This guidance relates to UK Innovator Visa requirements for applying leave to enter or remain and settlement (ILR) applications under Appendix Innovator of the Immigration Rules. An applicant needs to score 70 points for successfully applying for the UK innovator visa application. Indeed, the Endorsement Letter issued by an approved UK Innovator Visa Endorsing Body for New or Same Business is important. Please note, from March 29, 2019, the UK innovator visa has replaced the Tier 1 entrepreneur route for doing business in the UK. Therefore, at times, the UK Innovator Visa under Appendix Innovator is also erroneously referred to as t1 or tier 1 innovator visa, British innovation or innovative visa.

Purpose Who can apply? Summary of Requirements Endorsement Letter Supporting Documents Table: 70 Points New Business – 50 Points Business Plan Innovative, Viable and Scalable £50,000 Investment Funds Same Business – 50 Points Previously Assessed Business is Active Management English Language – 10 Points Financial Requirements – 1o Points Application Fees

The Purpose of the Innovator Visa Route

The British Government has designed Innovator route to attract entrepreneurial talent and innovative, scalable business ideas to the UK. Launched in March 2019 the route is for individuals looking to set up an innovative UK business. Start-up visa is for those setting up an innovative business for the first time, whilst Innovator is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding. Individuals require support from an Endorsing Body, before applying, which must have assessed the business idea as being innovative, viable and scalable.

The UK Government has been actively promoting the Innovator route to attract talented entrepreneurs. Therefore, the innovator route is not capped. Moreover, the Innovator route enhance the UK’s visa offers to leading international business talent and maintains UK position as a top destination for innovation and entrepreneurs. In the future, the UK Government may continue to expand coverage of the Innovator route to more sectors and businesses.

The Innovator route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed.

Immigration Rules Appendix Innovator

Who Can Apply for UK Innovator Visa?

The Innovator route is open to both EU and non-EU citizens. Applicants can be individuals or teams. The Innovator route is for those with industry experience and at least £50,000 funding, who can dedicate their working time to their business ventures, or those moving from Start-up who are progressing their business.

Each applicant for UK Innovator visa must have the support of an approved Endorsing Body. Endorsing Bodies are either Higher Education Providers or business organisations who have a track record of supporting UK based entrepreneurs and the support of a Government Department. Endorsing Bodies assess each UK innovator visa application to ensure it is innovative, viable and scalable, and are responsible for monitoring the progress of the businesses they endorse.

To deliver and ensure an improved service to UK innovator visa applicants the Home Office has partnered with some of the UK’s leading business development experts. It is they, rather than the Home Office, who assess applicants’ business ideas.

When UK innovator visa replaced Tier 1 Entrepreneur?

In terms of the statement of changes, applications for innovator visa UK will commence from March 29, 2019, and will also replace the Tier 1 Entrepreneur with from March 29, 2019. However, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route will remain open for extension and ILR applications until 5 April 2023 and 5 April 2025, respectively. Moreover, Tier 1 entrepreneur extensions from abroad will be for 2 years and 4 months instead of 2 years.

UK Innovator Visa Application Requirements 2021

An adult above 18 years person can apply for a UK innovator visa if:

  1. he/she wants to establish and operate an innovative business in the UK. However, the business be different from any other business in the market. Accordingly, the applicant needs to demonstrate that the business idea is:
    • new i.e. the applicant cannot join an already trading business
    • innovative i.e. the business idea is original and different from any other business in the market
    • viable i.e. has the potential for growth
  2. an approved endorsing body endorses the business or business idea. Accordingly, the applicant needs to have an Endorsement Letter for the Tier 1 Innovator Visa
  3. the applicant has at least £50,000* in investment funds for setting up a new business. Moreover, the applicant needs to prove the source of funds for UK Innovator Visa. However, the applicant does not need any investment funds for UK Innovator Visa if:
    • the business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa, or
    • applicant has changed the business and the endorsing body agreed to it
    • an applicant has a key role in the day to day management and development of an existing business
  4. the applicant meets the English language requirements of CEFR Level B2
  5. he/she has at least £1,270 savings in the bank account for 28 consecutive days to support himself/herself in the UK

*Please note, a person can form a team with other Innovator applicants; however, cannot share the same investment funds. Accordingly, the innovator team must have at least £50,000 for each applicant. Therefore, if there are 2 Innovator applicants then the team must have at least £100,000 investment funds.

