Innovator Founder Visa UK


The Innovator Founder visa caters to the more experienced individuals who wish to establish a business in the UK, based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed.

A dependent partner and children can apply under this route. Innovator visa leads to settlement in the United Kingdom.

Switching to the Innovator Founder visa route is allowed within the UK from the eligible visa categories. One or more team members can apply under this visa category.

The applicant must be supported by an endorsing body in order to be eligible to apply under this visa route.

Mandatory criteria to be met when applying for Innovator Founder visa are split into validity, suitability, eligibility, genuine innovator, financial and English language requirements.

In order to be eligible to apply under Innovator Founder visa route, the applicant must be aged 18 or over and needs to score 70 mandatory points of which 50 points must either be under the new business or under the same business criteria:

New Business:

  • Business plan (30 points)
  • Business venture is innovative, viable and scalable (20 points)
  • English Language requirement at level B2 (intermediate) in all 4 components (10 points)
  • Financial requirement (10 points)

Same Business:

  • Applicant’s previous permission was in the Innovator, Innovator Founder, Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and they are pursuing a business assessed by a Home Office approved endorsing body either for the previous endorsement or at a contact point (10 points)
  • Business is active, trading and sustainable and demonstrates significant achievements against the business plan (20 points)
  • Applicant is active in day-to-day management and development of business (20 points)
  • English Language requirement at level B2 (intermediate) in all 4 components (10 points)
  • Financial requirement (10 points)

In relation to the financial requirement, when applying for permission to remain in the United Kingdom and having resided in the UK with permission for 12 months, the applicant will automatically meet the financial requirement. If not, the applicant must have held the funds of at least £1,270 for a 28-day period preceding the application.

The applicant can be granted permission to enter/remain in the UK for a maximum period of 3 years.

Settlement in the United Kingdom

In order to be eligible to qualify for settlement under the Innovator Founder route, the applicant must spend 3 continuous years in the UK with permission on the Innovator route. The specified continuous period must not be broken at any time during the 3 years’ period.

When applying for settlement in the UK, the applicant must provide an endorsement letter which confirms that the applicant’s business venture has met two of the following requirements:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested into business and actively spent furthering the business
  • The number of the business’ customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services
  • The applicant’s business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  • In the last full financial year covered by the accounts, the business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million
  • The business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by the accounts, which at least £1000,000 from exporting overseas
  • At least 10 full-time jobs have been created for settled workers
  • At least 5 full-time jobs have been created for settled workers, each of which has a mean gross salary of at least £25,000 per year excluding any allowances

In addition, the applicant must meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement by taking the Life in the UK test and demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the English language.

For further information about Innovator visa and for the tailored advice to a specific case scenario please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team.

Our regulated advisers have had many years of experience assisting applicants and their family members with their relocation to the United Kingdom, extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) visa applications.

*Please note that requirements may vary from case to case based on the nuances of your situation, and the information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice.