What is the United Kingdom Innovator Visa?
The UK Innovator Visa is a residency-by-investment program designed for experienced businesspeople with a viable innovative business idea who wish to establish their business in the UK. This visa program requires the applicant to take on a hands-on role in the business development and day to day management.
The minimum investment amount is GBP 50,000, which can come from the applicant, a gift from a third party, the UK government or from a UK business. To obtain this visa, the applicant needs to receive endorsement from a government designated authorized body. Notably, this is the only immigration pathway which offers the possibility to apply for UK permanent residence after 3 years, usually it is 5 years.
To obtain permeant residency, the applicant must meet residency requirements and business requirements such as to create at least 5 full time jobs or generate a gross revenue of over GBP 1 million.
Minimum Investment: GBP 50,000
Permanent Residency: After 3 years and business requirements
UK Citizenship: After 1 year of PR and 5 years continuous residency in the UK
UK 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:
- children under 18;
- children over 18 currently in the UK as a dependent.
- Eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to become UK permanent residents after 3 years
- 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 into business and obtain an endorsement from an approved body
- The applicant may establish their own business or they can work with a Joint Venture partner in the UK to establish a qualifying business
- Joint Venture Business investments with a local UK partner are typically in the region of GBP 200,000 – GBP 250,000
- To obtain an endorsement from an approved body, the applicant must provide a business plan and supporting documents showing that the business is:
- Scalable and
- Can be sustained.
United Kingdom Innovator Visa 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 English language test with at least CEFR level B2 (IELTS score of 5.5-6.0) 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 held in a UK bank account for at least 28 consecutive days
- Provide a Criminal Record Certificate confirming they have no criminal convictions
- Must not spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period
- Provide a tuberculosis test result (depending on residence)
- May not be employed outside the qualifying business
- Must develop a viable business plan and have the business plan endorsed by an endorsing body approved by the UK Government
- 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.
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.
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.
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 endorsing body. Subject to meeting advanced business performance criteria the Applicant may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after 3 years residence.
Yes, the Applicant is required to spend the majority of their time in the UK, typically this means at least 270 days per year.
In order to renew the UK Innovator Visa after the initial 3-year period, the Applicant must continue to be endorsed by an endorsing body and meet minimum business performance criteria.
The Applicant MAY ONLY work for the business specified in the visa application and may not work for any other entity.
No, the permit only allows the Applicant to live and work in the UK.
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.
The minimum legal requirement is an investment of £50,000 which may be provided by the Applicant or a third party.
To maintain the visa the applicant must keep the investment until permanent residence is granted.
Yes, the Applicant is totally free to make additional investments or other acquisitions such as property.
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.
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.
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.
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.