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Innovator Founder Visa

Innovator Founder Visa - introduction

The Innovator visa route is a suitable visa route for entrepreneurs who wish to establish an innovative business in the UK.  The Innovator Founder visa has replaced the previous Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. The business you intend to set up must be different from anything else on the market. From 13 April 2023, the Innovator Founder visa no longer requires a minimum investment. Although the investment funds requirement has been removed, you will need to demonstrate to the endorsing body that you have sufficient and reliable funding to establish your business in the UK.

Requirements for an Innovator Founder visa

Ideally the Innovator Founder visa is suitable for individuals who have not yet set up their business in the UK. In order to qualify for the Innovator Founder visa, you must have your business plan endorsed by an endorsing body. To ensure that the business proposition is endorsed by an endorsing body, you must demonstrate that the business is innovative, viable and scalable. Our experts at Freeths can assist you with securing endorsement from an endorsing body.

You will be required to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and will need to meet the English language requirement. The exact requirements which you will need to meet depend on your circumstances. We recommend that you speak to one of our immigration experts to determine the requirements which you will need to satisfy.

Family members of an Innovator Founder visa holder can make an application to enter or remain in the UK under this category. For further information on whether your family members qualify, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Length and condition of grant

If your Innovator visa is successful, you will be granted a visa for a period of 3 years. You are permitted to extend your permission in the UK beyond 3 years and there is no limit on further extensions. The Innovator category is a fast-track visa for settlement in the UK. As an Innovator Founder visa holder, you will benefit from being able to secure indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 3 years provided that you meet the requirements of indefinite leave to remain.

Once you have been granted an Innovator Founder visa, you will be required to work for the business you have established. You are permitted to commence additional employment within the UK provided that the secondary employment is in a skilled role. You will be required to continue to be endorsed by the endorsing body throughout your permission in the UK. You will need to stay in contact with the endorsing body and demonstrate that you are carrying out the day-to-day role in the business. You will be required to have two contact point meetings with the endorsing body (usually at 12 months and 24 months). If you fail to comply with this, your endorsement may be withdrawn.

How can Freeths help?

Our team of business immigration experts have a vast amount of knowledge and expertise to assist you with securing the appropriate visa to enable you to set up your innovative business venture in the UK. Our immigration specialists will ensure that they help you every step of the way in navigating through the complex immigration system.  Our team can assist you with the endorsement process to ensure that you successfully secure an Innovator Founder visa endorsement. Our team of immigration experts have a wealth of experience from a variety of different sectors and can aid with all types of innovative businesses.

We offer integration with broader legal services such as our commercial and corporate teams who will help you to set up your business, our real estate team who will meet your property requirements, our specialist IP and tech teams can assist in protecting your intellectual property and our specialist employment and pensions teams who will assist with all your HR requirements.

If you require legal assistance or would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts, please contact our immigration team.

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