Taking the ‘Innovator’ route

John Courtney of Boardroom Advisors outlines the requirements for those applying for an Innovator Visa from the UK Government.

Taking the ‘Innovator’ route
John Courtney of Boardroom Advisors outlines the requirements for those applying for an Innovator Visa from the UK Government.
Few people are probably aware that the UK Government’s Innovator Visa can still be applied for – despite the deadline passing in June of last year. This particular visa, which was introduced to attract new businesses to the country, remains available for those who satisfy a number of criteria.
The visa was created to offer talented business people the chance to set up camp in the UK. According to the Government’s own website, the business ‘must be something that’s different from anything else on the market’. It also needs to be ‘endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body.’
To be eligible for an Innovator Visa, the applicant ‘cannot join a business that is already trading’ and it must be ‘an original business idea that is viable, with potential for growth.’
Although the deadline to apply for this visa was June 30th, 2021, those from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, can still make an application providing they are ‘joining a family member who was already living in the UK by December 31st, 2020.’ And they may also be accepted if the applicant can show ‘reasonable grounds’ that they had been suffering from an illness prior to the last day of June 2021. 
The Innovator Visa was created to attract the world’s brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs. So what does the visa allow you to do?
  • Start up or launch your existing business in the UK;
  • Work as a director of your company;
  • Apply for a permanent residency after three years or apply for an extension of the visa – as many times as you want.
Making the application
  • All applications are made and processed online;
  • Applicants will be required to prove their identity through a biomorphic residency permit. This means having fingerprints and photographs taken at a visa application centre.
  • Have a valid passport, or any other documents, that prove your nationality and identity;
  • Proof that you have met the English language requirements;
  • Evidence of your investment;
  • Tuberculosis test results (if your country requires you to take the test);
  • A letter from your Endorsing Body.
All these documents, with the exception of the letter supplied by the Endorsing Body, will need to be translated by a certified English translator. Once the application has been submitted, you should hear back within two months. That’s three weeks for first time applicants or eight for those re-applying.
First time applicants will pay £1,036, along with another £1,036 for every additional person, such as a spouse, partner or any children. And if you’re re-applying for the Innovator Visa this will cost £1,292 per person. Therefore business people with bold new ideas should make an application now. 
They will need to demonstrate that their idea is unique and offers strong potential for growth in the UK. They need to be over 18, be financially stable in both their personal and entrepreneurial life, and also prove they can write and speak English.
For new businesses, their owners will need to have at least £50,000 worth of investment in the company. They also have to show proof regarding the source of this investment.
An Endorsing Body is an approved UK business that offers strategic help, advice and support throughout the application process. They will also be able to assist successful applicants during their three-year stay in the country. Those keen to take advantage of the Innovator Visa should reach out to an Endorsing Body, such as Boardroom Advisors.
John Courtney
John Courtney

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