Till 2019, the UK government issued the Entrepreneur Visa (Tier 1). Now the UK has introduced two new visas for business aspirants. If overseas nationals wish to start a business in the UK, they can apply for an Innovator Visa or a Start-Up Visa. Here’s a guide to understanding the procedures and benefits of the Tier 1 Innovator Visa.


You can apply in this category if you wish to start an innovative business in the UK. Your business idea should be original, new, and different from existing businesses. Your business or business idea needs to be endorsed by an approved endorsing body.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

  • Age – You should be at least 18 years old.
  • Endorsement – An approved body should endorse your business.
  • Language -It is necessary to meet the English requirements.
  • Finance – Applicants are also required to submit proof of funds to support themselves and their dependents (if any) while in the UK.

Language Requirements

Applicants have to prove their knowledge of the English language when they apply. Those who have proved their English abilities during a previous successful visa application need not submit it again.

Evidence must be submitted that you can read, write, speak and understand English to a level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

The language knowledge proof can be any of the following:

  • Certificate of passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English from a UK school, gained before you were 18.
  • A degree-level academic qualification taught in English. Graduates outside the UK need to apply for confirmation through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) to prove that their qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D.
  • Nationals of selected countries need not prove their English knowledge.

What is Endorsement?

Business ideas need to be endorsed by bodies approved by the UK government. Only authorized bodies can give endorsement letters for Innovative Visa applicants. If an applicant receives an endorsement letter from an organization or institution that the UK Home Government does not approve, it should be reported. You need to choose the correct endorsement body and approach them through the proper channel.

What are the Advantages of Innovator Visa?

  • You are allowed to set up one or more businesses in the UK.
  • No minimum investment.
  • You can work for your business employed as a director or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • You can bring your partner and children under 18 as your dependents. They should fulfill all the eligibility criteria, and you must be able to support them.
  • You can travel abroad and return to the UK.
  • You can apply to settle permanently in the UK. You can apply for a permanent settlement option or the ‘indefinite leave to remain,’ if you have lived in the UK for three years.


Innovator Visa is valid for three years, after which there is an extension option. You need to apply for an extension before the current Visa expires. Your business must be functional or you must be looking towards starting a new one. Dependents also need to apply for extension along with the main applicant.

Other Terms and Conditions

  • There shall be no access to public funds or the State Pension.
  • You cannot do any work outside your business. Moreover, another business cannot employ you.
  • You cannot work as a professional sportsperson such as a sports coach.
  • Money from your investment funds or money earned illegally while working in the UK cannot be used to support yourself while in the UK.

Our expert consultancy team and legal team can assist you in your application procedure. We will help you prepare the application and submit it at the correct time. Contact us for more details.