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Innovator Founder Visas

UK is the hub of businesses that are able to thrive and work in collaboration. The Innovator Founder Visa had been re-shaped to meet the ever-changing business needs and is the evolution to the other business route visas. 

Innovator Founder Visa allows a person to establish a business in the UK, which is innovative, viable and scalable. The application would need to be endorsed by a third-party body.

As part of the application, you must demonstrate that you have a day-to-day management and development of the business.

There are 2 parts of the category to be considered:

New business

You will need to develop a business plan [ICS Legal can advise and help on this, please click here to read more]. As part of the application, you would need to demonstrate that your business venture is innovative, viable and scalable. 

Same business

On the alternative to this, those holding other visas such as the Innovator Visa or Start-up, are able to extend their leave on this category. They will need to demonstrate the business is active and evidence of the day-to-day management is being done.

Both routes would require you to meet the English language requirements and the financial test. 

Endorsing bodies

The Home Office have streamlined the process and previous endorsing bodies have been placed as legacy bodies. There are only limited number of bodies who would consider your application and ICS Legal are able to advise on meeting those criteria’s as part of our managed services. 

The business to be innovative, viable and scalable

The immigration programs require a business that would make a significant contribution to the UK. Your business idea does not entirely need to be innovative but must have a strong, genuine business idea.

It must meet the current business market or be a new idea, to change how the market behaves. 

Some of the key points to your business to stand-out are as follows:

  1. The business idea must bring a competitive edge. This is to demonstrate that your business does have a unique selling point. Whether your choosing to create a software product or selling a phone, there has to be something unique about your product. 

  2. Your business plan must be realistic and achievable based on your experience and knowledge. For example, you cannot create a balance sheet, without demonstrating the income generation. 

  3. There must be a structured planning of job creation and also growth into the national and international markets. 

Apply for the Innovator Founder Visa

To apply for the visa program, you must obtain your endorsement letter from the Endorsing Body. You should not make a visa application until you are able to obtain this. 

Once applied and approved, you would be granted a visa for 3 years, subject to any changes. 

Both your spouse and dependent children can join you in the visa program. You must apply for their visas separately and ensure all the information & evidences are provided at the date of application. 

Indefinite leave to remain under Innovator Founder Visa program

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain if you hold the visa for a period of 3 years.

As part of your application, evidences and information of your business, residency, and meeting the KoLL requirements are required. The absence rule must be adhered to as part of this application. 

Refusal of a Innovator Founder Visa

All visa applications will come either with a right to do an administrative review or an appeal process. Your decision letter will outline the way you can challenge a decision if your application is refused. 

Frequently asked questions related to the Innovator Founder Visa

We have put together a series of questions related to the Innovator Founder Visa and we hope you would find the following information useful.

  1. Can I switch to the Innovator Founder visa from the UK? Yes, you are able to do so, unless you hold a short-term visa such as a visit visa. Check your immigration visa prior lodging your application in the UK. 

  2. Can I continue to use my previous endorsing body? Yes, this is still allowed, and you would be able to use those as part of your application. Due to constant legal changes, we advise you to check the Home Office website or speak to one of our Lawyers for guidance & advice. 

  3. How does the Endorsing Body letter need to contain? The letter from your Endorsing Body must be in their letter headed paper. It must have a reference number, the date of issue and also your personal details. The relevant contact details of the Endorsing Body must be enclosed. 

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