Summary of  Innovator Visa Requirements

Individuals or Teams Yes
Endorsement Letter Yes
English Language (CEFR Level B2) Yes
Application Fee Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes
Biometrics Yes
Maintenance (Min £1,270) Yes
Capped No
Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Route to settlement Yes
Dependants (Spouse and Children) Yes
Access to public funds No
Supplementary work No

In a nutshell, to apply for UK innovator visa (aka tier 1 or t1 business visa), an applicant usually needs to have an endorsement letter, £50,000 of investment funds, B2 level of IELTS or equivalent for proving English language ability and at least £1,270 for maintenance funds. A dependent partner and dependent children can apply on this route. The Innovator route is a route to settlement. Moreover, tier 1 UK innovator visa application fees in 2020, success rate (2019) and processing time after biometrics are £1,021, 96.70% and 3-6 weeks, respectively. The initial duration of UK innovator visa is 3 years. However, after 3 years, an innovator can apply for an ILR (settlement) under the Immigration Rules.

UK Innovator Visa Covid-19 Concessions

If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you are not able to travel to the UK then may still be eligible for a UK Innovator visa. Nevertheless, the Home Office/UKVI may consider such applications on a case by case basis.

Moreover, a migrant on the innovator route may be eligible for Exceptional Assurance and Covid Visa Concession Scheme.

Impact of Coronavirus on UK Visa and Immigration

For latest updates and details please refer to UK Visa Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance

UK Innovator Visa Endorsement Letter

All applicants for permission in the Innovator route must have been endorsed in this category by an endorsing body listed on the GOV.UK website. Accordingly, the UK Innovator Visa applicant needs to provide an endorsement letter issued by the endorsing body, which includes all of the following information:

  1. the name of the endorsing body
  2. endorsement reference number
  3. the date of issue, which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application
  4. the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  5. a short description of the applicant’s business venture and the main products or services it will provide to its customers
  6. the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the endorsing body who will verify the contents of
    the letter to the Home Office if requested

The Home Office/UKVI will not accept an endorsement if:

  • it has been used more than 3 months after date of issue
  • it has been withdrawn by the endorsing body
  • the endorsing body has lost its status as an endorsing body at the date of decision

In addition to the above the endorsement letter must also include the Endorsing body’s confirmation that in their assessment the applicant meets the individual requirements of either the New Business or Same Business criteria.

UK Innovator Visa Supporting Documents Requirements

An applicant applying for UK Innovator visa needs to provide:

  1. a valid passport or other document for demonstrating an applicant’s identity and nationality, with a blank page in the passport for the UK Innovator visa vignette if he/she is from:
    • outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
    • the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein but do not have a biometric passport with a chip in it
  2. an ‘endorsement letter’ from an approved endorsing body demonstrating the assessment of the business or business idea
  3. bank statements to show at least £1,270 in savings (maintenance funds) in the bank account for 28 consecutive days before the application date.  However, if the applicant is applying the UK Innovator visa with dependent family members then needs addition maintenance funds:
    • £285 for partner
    • £315 for one child
    • £200 for each additional child
  4. the proof of meeting the English language requirements CEFR Level B2
  5. evidence of the investment funds (£50,000), if the applicant is setting up a new business in the UK
  6. tuberculosis test results if the applicant is from a country where he/she needs to take the test
  7. certified translation of all the documents that are not in English or Welsh
  8. any additional documents depending on the circumstances of the applicant

Additional Documents Requirements for UK Innovator Visa

Please note, the UK Innovator Visa is endorsement base. Therefore, the approved endorsement body scrutinizes most of the documentation such as business plan, professional credentials, investment funds etc. before issuing the Endorsement Letter. Accordingly, an applicant may not need to furnish all these details at the time of application submission. However, if the Immigration Officer deems necessary then may ask the applicant to provide the details of the UK Innovator Visa Supporting Documents and also the communications with the endorsement body. Therefore, it is expedient to keep a copy of all the relevant document readily available.

UK Innovator Visa 70-Points Requirements

For successfully applying for UK Innovator visa, an applicant needs to have 70 points, of which 50 must either be under the new business criteria or under the same business criteria, but not both.

