experienced business people who have £50,000 to invest in an innovative business which could be scaled up fairly rapidly, with less experienced entrepreneurs seeking investment pointed towards a start-up visa instead.

You must

  • Have at least £50,000 in investment funds if starting a new business; you will be exempt from this requirement if you are switching from the Tier 1 Start-up Visa
  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK
  • Demonstrate that you genuinely intend to undertake, and are capable of undertaking, the work/business activity referred to in your application
  • If successful, work entirely on developing your business ideas; you are prohibited from working for other employers

Before applying, you must have your business idea reviewed by a Home-Office approved endorsing body. If approved, it will provide a letter of endorsement which should be submitted with the application. The assessor will be looking out for the following criteria

  • Innovation – a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage
  • Viability – that you have the necessary skill, experience, knowledge and market awareness to run a business properly
  • Scalability – evidence that you are capable of structured planning and the potential for job creation and growth for the UK national and global market

If you are successful, you will be granted leave to remain for 3 years initially and, providing you meet the extension requirements, you can then apply to extend your stay. After 5 years in this category, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’).

If successful, you can also bring your family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK.

Please note that at present, we are only able to offer visa assistance to applicants who have already received an offer of endorsement from an endorsed body. The full list can be found here.