Earlier this year the Home Office replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application with the Tier 1 Innovator visa application and Tier 1 Start-up visa application. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa was extremely popular amongst non-EEA migrants who wished to establish or take over an existing business in the United Kingdom. However, concerns regarding the abuse of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route resulted in the route being revoked and replaced. Similar to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa the Tier 1 Innovator visa application is for those who wish to set up or run a business in the United Kingdom. The key difference is that Applicants must now apply for an endorsement before applying for the visa. Another key change is the financial requirement reduced from the former £200,000 to a minimum investment of £50,000. If you are applying for a Tier 1 Innovator visa application your business idea must be a new idea which is viable with the potential to be successful. If your business is not new you may want to consider the Tier 1 Start-up visa.
What is the Tier 1 Innovator visa application?
The Tier 1 Innovator visa application is for non-EEA business people looking to set up a new business idea in the United Kingdom. The key requirements are that applicants must have a credible business idea which is new. Applicants must have at least £50,000 in cash to use for their business idea and the money must be from a lawful source as the Home Office carry out their due diligence. Applicants must apply and secure an endorsement (see below) before applying to the Home Office for a visa. The process of applying is very similar to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. Applicants must meet the English language requirement (Level B2) in accordance with Appendix O of the Immigration Rules. The maintenance requirement must also be met showing you have at least £945 in savings to support yourself in the United Kingdom and the money must be held for 90 consecutive days preceding the application.
What is the endorsement requirement in the Tier 1 Innovator visa application?
The Home Office has given the responsibility to review a business’s credibility and viability to independent endorsement bodies. Every field/sector will have its own endorsing body i.e. Applicants with Digital Technology business ideas must apply for an endorsement with Tech Nation etc. This move has been welcomed and criticised by Applicants as some have found that it has made the visa application process more difficult whereas others have welcomed the move as industry experts are now making important decisions on the business proposals and not Home Office caseworkers. A business plan will be required when applying for the endorsement. Applicants must meet the innovation, viability and scalability requirements to receive an endorsement.
Innovation – Applicants must demonstrate that their business idea is genuine and original. The business idea can be for a tangible product-based business or a service-related business.
Viability – Applicants must demonstrate that their business is practical and credible. Applicants would be required to show that they have the expertise or specialist knowledge of their chosen business field to enable the business to success. Applicants must prepare and submit a well-drafted business plan to show that the business has a clear vision and all the relevant considerations such as start-up costs, target market, market segmentation and competition have been taken into consideration. The business plan should also show the projected cash flow forecast for the first 3 years for the business. Information on other relevant factors such as strengths and weakness of the business and the impact of future growth/decline of the business sector they wish to operate in.
Scalability – Applicants must show that their business idea will benefit the economy in the United Kingdom and the business will contribute to job creation and growth into relevant markets.
Tier 1 Innovator visa application or Tier 1 Start-up visa application?
The key difference between the Tier 1 Innovator visa and the Tier 1 Start-up visa is that the Innovator visa is for Applicants who wish to introduce a new business idea to the United Kingdom. The Start-up visa can be used for any business idea as long as it is credible. Another key difference is that for the Start-up visa you do not need any cash to apply as all you need is a credible business idea and an endorsement. With the Tier 1 Innovator visa application Applicants are required to show at least £50,000 is available for the business idea. The Start-up visa is only valid for up to 2 years and it cannot be extended but you can apply to switch into another visa. The Tier 1 Innovator visa is valid for 3 years and there is no limit on the number of times you can extend. Both visas do not allow Applicants to take up full employment with another company.
Using Legal Representation to submit a Tier 1 Innovator Visa application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Tier 1 Innovator visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules for a visa application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 1 Innovator visa application succeeds and meets the requirements, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence in support of your application. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your visa application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Tier 1 Innovator Visa application
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your Tier 1 Innovator visa application and the merit of an application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful visa applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss the Tier 1 Innovator visa application.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.