UK Innovator Visa Points Table

Attribute New or same business Points available
Business plan New Business 10
Business venture is innovative, viable and scalable. New Business 20
£50,000 available funds to invest or having been invested New Business 20
Applicant’s previous permission was as in the Innovator, Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and they are pursuing a business assessed by a Home Office approved endorsing body either for the previous endorsement or at a contact point. Same Business 10
Business is active, trading and sustainable and demonstrates significant achievements against the business plan Same Business 20
Applicant is active in day-to-day management and development of business Same Business 20
English Language requirement at level B2 Mandatory for all applicants 10
Financial requirement Mandatory for all applicants 10
Total number of points required for UK Innovator Visa   70

UK Innovator Visa 70-Points Requirements for New Business

  1. Business Plan – 10 Points
  2. Business Venture is Innovative, Viable and Scalable – 20 Points
  3. Min £50,000 Investment Funds – 20 Points
  4. English Language CEFR Level B2 – 10 Points
  5. Min £1,270 Maintenance Funds – 10 Points

UK Innovator Visa Business Plan Requirements – 10 Points

The applicant must have an endorsement letter from an endorsing body which confirms that the applicant has either generated, or made a significant contribution to, the ideas in their business plan; and will have a day-to-day role in carrying out the business plan.

Innovative, viable and scalable business requirements – 20 Points

The applicant must have an innovative, viable and scalable business venture. Accordingly, the applicant needs:

  • to have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage; and
  • realistic and achievable business plan on the basis of an applicant’s available resources; and
  • to actively develop the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business; and
  • to have evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets

Moreover, an approved endorsing body confirms in the endorsement letter that it considers that the applicant meets the above UK innovator visa requirements for New Business.

UK Innovator Visa Funds Requirements for New Business – 20 Points

The applicant needs to have at least £50,000 of funds available to invest, or which have been invested, in the business by providing confirmation from the endorsing body that the approved UK Innovator visa endorsing body:

  1. is providing the funds of at least £50,000; or
  2. has verified the funds are available from other sources (which can include the applicant); or
  3. has verified that at least £50,000 has already been invested in the applicant’s business

If the UK Innovator visa funds requirements y an endorsing body which confirms as part of their endorsement letter that they consider that the applicant meets those requirements.

Additionally, an applicant can also provide evidence that the £50,000 of funds are available from another source:

  1. a UK organisation which employs at least 10 people
  2. an overseas organisation, a UK organisation which employs less than 10 people, or an individual
  3. applicant’s own resources
  4. funds already invested

Please note: any funds in a foreign currency will be converted to pounds sterling (£) using the spot exchange rate which appeared on www.oanda.com on the date of application. Funds will not be accepted if they are held in a financial institution not permitted in Appendix Finance.

UK Organisation Employing at least 10 people

If a UK organisation which employs at least 10 people provides any of the UK Innovator visa funds then the applicant needs to provide a letter from that organisation confirming this and:

  • how the UK organisation knows the applicant; and
  • the amount of funding the UK organisation is making available in pounds sterling (£); and
  • confirmation that the funding has not been promised to any other person or business for another purpose; and
  • the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the UK organisation who will verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office if requested
An overseas organisation, a UK organisation employing less than 10 people, or an individual

If an overseas organisation, a UK organisation which employs less than 10 people, or an individual, the applicant must provide:

  • signed declaration from the funding provider, dated no more than 3 months before the date of application, setting out all of the following:
    • how they know the applicant; and
    • the amount of funding they are making available in pounds sterling (£); and confirmation that this funding has not been promised to any other person or business for another purpose; and
    • the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the organisation who will verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office if requested; and
  • letter from a legal representative (who is registered to practise legally in the country where the third party or the money is), confirming that the declaration and signature is genuine; and
  • bank letter, dated no earlier than 1 month before the date of application, confirming that the funds are held in a regulated financial institution(s) and if the institution is outside the UK, the letter must also confirm that the funds are transferrable to the UK.
Investment Funds held by the Applicant

If any of the UK innovator visa funds are held by the applicant then needs to provide:

  • bank statements, showing the funds are held in the UK in an institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The statements must cover a consecutive 3 months, ending no earlier than 1 month before the date of application; or
  • a bank letter, dated no earlier than 1 month before the date of application, confirming that the funds are held in a regulated financial institution(s) and, if the institution is outside the UK, the letter must also confirm that the funds are transferrable to the UK

If the documents do not show that the applicant has held the funds for at least 3 months, the applicant must also provide the signed declaration and letter from a legal representative, in relation to the organisation or person who provided the funds to the applicant.

