Business Program

  • Processing Time

    4 - 5 Months

  • Age

    18 - 55 years

  • Type

    Business Immigration

United Kingdom

Innovator Founder Route

What is the New Innovator Founder Route?

The Innovator Founder Route is a new visa category designed to attract and support overseas, innovative entrepreneurs who have fresh and promising business ideas.

By replacing the old Innovator route, and with the closure of the Start-up visa, the new Innovator Founder route aims to provide a more accessible and flexible option for talented individuals with viable business ideas.

Successful applicants will be granted entry into the UK, enabling them to implement their business plans effectively. To be eligible for the innovator founder visa, you must be able to demonstrate to an approved endorsing body, that your business idea is innovative, viable and scalable.

Your business plan must be endorsed by an endorsing body approved by the UK government. Please see below for further details.

In this article, we will explore the changes from the old routes, the eligibility requirements and we will outline the various endorsing bodies authorised by the Home Office.

Key changes with the new Innovator Founder visa

  • Applicants are no longer required to show an investment of at least £50,000 in their business plan
  • Innovator founders can now take up secondary employment, so long as the secondary role is at a skill level equal to or above RQF level 3
  • Endorsing bodies now only require a minimum of two contact point meetings. This is where the endorsing body will review the progress of your business plan
  • Successful applicants are initially granted a visa for a period of three years, with the possibility of extending it for an additional three years
  • After spending three years in the UK, entrepreneurs will be eligible to apply for settlement, granting them long-term residence in the UK and freedom from immigration time restrictions

Eligibility requirements

  • The minimum age requirement is 18 years old
  • Knowledge of the English language must be evidenced, to at least the level of CEFR B2
  • You must receive a letter of endorsement from an approved UK endorsing body
  • You must hold a sum of £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days prior to applying
  • You have provide a TB test certificate, if necessary

Endorsing bodies authorised by the Home Office

  • Envestors Limited
  • UK Endorsing Services
  • Innovator International
  • The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)

The costs of an Innovator Founder visa

  • Applying for the visa from outside the UK incurs a Home Office application fee of £1,036
  • If you are already in the UK, and wish to switch to this visa, the application fee will be £1,292
  • Additionally, an endorsement fee of £1,000 (excluding VAT) must be paid to the selected endorsing body
  • Each applicant will also need to pay the immigration health surcharge of £624 per year