UNITED KINGDOM INNOVATOR VISA

Advantages

  • One of the highest standards of living in the world and is a member of the G-7 group of countries
  • A high standard education and healthcare system
  • Access to business opportunities throughout Europe
  • Dependents included:
    • Spouse; children under 18; children over 18 currently in the UK as a dependent.
  • Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain to become UK permanent residents
  • Permanent residents have the freedom to live and work in the UK without any restriction
  • Apply for Citizenship after holding permanent residence for at least 1 year and meeting residency requirements

Investment and Endorsement criteria

  • The applicant must invest at least GBP 50,000 in the business. You can form a team with other Innovator applicants, but you cannot share the same investment funds.
  • To obtain an endorsement from an approved body, the applicant must provide a business plan and supporting documents showing that the business is:
    • Innovative
    • Viable
    • Scalable and
    • Can be sustained.

Requirements

  • Set up or run a business in the UK
  • Have the business or business idea endorsed by an approved endorsing body prior to application
  • Pass an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 (IELTS score of 5.5-6.5) in in all categories (unless exempted)
  • Have at least GBP 50,000 in investment funds which can come from any legitimate source
  • Have sufficient funds to support the applicant and dependents which have been held in a UK bank account for at least 90 days
  • Provide a Criminal Record Certificate confirming they have no criminal convictions
  • Must spend at least 50% of their time in the UK
  • Applicants must demonstrate a knowledge of the English language and life in the UK
  • Provide a tuberculosis test result (depending on residence)
  • May not be employed outside the qualifying business

Process

  • Following endorsement, the application must be made to a UK Embassy or Consulate nearest to where the applicant resides
  • Upon successful application an initial 3-year visa will be issued to enable the applicant to move to the UK to commence the business
  • Progress must be reviewed by the endorsing body at the 6, 12- and 24-month marks
  • The visa can be extended for a further 3 years providing that the business is still running and validated by an approved body
  • Applicants may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 3 years subject to meeting minimum business performance requirements

FAQ

What is the UK Innovator Visa?

The UK Innovator Visa is a residence by investment program. It enables experienced business people with a viable ‘innovative’ business idea, to establish their business in the UK and live in the UK.

Who is eligible to apply for the UK Innovator Visa?

To qualify for the new Innovator Visa, the Applicant must meet eligibility requirements which include:

  • Have a viable innovative business idea
  • Endorsement by an authorised entity. Applicants will be required to apply for and secure endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability. Regular contact must be maintained with the endorsing body at 6, 12- and 24-month intervals;
  • £50,000 investment in the business from any legitimate source;
  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents;
  • Satisfy the English language requirement, to CEFR Level B2;
  • The Applicant must provide a Criminal Record Certificate confirming they have no criminal convictions issued within the last six months; and
  • Provide a ‘clear’ tuberculosis test result.
How long is the UK Innovator Visa valid for?

The UK Innovator Visa is valid for 3 years and may be renewed for a further period of 3 years subject to continuing endorsement by an authorised entity. Subject to meeting advanced business performance criteria the Applicant may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3 years residence.

Are there any residency requirements?

Yes, the Applicant is required to spend the majority of their time in the UK, typically this means at least 270 days per year.

What are the requirements to renew the UK Innovator Visa?

In order to renew the UK Innovator Visa after the initial 3-year period, the Applicant must continue to be endorsed by an authorised entity and meet minimum business performance criteria.

Can UK Innovator Visa holders work or study in the UK?

The Applicant MAY ONLY work for the business specified in the visa application and may not work for any other entity.

Can the UK Innovator Visa holder automatically work in other EU countries?

No, the permit only allows the Applicant to live and work in the UK.

Can the Applicant’s spouse and minor children also benefit from the UK Innovator Visa?

Yes, the spouse (or life partner) and children who are under 18 years old (including adopted children) that are financially dependent on the Applicant may be included. Dependents are free to work or study in the UK.

What is the minimum investment amount?

The minimum legal requirement is an investment of £50,000 which may be provided by the Applicant or a third party.

How long does the Applicant need to keep the investment in the UK?

To maintain the visa the applicant must keep the investment until permanent residence is granted.

Can the Applicant make other investments in the UK after the qualifying investment?

Yes, the Applicant is totally free to make additional investments or other acquisitions such as property.

Can the Applicant sell the investment?

The Applicant is always free to withdraw all their investments in the UK whilst holding the Innovator visa but the Applicant and dependents will lose their right to reside in the UK, as the investment is not maintained anymore.

Once the Applicant has permanent residence the investments can be sold freely.

When can UK Innovator Visa holders apply for permanent residence?

UK Innovator Visa holders (including dependents) are eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3 years if their business is considered particularly successful, of after 5 years if their business meets minimum performance criteria.

When can UK Innovator Visa holders apply for citizenship?

UK Innovator Visa holders will become eligible to apply for British citizenship after having lived in the UK for at least 5 years AND having held permanent residence for at least 1 year, subject to meeting language and other requirements.

Does the UK allow dual citizenship?

Yes, there is no restriction on dual (or multiple) citizenship.

The present document is intended for guidance and general information only and does not constitute or purport to provide you with legal advice. Such information is subject to changes without notice. Each case is unique and depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual and due consideration should be taken if applying the general information to your personal situation. For an evaluation of your personal circumstances one of our legal team would be happy to assist.