Endorsement from an approved body
Difficult for those that want to keep all the equity in their business
ILR within 3 years possible
UK Innovator Visa
The Innovator visa was introduced in 2019 for experienced business people with a viable UK business idea. It replaced the previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. While the T1 Entrepreneur visa usually required £200,000 investment, the the UK innovator Visa requires £50,ooo. But, rather than rely on the Home Office to assess your business plan, the Innovator visa route requires you to get endorsement from an approved entity. Most of the endorsing bodies are incubators or funding businesses, which can be fine if you are looking for that sort of backing anyway, but is a problem if you have your own money and don't want to sell equity in your new business.
The Endorsing body has to consider your plans against criteria including innovation, viability and scalability, they also have to be confident that you are committed to the business, and your time in the UK under the visa would be fully devoted to developing the enterprise.
There is a two stage process
Stage 1: Apply to the endorsing body & get endorsed
Stage 2: Apply for the visa
Once you have the endorsement, stage 2 seldom poses great problems. We can help you with both stages.
Initial Approval will be for 3 years. After this time, you may be able to extend the visa, or, in some circumstances, apply directly for Indefinite Leave to Remain if your Endorsing Body confirms that you have been actively managing your UK-incorporated business, that it is trading & expected to remain viable for at least the next 12 months, and that it has achieved 2 of the following milestones:
1. Had £50,000 of investment, which you’ve spent on developing the business.
2. Doubled the number of customers in the last 3 years - and this number is higher than the average for similar businesses.
3. Applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
4. Made £1 million revenue in the last full year covered by accounts.
5. Made £500,000 revenue in the last full year covered by accounts, with £100,000 of this from exporting overseas.
6. Created the equivalent of 10 full-time jobs that have existed for 12 months, and been filled by settled workers (UK National, EEA national employed by you before 31.12.2020, Commonwealth citizen on a UK ancestry visa, someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain)
7. Created the equivalent of 5 full-time jobs that have existed for 12 months, with an average salary of £25,000 a year.