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UK Innovator Founder Visa

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UK Innovator Founder Visa Overview and Eligibility

The UK Innovator Visa, which replaces the previous Innovator visa is a UK visa category for both start-ups and for experienced businesspeople to set up an innovative business. Because of the endorsement requirement, this visa may be difficult to come under for many people.

You’re eligible for this visa if:

To set up or run a business in Britain your business or business idea must be endorsed by an approved body.

The UK Innovator Founder Visa replaces the previous Innovator visa category. Unlike the previous Innovator visa category there is no longer any particular investment requirement.

Innovator Founder Visa Requirements

UK immigration rules specify the following requirements to be eligible for the Innovator Visa:

  • Innovation – Proof of a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
  • Viability – Applicants must be able to demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, plus market awareness, to run a business competently.
  • Scalability – Evidence of structured planning and the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

For more information about the requirements you need to meet to apply for an Innovator Visa, contact

Your stay in the UK

You can stay for three years if you enter the UK on an Innovator Visa or if you switch to the visa from another valid UK visa.

You can apply to extend your visa for another three years when it is due to expire. There is no limit on the number of times you can extend.

After three years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (UK settlement). Probably most people will apply for this.

Applying for an Innovator Visa UK

You can only apply for the Innovator Visa, online**. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Innovator Visa UK application.

**If you live in North Korea, you cannot apply online. Contact for more information on how to apply for the Innovator Visa.

The earliest you can apply for an Innovator Visa is 3 months before you travel. It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.

To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement. A business sponsor from the following approved bodies will endorse your business plan and Innovator Visa application:

Those endorsing your Innovator Visa application must be ‘reasonably satisfied that you will spend much of your working time in Britain developing business ventures,’ in accordance with UK immigration rules.

UK Immigration Health Surcharge

When you apply for an Innovator Visa, you will have to pay a UK Immigration Health Surcharge. You have to pay £624 a year payable in advance for the duration of the UK visa.

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over thirty years of experience in international visa services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK sponsor licence application and visa application to UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office. 

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at