Everything You Need to Know About Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa [Innovator Visa]

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The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is for business people from foreign countries, who wish to invest in or join an existing business or start a new company in the UK.  Currently, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is replaced by Innovator Visa.

Table of Contents

What is the eligibility for the Innovator Visa application?

  • Minimum 18 years old.
  • A foreigner from outside Switzerland/EEA.
  • Capable of investing £50,000 in his/her business idea.
  • Endorsed business idea by an approved agency.
  • Hold a B12 certificate in English.
  • Applicant’s bank account must have £945 for three consecutive months before applying for a Tier 1 visa.

What are the requirements for business idea endorsement for an Innovator visa?

Before starting the application process, the applicant needs to have a business idea endorsed by a recognized endorsing body. The chosen endorsing body needs to have a proven track record of supporting entrepreneurs in the UK.

They will decide the business idea validity using three measures.

  • The applicant’s business plan has to be original and genuine. It has to fulfill existing or new market needs. The idea has to be beneficial to the British economy and workforce.
  • Applicant must prove their skills, knowledge, and market awareness for running a company successfully.
  • Applicant must display their potential for job creation and growth.

Business plan endorsement is a test that is crucial and many applications are rejected. Read more about how to successfully endorse a business plan.

What documents are needed for the Innovator Visa application?

The documents needed for the Innovator visa application will differ. It depends on the applicant’s circumstances and application.

The common documents needed are –

  • Current passport and separate passport photo.
  • B2 English language test certificate.
  • Investment funds evidence [£50,000 to £200,000]
  • Endorsed business plan
  • Bank statements showing £945 for three consecutive months in the savings account before applying.
  • If you are from a country where a TB test is essential then you will need the Tuberculosis test results.
  • Criminal record certificate from native country.

How long does the Innovator Visa Application process take to complete?

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  • If the application is from outside UK then the results [approval/rejection] will be received within three weeks from the date of submission.
  • If the applicant is made from inside the UK, it will take 8 weeks for processing.
  • If there is an issue with the application then the immigration official will need more time in the processing.
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What about the Innovator Visa applicant’s family, if they desire to join?

Under the Tier 1 category, the applicant’s immediate family can also come to the UK and join them as a dependent. The dependents include the main applicant’s spouse and children less than 18 years. If the applicant’s child is currently in the UK and more than 18 years then they will also be categorized as a dependent.

If the family desires to join the applicant in the UK then proof of £630 as savings per dependent needs to be submitted. If the dependent is currently in the UK, then they can switch from the current visa they hold to a dependent of Innovator visa holder and become a lawful resident.

The benefits of applicants in this category are –

  • Children of the applicant can join the education system in the UK.
  • Offers a way to British citizenship and permanent residency.

What is Innovator Visa Points System?

The Innovator Visa is evaluated using a specific point system. The score of the application must be at least 95 points for visa approval.

Here is a breakdown of awarded points.

  • 25 points – Have a minimum of £200,000 disposable investment funds.
  • 25 points – Have free to spend investment funds.
  • 25 points – Have investment funds in regulated financial institutions.
  • 10 points – Have access to necessary maintenance funds.
  • 10 points – Fulfill the needed English language proficiency level.

The innovator visa holder is not allowed to seek paid employment other than working for their joined, established, or taken-over business, when in the UK.

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