INNOVATOR VISA

INNOVATOR VISA -Multiple Innovator migrants can apply for endorsement to be co-directors of the same company. However, these are not linked as ‘team’ applications and each applicant must receive their own individual endorsement from an approved endorsing body. Each applicant must also independently demonstrate that they each have a separate £50,000 available to invest for applications with a ‘new business’ endorsement.

Eligibility requirements
English language maintenance funds endorsement age (18+)
Conditions of leave to remain
Leave under this route is subject to the following conditions:
no recourse to public funds registration with the police under the Immigration Rules no employment other than working for the business or businesses the applicant has established, joined or taken over - working for such a business or businesses does not include any work the applicant does pursuant to (in line with) a contract of service or apprenticeship with another business whether express or implied, oral or written no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach) • study subject to the condition below The migrant is allowed to study, but they must obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for the course or research they intend to undertake and present it to their education institution before they start their study if: they are over age 18 (or will be over 18 by the time their leave expires) their course is one of the following: a doctorate or master’s degree by research in one of the disciplines listed in paragraph 1 of appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules a taught master’s degree or other postgraduate qualification in one of the disciplines listed in paragraph 2 of appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules a period of study or research in excess of 6 months in one of the disciplines listed in paragraphs 1 or 2 of appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules at an institution of higher education, where this forms part of an overseas postgraduate qualification If their course (or research) completion date is postponed or delayed for more than 3 calendar months, or there are any changes to the course contents (or the research proposal), they must apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 calendar days, and must provide a printout of the new certificate to their institution promptly.
How long is leave normally granted for?
Leave is normally granted for:
3 years for entry clearance 3 years for switching 3 years for extensions
Are dependants allowed?
Yes
Are work and study allowed?
Genuine entrepreneurial activity (no contract of service with another business) Study is allowed providing this does not prevent the migrant from meeting the extension criteria.
Is switching allowed?
Applicants can switch from the following categories:
Start-up Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Tier 2 a visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur
Does time spent in this category count towards indefinite leave to remain?
Yes
Approved endorsers
All applicants must have an endorsement issued by a Home Office approved endorsing body.
English language requirement
The applicant must have at least a B2 level of English language ability (IELTS 5.5 to 6.0), as defined in the Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning.
being a national of a majority English speaking country passing an English language test holding a degree which is: a UK Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD awarded by an establishment outside of the UK and is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree or a PhD deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK, and is from an educational establishment in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America
Level of funding
For entry clearance, an applicant must show they have at least £945 of available funds, plus £630 funds for each dependant.?
If the applicant cannot, you must refuse their application, even if they have met all the other requirements.
Verifying funding
To verify an applicant’s funding, you must ensure:
they have personal savings (in line with the appropriate levels of funding required) held for a consecutive 90 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance on the statement), ending no more than 31 days before the date of their application the endorsing body confirms in the endorsement letter that it has awarded the appropriate amount of maintenance funding to the applicant
When the funds are in a currency other than pounds sterling, you must use the:
rates published on the OANDA website to convert the amount exchange rate on the date of the application
Acceptable funds
Evidence must be in the form of cash funds held in an account (this includes savings accounts and current accounts, even when notice must be given).
Investment funds
Applicants applying for an Innovator visa with a new business endorsement will need to demonstrate that they have either invested or have available at least £50,000 to invest in their new business.
The table below sets out how an applicant can demonstrate that they meet the funding requirements:
Source Of funds Evidence required
Endorsing body or other source where the endorsing body has verified the finds are available Endorsement letter confirms available or prior investment of £50.000
A UK organisation employing at least 1O people All of the fol owing: A letter which contains a signed declaration confirming:
  • how they know the applicant
  • the amount of funding they are making available in pounds sterling (£)
  • confirmation that this funding has not been promised to any other person or business for another purpose
Name and contact details of an individualat the organisation who can verify the contents of the letter on reauest to the Home Office
An overseas organisation. a UK organisation which employs less than 1O people or an individual third party All of the following: A signed declaration which contains:
  • how they know the applicant
  • the amount of funding they are making available in pounds sterling (£ )
  • confirmation that this funding has not been promised to any other person or business for another purpose