Funds Already Invested

If any of the funds have already been invested in the applicant’s business, the applicant must provide either of the following, showing the amount that has been invested:

  • business accounts, showing the name of the accountant and the date they were produced; or
  • business bank statements

If any of the evidence show that the funds are available to the applicant’s business rather than to the applicant, or have been invested in the business, the applicant must provide a Companies House document showing their connection to the business. This document is not needed if the endorsement letter confirms the applicant’s connection to the business.

UK Innovator Visa 70-Points Requirements for Same Business

  1. Applicant’s previous permission was as in the Innovator, Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route – 10 Points
  2. Business is active, trading and sustainable and demonstrates significant achievements against the business plan – 20 Points
  3. Applicant is active in day-to-day management and development of business – 20 Points
  4. English Language CEFR Level B2 – 10 Points
  5. Min £1,270 Maintenance Funds – 10 Points

Business previously assessed by an endorsing body – 10 Points

The endorsing body which confirms endorsement on the basis of a business or another endorsing body have previously assessed while the applicant had permission on the Innovator Start-up route or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).

Moreover, the endorsing body confirms that the applicant meets the new business requirements with the exception that applicants previously endorsed in the Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) routes do not need to meet the investment funds requirement.

Business is active, trading and sustainable – 20 Points

The applicant’s business is active, trading and sustainable and the applicant has made significant progress against the business plan. The applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of the business. The endorsing body confirms the aforesaid.

Day to day management – 20 Points

The applicant is  involved in the day to day management and development of the business and provides a letter confirming this from an endorsing body.

UK Innovator visa English Language  – 10 Points

The applicant must show English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of at least level B2. Moreover, the applicant must show they meet the English language requirement as specified in Appendix English Language. Accordingly, the applicant needs to provide one of the following evidence to prove the English language requirement:

  1. A national of a majority English speaking country
  2. The degree taught in English – applicant needs to provide UK NARIC certificate confirming the qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK
  3. Applicant passing a Secure English Language Test
  4. The applicant met the requirement in a previous successful application for:
    • Start-up, Innovator, Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Post-Study Work), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
    • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) under the rules in place before 13 December 2012
    • Tier 4 (General), supported by a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) assigned on or after 21 April 2011

UK Innovator Visa Financial Requirements – 10 Points

If the applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application then automatically meets the UK innovator visa financial requirements. Therefore, in such instances, an applicant does not need to show funds for maintenance in the UK. However, a UK innovator visa applicant, who is applying for entry clearance, or who is applying for permission to stay and has been in the UK for less than 12 months at the date of application needs to show funds of at least £1,270. Accordingly, the applicant needs to show that he/she has held the required level of funds for a 28- day period and as per Appendix Finance.

UK Innovator Visa Application Fee 2021

From April 6, 2020, the UK innovator visa fee for EC and leave to remain applications will be £1,021 and £1,277, respectively. Moreover, the main applicant can also avail a Council of Europe Social Charter (CESC) discount of £55.

UK Innovator Visa Entry and Leave to Remain Requirements

An applicant aged 18 or over on the date of application, applying for n the Tier 1 Innovator visa route needs to submit an online application on the gov.uk website on the following specified forms:

Applicant Specified form
EEA national with a chipped passport Either:
– Start-up or Innovator using the UK Immigration: ID Check app (when available); or
– the forms listed below for applicants outside or inside the UK (as relevant)
Applicants outside the UK Start-up or Innovator visa
Applicants inside the UK Start-up or Innovator permission to stay

The applicant must be a genuine Innovator applicant. An applicant for entry clearance or permission to stay on the Innovator route needs to pay the application fee and Immigration Health Charge. Moreover, needs to provide the biometrics and a passport or other travel document to establish identity and nationality. Indeed, the applicant needs to provide an endorsement letter issued by an endorsing body no more than 3 months before the date of UK Innovator visa application and the endorsing body has not withdrawal the endorsement.

If the applicant has, in the 12 months preceding the application date, received an award from a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK then needs to provide a written consent from that Government or agency.

