Innovator Visa: Establish Your Business in the UK

The innovator visa replaced the Tier-1 Entrepreneur visa category in 2019. This category aims to facilitate development and investments in dynamic and novel businesses in the UK. Our Immigration Team has advised several clients to make applications under this visa category with tremendous success, ensuring a bright future in the UK. While this visa category has not yet fallen into widespread public knowledge, our immigration barristers and solicitors make sure that you stay ahead of the curve. This article addresses the most common questions our clients have, the requirements for an innovator visa, and how you can fulfil them.

The Requirements for a Successful Innovator Visa Application

One of the most common misconceptions held by our clients is that innovator visas are only applicable to those wanting to bring businesses based on IT technologies to the UK. This is not the case. You can apply for an innovator business on the basis of all sorts of businesses.

To be eligible for an innovator visa, you must have your business idea endorsed by an authorised organisation, such as incubators and investment firms, which are known as endorsing bodies.

You must also prove that you intend to open a new company or invest in an already-established business in the UK. Whichever of the two you choose, the business must be sustainable and able to finance itself.

As an applicant, you must also prove that you possess sufficient proficiency in the English language. This can be shown by undertaking any one of multiple language tests or by showing that you hold a Bachelor’s/Master’s diploma issued by a university recognised in the UK.

Our Immigration Team has assisted numerous clients in successfully making innovator visa applications. We offer a bespoke legal service and offer you advice on the individual merits of your case, ensuring that you proceed with a business plan that is readily approved and a streamlined plan that lets you put your ideas into action swiftly.

What is the Difference Between an Innovator Visa and a Start-Up Visa?

Start-up visas have replaced the Tier-1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa category. These are intended for someone wanting to set up a new business in the UK.

The innovator visa has replaced the Tier-1 Entrepreneur route. While both routes require prior endorsement, the innovator visa requires initial sums of investment (discussed below).  The innovator visa lasts for three years whereas a start-up visa remains valid for two years. Unlike a start-up visa, an innovator visa can be extended several times.

The Application Fees

Certain amounts of money must be shown before an application for an innovator visa can be successfully undertaken.

The application fee for the innovators visa is £1,021 for the applicant or £1,270 if you are applying from inside the UK. The same amount of money must be paid by each person applying as a dependent, such as your partner or children. You must also pay £624 per applicant per year towards the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Under the innovator visa, an applicant must show a sum of £945 on their bank statements. Additionally, £630 must be shown for each dependent applying alongside the applicant.

It is of the utmost importance to note that the innovator visa route requires a capital investment of at least £50,000. If a group of investors if applying,

Our team of trained solicitors and lawyers is well-equipped to walk you through every detail and requirement preceding the making of a successful application so that you can focus on what matters the most: the smooth running of your business, with your family by your side.  


A decision on an innovator visa application is usually reached upon within 3 weeks. For applications that are switching from a different visa category from within the UK, the processing time is approximately 8 weeks. Our team of immigration lawyers are seasoned professionals with years of experience behind them. We provide our clients a seamless experience so that their applications take no longer than necessary.

Successful Innovator Visa Applications

The key ingredient to success is having the right support. 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 the merit of your case before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. Our team of immigration lawyers are extremely skilled and hold considerable experience in advising clients on an array of visa applications they may undertake, including innovator and start-up visas. Our team looks at the issues from both sides so that a balanced and correct evaluation of the case is achieved. We are also proud of being able to mobilise with speed and act as tenaciously as the client’s needs and case demands. All options available are discussed with the client, consideration is given to personal and financial pressures and future action is only taken after proper consultation and agreement.

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. LEXVISA and LEXLAW are just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is integral to success. 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 develop a timely strategy for your successful innovator visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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