A letter from a legalrepresentative (who is registered to practice legally in the country where the third party or the money is}. confirming that the declaration and signature in the signed declaration is genuine. A bank letter, confirming that the funds are held in a regulated financial institution(s). The letter must be dated no earlier than 1 month before the date of application. If the institution is outside the UK.the letter must also confirm that the funds are transferrab le to the UK.
Funds held by applicant Either
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 application1.
Or
A bank letter. Confirming that the funds are held In a regulated financial institution(s). The letter must be dated no earlier than 1 month before the date of application. If the institution is outside the UK.the letter must also confirm that the funds are transferrable to the UK. If these documents do not show that the applicant has held the funds for at least 3 months. The applicant must also provide all the evidence from the source of the funds as set out for an overseas organization or a UK organization which employs less than 10 people.
Funds already invested in business Either of the following documents which must show the amount that has been invested:
Business accounts. Showing the name of the accountant and the date they were produced.
Or
Business bank statements
Innovator teams
Applicants do not need to be the sole founders of their businesses. Whilst multiple Innovators in the same company can receive endorsements each applicant must Page 19 of 45 Published for Home Office staff on 29 March 2019 have been endorsed in their own right. For new business applications each innovator applicant must also be able to demonstrate that they have their own unique £50,000 available to invest in the company. Where there are co-directors in a company who are both applying for initial grants of leave on the basis of endorsements issued the innovator route you will need to be satisfied that they both have the required investment funds in their own right. For example, if two team members are being endorsed for the same business, there must be £100,000 funds, not £50,000.
Credibility assessment
You will not normally need to carry out a credibility assessment for Innovator applications. An endorsing body will already have assessed an applicant’s business plan and caseworkers are not expected to duplicate that assessment.
A balance of probability test should only be carried out on an application if you have reason to believe that there are specific grounds to doubt a migrant’s credibility. This power is primarily intended to be used where the Home Office has information that would not otherwise have been considered by an endorsing body when it has assessed a migrant’s suitability for endorsement.
Settlement applications
This section tells you what requirements a person must meet in order to be granted settlement in the Innovator route.
To be granted settlement as an Innovator, a person must:
be at least 18 years old on the date of decision the applicant’s last grant of leave must have been in the Innovator category not fail under the general grounds for refusal meet the requirements for English language not be in breach of any immigration laws meets the continuous residence requirement
Continuous Residence
Applicants for settlement in the innovator category must have continually resided in the UK for at least 3 years immediately prior to application. In determining if an applicant meets this requirement for continuous residency, you must be satisfied that the applicant has not had combined absences from the UK in excess of 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period.
Where an applicant has had excess absences due to their assisting in national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas the time spent providing this assistance will not be counted.
All other absences should be considered when assessing continuous residency however decision makers can exceptionally allow absences where an applicant has provided evidence of compelling or compassionate circumstances for their excessive absence. Examples of where such a decision may be appropriate include:
natural disasters life threatening illness of the applicant or close family member
Settlement endorsement requirements
Where an applicant is making an application for settlement they must provide an endorsement letter which must confirm all of the following:
the name of endorsing body the endorsement reference number the date of issue (which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application) the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport number short description of the applicant’s business venture and the products or services it provides (or will provide) to its customers the name and contact details of an individual at the endorsing body who can verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office the applicant has shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement the applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business the business is active and trading the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months based on its assets and expected income, weighted against its current and planned expenses the applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business the applicant’s business venture meets at least two of the settlement success criteria Settlement success criteria
Endorsing bodies must also confirm in their endorsement letter that an applicant has achieved at least 2 of the following:
at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK the business has generated a minimum annual revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts the business is generating a minimum annual revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses)
Innovator teams
Applicants do not need to be the sole founders of their businesses. Whilst multiple Innovators in the same company can receive endorsements each applicant must have been endorsed for achievements in their own right. Where there are multiple Innovators endorsed via the same company the settlement criteria relied upon must have been multiplied by the number of Innovators associated with the business. This can be achieved by either:
Applicants each using different success criteria (4 met in total) Example:
The applicants can demonstrate that they have:
created 20 jobs for resident workers invested at least £100,000 in the business

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