Leave to Remain on Tier 1 Innovator Visa Route

A person applying for permission to stay on the Innovator route must be in the UK and must not have, or have last been granted, permission as a:

  • Visitor; or
  • Short-term Student; or
  • Parent of a Child Student; or
  • Seasonal Worker; or
  • domestic worker in a private household; or
  • outside the Immigration Rules

Suitability

The applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, if the applicant is applying for permission to stay then must not be:

  • in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
  • on immigration bail

Entry Clearance as Tier 1 Innovator Visa Migrant

A person coming to the UK on the UK Innovator visa needs to apply for and obtain entry clearance on the Innovator route before arrival. Moreover, if paragraph A39 and Appendix T of the Immigration Rules is applicable then needs to provide a valid tuberculosis certificate.

UK Innovator Visa Processing Time

In fact, when it comes to application processing, the UK Innovator Visa falls under the non-settlement visa category. Therefore, the UK innovator visa application processing time is usually within 3-6 weeks. However, prospective applicants may add 4-12 weeks for preparing a business plan and getting the endorsement letter from an approved endorsement body. Please note, it expedient to get first hand information regarding the process of issuance of endorsement letter directly for the approved endorsing bodies as each body has a different internal procedure.

Decision

If the applicant satisfies the decision maker that he/she meets all the suitability and eligibility requirements then gets the UK Innovator visa for a maximum period of 3 years, subject to the following conditions:

  1. no access to public funds; and
  2. no work, other than working for the business(es) the applicant has established and
  3. study is permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS; and
  4. if Part 10 applies the applicant will be required to register with the police

Please note, working for the business(es) does not include any apprenticeship or any work pursuant to a contract of service, whether express or implied and whether oral or written, with another business, (which means successful applicants cannot fill a position or hire their labour to another business, even if the work is undertaken through contracting with the applicant’s own business or through a recruitment or employment agency).

If the decision maker refuses the application the person can apply for an Administrative Review.

UK Innovator Visa Success and Refusal Rate

In 2019, 91 applications resolved and 88 UK innovator visas granted. Moreover, only 3 UK innovator visa applications rejected. And no application was withdrawn or lapsed. Therefore, the UK innovator visa success and refusal rates are 96.70% and 3.29%, respectively.

Perhaps, there is some skepticism regarding the low number of UK innovator visa applications. However, in the light of official statistics, the criticism is quite misplaced. In fact, the number of applications are are increasing i.e. in April-June 2019 (Q2) only 2 applications were decided; however, in July-Sept (Q3) and Oct-Dec (Q3), the number of UK innovator visa applications increased to 20 and 69, respectively. Perhaps, this increase in the number of applications, along with a very high success rate (96.70%) and a growing list of quality endorsing bodies indicates that UK innovator visa will surely enable a number of high skilled and high value migrants to set up successful businesses in the UK.

UK Innovator Visa Settlement Requirements

The applicant must provide an endorsement letter issued by an endorsing body, which includes all of the following information:

  1. the name of the endorsing body; and
  2. endorsement reference number; and
  3. the date of issue, which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application; and
  4. the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport number; and
  5. a short description of the applicant’s business venture and the main products or services it has provided; and
  6. the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the endorsing body who will verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office if requested; and
  7. confirmation that the applicant has shown significant achievements, judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement; and
  8. confirmation that the applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business; and
  9. evidence/confirmation the business is active and trading; and
  10. confirmation that the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months, based on its assets and expected income, weighed against its current and planned expenses; and
  11. confirmation the applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business; and
  12. evidence/confirmation the applicant’s business venture has met at least two of the following requirements:

    • at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business; or
    • the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent three years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services; or
    • the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK; or
    • business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts; or
    • business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas; or
    • the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for settled workers; or
    • the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for settled workers, each of which has a mean salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any allowances).

Applicant Cannot Reply on Same Criterion Twice

An applicant cannot meet the UK Innovator visa settlement requirements by relying on the same criterion twice. For instance, an applicant who has invested £100,000 (2 x £50,000) in their business venture will be considered to have met one criterion, not two.

Moreover, if the business venture has one or more other team members who are applying for, or have been granted, settlement on the Innovator route, they cannot share the same means of meeting these criteria. For instance, if two applicants are relying on the requirement to have created 10 jobs, 20 jobs must have been created in total.

