Who requires an Innovator visa?

It is for persons seeking to set up a business in the UK for which they have a business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable or to which the Applicant has made a significant contribution.

Where can I find the Immigration Rules for the Innovator visa?

The Immigration Rules that cover the Innovator visa are found at Appendix Innovator which contains the rules for the Innovator Route.

Does the Innovator Route lead to Settlement?

Yes, The Innovator Route leads to Settlement or known as Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What are the requirements for an Innovator Visa?

Validity Requirements

  • Submit an online application using the gov.uk pages for Innovator Visa.
  • Pay the Home Office Application fee and the Immigration Health Charge.
  • Provide an appropriate ID document which will be a valid national passport or an appropriate travel document.
  • Provide an endorsement letter from an endorsement body that was issued no earlier than three months before the submission of the visa application.
  • The endorsement letter must have been withdrawn.
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
  • If the Applicant has within the 12 months preceding the submission of the visa application been sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency, that Applicant must provide a written consent to the application.

Suitability Requirements

  • The Application must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for which Immigration applications are refused.
  • Applicants should not be in breach of the Immigration Rules or be on Immigration bail.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Apply for a visa
  • Applicants must take a tuberculosis test if they are require to because they have resided in certain countries as required under the Immigration Rules.

Genuine Requirements

The Home Office should have no reason to suspect or conclude that the Applicant is not coming to the UK for a purpose other than that permit or consistent with the requirements for the Innovator route.

Points requirement for the Innovator Route

Applicants must score at least 70 points, however the requirements may differ depending on whether the application relates to a new or same business.

New Business – 10 points

Business venture is innovative, viable and scalable – 20 points

£50,000 available funds to invest or having been invested – 20 points

English Language requirement at level B2 – 10 points

Financial requirement -10 points

Total – 70 points

Business Plan requirement

The Applicant must have an endorsement letter from an endorsement body which must confirm the following:

  • That the Applicant has either generated, or made a significant contribution to, the ideas in the business plan; and
  • That the Applicant will have a day – to – day role in carrying out the business plan
  • That the Applicant is either the sole founder or an instrumental member of the founding team.

Innovative, viable and scalable business requirements for an innovator

Applicants must have innovative, viable and scalable business ventures that meet the criteria below:

  • They must have genuine, original business plans that satisfy new or existing market needs and/or create a competitive advantage;  and
  • They must have business plans that are realistic and achievable based on resources available to them; and
  • Applicants must have, or be actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run their chosen business; and
  • There must be evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets

Investment funds requirement

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have at least £50,000 available to invest, alternatively, they must be able to show that the sum of £50,000 has been invested in their business in any of the following ways:
  • Providing confirmation from the approved endorsement body that it is making of at least £50,000; or
  • Providing confirmation from the endorsement body endorsement body that it has verified that the funds are available from the other sources (including Applicants); or
  • Providing confirmation from the endorsing body that it has verified that at least £50,000 has been invested in the Applicant’s business; or
  • Providing evidence that £50,000 are available to the Applicant from another source
  • Applicants who are part of a team are each required to individually provide the sum of £50,000.
  • Where confirmation is provided by an endorsement body, the endorsement letter being provided must confirm that the Applicant satisfies the requirements.
  • Where the funds are being provided by a UK organisation which has at least 10 people, the Applicant must provide a letter from that organisation which must confirm the requirements under paragraphs (a) – (d) of INN 8.4 of Appendix Innovator have been met.
  • Applicants who are being supported by an overseas organisation, UK organisation which employees less than 10 people, or an individual, the applicant must satisfy the requirements set out at paragraphs (a) – (c) of INN 8.5 of Appendix Innovator.
  • Applicants relying on their own person funds must also satisfy the requirements set out at paragraphs (a) – (b) of INN 8.6 and INN 8.7 of Appendix Innovator.
  • Where an Applicant has invested funds in his business prior to the submission of his application, he must provide evidence of the amount invested, either by way of business accounts, showing the name of the accountant and the date they were produced or by providing business bank statements.
  • If any of the funds are available to the Applicant’s business and not directly to the Applicant or have already been invested in the business, the Applicant will be required to provide a Companies House document showing their connection to the business. A Companies House document is not required if an endorsement letter confirming the Applicant’s connection to the business is provided.
  • Funds held in a foreign currency will be converted to Pounds Sterling using the spot exchange rate that appeared on www.oanda.com at the date of the application.
  • It is important to state that funds relied on must not be held in a financial institution not permitted under Appendix Finance.

English Language Requirement      

Applicants are required to take an English Language Test in Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening under the Common European Framework at Level B2.

Financial Requirement

Applicants applying for an Innovator Visa satisfy the following requirements:

  • Held funds of at least £1,270; and
  • Held these funds for a 28 – day period
  • Satisfy the other requirements set out under Appendix Finance.


Immigration Rules – Appendix Innovator


Immigration Rules – Appendix Finance


Immigration Rules – English Language


Home Office Guidance – Innovator (version 4.0)


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