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Innovator Founder Visa

The Innovator visa is for an experienced businessperson. An innovator must have a business idea that is innovative, scalable and viable, and which is supported by an 'endorsing body'. With a few exceptions, applicants under the Innovator category will also have to demonstrate that they have £50,000 to invest in their business from any legitimate source. The critical difference between Innovator and Start-up visas is that Innovator visa applicants can apply for settlement if they so wish.

LS Legal Solicitors can assist with an innovative business idea and get it 'pre-endorsed' by the Endorsing Body.



Before applying for your visa, you should contact an endorsing body such as a university or an approved business sponsor who will assess your business idea. This assessment will likely include reviewing your detailed business plan and potentially inviting you to an interview. If successful, you will receive an endorsement letter and long-term support from them to develop your business in the UK. Some endorsing bodies offer financial support in exchange for a share in your business.

The endorsement letter must confirm two things:

1) Your business venture is innovative, viable and scalable, as per the definitions of these concepts below:

Innovative: you have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Viable: You have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to run the business successfully.

Scalable: There is evidence of structured planning and potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

2) The endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that you will spend most of their working time developing their business ventures in the UK.


If the endorsement is for a new business, you must have at least £50,000 available to invest in their business. If your business is established and you have been endorsed for a previous visa (for example, a Start-up visa) or you have changed your business with the agreement of your endorsing body, then proof of funds will not be required.

However, before you can apply, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds in your bank account (at least £945) to support yourself for 90 consecutive days. If you apply with dependent family members, you will need to demonstrate you also have the funds to support them.

English Language Requirements

You will usually need to pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) with an approved provider. However, nationals of certain English speaking countries are not required to prove their English language ability, nor are persons who have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree taught in English in one of these countries.

Indefinite Leave to Remain on an Innovator visa

After holding an Innovator visa for three years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To qualify for ILR, you must also satisfy at least two of the following criteria:

(a) At least £50,000 has been invested in the business and actively spent on furthering the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement.

(b) The business's customer base has at least doubled over the last three years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.

(c) The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.

(d) The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of at least £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts.

(e) The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of at least £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from overseas exports.

(f) The business has created the equivalent of at least ten full-time jobs for 'resident workers' - this term is defined in the glossary to the Immigration Rules.

(g) The business has created the equivalent of at least five full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).

Want to launch your own start-up in the UK one day?

We recently hosted a discussion between 2 very successful immigrant entrepreneurs, one of which is our Managing partner at LS Legal Solicitors, Liliya Scott. The other was Ivan Zhiznevsky, Founder and CEO at 3S Money and Female Leadership Advocate, who started from one hot desk with Barclays Fintech Accelerator and grew to 80 employees and international offices in just three years. 3s.money is a bank challenger that enables corporates to accept and manage bank transfers in foreign markets.

They discuss a variety of topics such as what motivated them to start their business, what their company culture is like and much more. You can watch the full episode here. In this blog post, we share their thoughts, experiences and top pieces of advice.

  • What are the driving forces in you becoming such successful entrepreneurs?
  • What NOT to do when starting your entrepreneurial journey in the UK.
  • The importance of PIVOTING within the business to meet your clients' needs
  • To hire locally... to not hire locally

Most immigration applications have strict factual and evidential requirements that are not necessarily straightforward to comprehend or satisfy. LS Legal Solicitors are well versed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on immigration applications. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous. However, we guarantee to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

For the quickest response, please WhatsApp or call us on +44 (0) 75 3595 9450. You can also contact us via email at info@LSLegaLUK.com or use the contact form to discuss your requirements further or arrange an appointment with one of our experts.