Job Creation Criteria

If the applicant is relying on the criteria for creating jobs the following requirements must be met:

  • each job must have existed for at least 12 months and comply with all relevant UK legislation, including (but not limited to) the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Working Time Regulations 1998; and
  • each job must involve an average of at least 30 hours of paid work per week, but two or more part time jobs held by different employees that when combined add up to 30 hours per week will represent the equivalent of a single full-time job, as long as each of the jobs has existed for at least 12 months; and
  • a job will be considered one for settled worker if the worker met the definition of settled worker in the rules in force at the time they started the job, and they remained employed for the whole claimed 12-month period, even if they ceased to be a settled worker at a later date

Qualifying period

The applicant needs to spent at least 3 years in the UK with permission on the Innovator route. The applicant must also prove that he/she has met the continuous residence requirement as set out in Appendix Continuous Residence for the qualifying period.

Knowledge of Life

The applicant needs to meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement as set out in Appendix KOL UK.

Valid Application

A migrant on the Innovator route can apply for settlement online on the gov.uk website on the specified form “Settle in the UK in various immigration categories: form SET(O)”. Accordingly, the applicant needs to meet all the following UK innovator visa settlement application requirements:

  1. payment of application fee
  2. provision of biometrics
  3. provision of passport or other travel document to establish identity and nationality
  4. the applicant must be in the UK
  5. endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body no more than 3 months before the date of application and that endorsement must not have been withdrawn

Moreover, the applicant must have, or have last been granted, permission on the Innovator route. If an applicant does not meet all the aforesaid validity requirements for settlement under the UK Innovator visa route then the application is deemed invalid and may also be rejected and not considered by the Home Office.

Suitability

The applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, if the applicant is applying for permission to stay then must not be:

  • in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
  • on immigration bail

Decision

If the applicant meets all the requirements then gets the settlement under the Innovator route. If the Home Office refuses the UK Innovator Visa ILR application then the migrant can apply for an Administrative Review.

Family Members

A partner or child on the Tier 1 Innovator visa route needs to submit an online application on the gov.uk website on the following specified forms:

Applicant Specified form
EEA national with a chipped passport Either (as applicable):
Dependant partner or dependant child using the UK Immigration: ID Check app; or
the forms listed below for dependant applicants outside or inside the UK as relevant.
Applicants outside the UK Dependant partner visa
Dependant child visa
Applicants inside the UK If the dependant is applying at the same time on the Innovator visa route then can be included in the form “Start-Up or Innovator permission to stay” where the form allows dependants to be added. Otherwise:
– Dependant partner
– Dependant child

An applicant for entry clearance or permission to stay as a dependent partner or dependent child on the Innovator route needs to pay the application fee and Immigration Health Charge. Moreover, needs to provide the biometrics and a passport or other travel document to establish identity and nationality.

Leave to Remain

A family member applying for permission to stay on the Tier 1 Innovator Visa route must be in the UK and must not have, or have last been granted, permission as a:

  • Visitor; or
  • Short-term Student; or
  • Parent of a Child Student; or
  • Seasonal Worker; or
  • domestic worker in a private household; or
  • outside the Immigration Rules

Suitability

The applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, if the applicant is applying for permission to stay then must not be:

  • in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
  • on immigration bail

Entry Clearance

A person coming to the UK as a partner/spouse or dependant child needs to apply for and obtain entry clearance as a partner or child before arrival. Moreover, if paragraph A39 and Appendix T of the Immigration Rules is applicable then needs to provide a valid tuberculosis certificate.

Relationship Requirements for Partner on Innovator Visa Route

A person applying as a dependent partner must be aged 18 or over on the date of application. The applicant must be the partner of a person, who has permission on the Innovator route; or at the same time, applying for (and is granted) permission on the Innovator route. However, if the applicant and the partner are not married or in a civil partnership then needs to meet all of the following requirements:

  • they must have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least the 2 years before the date of application; and
  • any previous relationship of the applicant or their Innovator partner with another person must have permanently broken down; and
  • the applicant and their Innovator partner must not be so closely related that they would not be allowed to marry or form a civil partnership in the UK

Furthermore, the relationship between the applicant and their Innovator partner must be genuine and subsisting. The applicant and their partner must intend to live together throughout the applicant’s stay in the UK.

Relationship Requirements for Child on the Innovator Visa Route

The child must be under the age of 18 at the date of application, unless they were last granted permission as the dependent child of their parent or parents. If the applicant is aged 16 or over at the date of application, they must not be leading an independent life.

