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The Innovator category, in contrast to the Start-up visa, is for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK.


What does the applicant need?

  • Endorsement from an Endorsing Body.
  • The criteria for this type of endorsement are similar to those for the Start-up category, although we expect successful applicants to be assessed in line with their greater levels of skill and experience.

Applicants will usually need a minimum of £50,000 available to invest in their business, which will need to be verified by the Endorsing Body. (Note that this funding does not have to come from their endorsing body, although some endorsing bodies may choose to offer it). 

In addition, the applicant will need to demonstrate maintenance funds for themselves and their dependants.


How long is the visa granted for?

Successful Innovators will be granted leave for 3 years at a time and can bring their family members to the UK. After 3 years, Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further 3 years or to settle permanently in the UK. Each of these 3 stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an Endorsing Body.


Can the successful applicant work to support themselves?

Innovators must work entirely on developing their business ventures and may not take on other employment outside of their business. This includes anything which effectively amounts to employment, such as using their own business to hire out their labour to another employer.

Although the Endorsing Bodies have been nominated, so far very few of them, if any, are actually geared up to scrutinise and endorse projects.


Gherson can assist with preparing applications in the Innovator category and in conjunction with specialists assist with making submissions to the relevant Endorsing Bodies.

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