Innovator Founder Visa

If you have a business idea which is truly innovative, unlike anything else currently on the market, and which you want to establish in the UK, you may be able to apply for an Innovator Founder Visa (previously called the Innovator Visa).

In order to apply for an Innovator Founder Visa, you must provide evidence that:

  • you have a proposal for a business which is:
    • new
    • original, innovative and unlike anything which is already on the market
    • viable and has the potential to grow to service both national and international markets
    • is capable of scale
  • your proposal has been endorsed by a designated Endorsing Body such as Innovator International or Envestors Limited
  • you have English language skills at a minimum level of B2 on the CEFR scale
  • you have enough money to support yourself in the UK when you arrive, or prior to switching to this visa
    • this is usually defined as having a minimum of £1270 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before applying

An Innovator Founder Visa is valid for up to three years, but you will have to meet your Endorsing Body after 12 and 24 months in order to prove that you are making sufficient progress with your business. If you are not, your endorsement may be withdrawn and the validity of your visa may be cut short. You can apply to extend your visa when it is due to expire.

If you want to start a smaller yet still innovative business in the UK, you may instead want to consider applying for a Start-up Visa.

Benefits of an Innovator Founder Visa 

The Innovator Founder Visa gives succesful applicants a good degree of freedom to pursue activities away from the specific business tied to their application. Individuals with an Innovator Founder Visa are permitted:

  • to set up one or several businesses
  • to work for their business
  • to work outside of their business, providing the work they are doing requires at least a ‘Level 3’ qualification or is designated as an eligible occupation for the Skilled Worker visa
  • to bring their partner and/or children to the UK with them as dependants, if eligible
  • to travel out of and return to the UK
  • to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) after 3 years

Innovator Founder Visa process and costs

Once the Home Office has your application and any supporting documents, you can usually expect to receive a decision within three weeks if you are applying from outside the UK. If you are already in the UK when you apply, getting a decision can take up to 8 weeks.  You may be able to receive a decision within in a few working days depending on your specific circumstances by paying for UK Visas and Immigration’s priority or super priority service.

Applications for an Innovator Founder Visa cost £1191 if applying from outside the UK, and £1486 from within the UK. If you wish to include any dependants to your application i.e. your partner and/or any children, you will have to pay the same amount again per each person you want to add.

You will also have to pay the UK’s healthcare surcharge as part of your application for each year that the visa will be valid.

Demetris Demetriou

Demetris is a dual-qualified lawyer in the UK (Solicitor) and Cyprus (Advocate) with 10+ years of experience in UK immigration. He completed his legal studies at University College London and City University London. Over the course of his career, he held key roles as Head of Immigration at Legal 500 firms and within the Big4, overseeing teams of 15+ fee earners handling 2000+ applications annually.

Demetris went on to co-establish his firm in London and continues to offer innovative solutions and strategic immigration planning to multinationals, SMEs, and private clients.

He personally represented 1500+ clients in 30+ visa routes including investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, sole representatives, students, family visas, global talent, UK ancestry, administrative reviews and appeals. Demetris has managed corporate relocations, conducted immigration law training and implemented post-Brexit immigration policies for corporate clients.

Demetris has been featured in various events and publications focusing on UK immigration, notably at the Cambridge Network, the Westminster Policy Forum and most recently at DGEMS, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.

Tatiani Preifelt

Tatiani has a wealth of expertise in global mobility and corporate immigration. Her ample skills were acquired within leading immigration practices including three out of the Big4 firms in both the UK and Sweden. Tatiani went on to co-establish her firm in London where she continues to advise clients predominantly in corporate, business and skilled work migration.

Having personally relocated to 10 different countries, Tatiani understands the importance of an expedient and successful immigration process and takes pride in delivering a seamless experience to her clients as well.

Over the course of her career, she has assisted over 500 individuals and businesses to obtain the appropriate visa permits in the UK.

Her awarded academic work at The University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, and at The Geneva University is in the fields of Political Science, International Human Rights Law, and Global Migration Governance.

She regularly provides immigration training and has recently participated as a speaker and panellist at DGEMS 2023, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.