Moreover, the applicant needs to be the child of a person, who has permission on the UK Innovator visa route; or at the same time, applying for (and is granted) entry clearance or permission on the Innovator route. Moreover, the applicant’s parents must each be either applying at the same time as the applicant, or be present in the UK with permission (other than as a visitor) unless:

  • the parent applying for or with permission on the Innovator route is the sole surviving parent; or
  • the parent applying for with permission on Innovator route has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing; or
  • the decision maker is satisfied that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child permission to come to, or stay in, the UK with the parent who has permission on the Innovator route

If the applicant is under the age of 18 on the date of application then there must be suitable arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK, which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations.

Financial Requirements for UK Innovator Visa Family Members

If the applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application, they will meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds. However, if an applicant is applying for entry clearance, or has been living in the UK for less than 12 months at the date of application, then the applicant or Innovator partner/parent needs to funds of at least:

  • £285 for a dependent partner in the UK or applying to come to the UK; and
  • £315 for the first child; and
  • £200 for each additional child

The funds must be in addition to any funds required by the Innovator applicant to meet the financial requirement and for any dependants in the UK or applying at the same time. The required level of funds must have been held for a 28-day period and as set out in Appendix Finance.

Decision

If the applicant meets all the suitability and eligibility requirements then gets the UK innovator visa as a dependent partner or dependent child. Accordingly, a partner will be granted permission which ends on the same date as their partner’s permission on the Innovator route or for 3 years’ if the partner was (or is being) granted settlement on the Innovator route. A child will be granted permission which ends on the same date as whichever of their parents’ permission ends first unless both parents have (or are being granted) settlement or British Citizenship, in which case the child will be granted permission for 3 years.

If the UK start-up visa application is refused then the person can apply for an Administrative Review.

Condition of Stay in the UK

The grant will be subject to all the following conditions:

  1. no access to public funds; and
  2. work (including self-employment and voluntary work) permitted; except for employment as a professional sportsperson, including as a sports coach; and
  3. study is permitted, subject to the ATAs condition in Appendix ATAS; and
  4. if Part 10 applies the applicant will be required to register with the police

Settlement for Dependant Family Members on UK Innovator Visa

A partner and child on the Innovator route who is applying for settlement must:

  • apply on the specified form “Settle in the UK in various immigration categories: form SET(O)”
  • pay application fees
  • provide the required biometrics
  • provide a passport or other travel document that satisfactorily establishes his/her identity and nationality
  • be in the UK
  • have, or have last been granted, permission as a dependant partner or child of a person who has or who had permission on the Innovator route and who is either applying to settle at the same time or has already settled under the Innovator route

Suitability Requirements for Tier 1 Innovator Visa

The applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, if the applicant is applying for permission to stay then must not be:

  • in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
  • on immigration bail

Relationship Requirements for Tier 1 Innovator Visa

The applicant must be the partner or child of a person, at the same time, being granted settlement on the Innovator route; or is settled or has become a British citizen under the Innovator route. The applicant must have last been granted permission as a dependent partner or dependent child of the person settled on the Innovator route.

If applying as a child, the applicant’s other parent must be being granted settlement at the same time, or be settled or a British citizen, unless

  • the innovator person or applying as the dependent partner of the innovator is the applicant’s sole surviving parent or has sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing
  • the decision maker is satisfied that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the applicant settlement

The child must be under the age of 18 at the date of application, unless they were last granted permission as the dependent child of their parent or parents. If the applicant is aged 16 or over on the date of application they must not be leading an independent life.

If the applicant is under the age of 18 on the date of application there must be suitable arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK, which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations.

Qualifying Period for the Partner

The applicant must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK with permission as a dependent partner of an Innovator person. Moreover, the applicant must meet the continuous residence requirement as set out in Appendix Continuous Residence during the 5-year period.

English Language Requirements for Tier 1 Innovator Visa

Unless an exemption applies, the applicant must show English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in speaking and listening to at least level B1. The applicant must show they meet the English language requirement as specified in Appendix English Language.

Knowledge of Life in the UK

If the applicant is aged 18 or over at the date of application, they must meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement as set out in Appendix KOL UK.

Decision

If the applicant meets all the UK innovator visa requirements as a dependant family member then gets settlement. If the decision maker refuses the application, the applicant can file the administrative review.

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