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Adapting your business for Innovator and Start-up visas in the UK


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Adapting your business for Innovator and Start-up visas in the UK

The UK offers two types of visas for foreign entrepreneurs - the Innovator Visa and the Start-up visa. The similarity of the permits lies in the necessity for foreign businessmen to undergo inspection by one of the companies licensed by the British Home Office.

The approving bodies

Since the Innovator Visa and Start-up visa are directly related to business, the Home Office uses the so-called approving bodies, represented by experts from the field of entrepreneurship, to check the applications. Applicants are evaluated by professionals, who can quickly establish the prospects of a particular business idea.

Along with checking documents, the approving bodies examine the business plan of the applicant. If they are satisfied with the foreigner's business, the application is approved, and the foreign entrepreneur can submit a petition to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In case of final approval of the application, the regulatory body will accompany the foreign businessman until the expiry of the visa. The task of the authority is to verify that the development of the business is in accordance with the plan proposed by the entrepreneur.

If a foreigner has opened a Start-up visa, the authorized body will make sure that more attention will be paid to the initial stage of the development of the business project. As long as the control body is satisfied with the commercial results of the foreign businessman, the visa remains valid.

Things to be checked by the authorities

The UK Home Office has established 3 eligibility criteria that approving authorities must find in the applications of foreigners for Innovator and Start-up visas. The main responsibility of the verification bodies will be to use their experience and professionalism to evaluate the business project according to these three criteria.

Passing the approval boosts the chances of the applicant to get one of the UK visas for entrepreneurs. In case the project does not meet the established criteria, the approving body will suggest how to correct the situation.

Requirements for Innovator and Start-up Visa applicants

For the time being, the British Home Office has put forward the following basic requirements for applicants for business visas: innovativeness, scalability, viability. Let's take a closer look at each of these criteria.


It is especially important that the business project has no counterparts in the UK. A visa applicant cannot join a project that already exists on the market. The foreigner's business must be different from what its competitors offer, or find an unoccupied commercial niche.

During the external review of the project experts also evaluate the competitor's research conducted by the applicant. It is necessary to justify the seriousness of the work done and to give tangible evidence that the proposed project has no analogues on the market.


Entrepreneurs wishing to apply for a visa need to prove that their business is of value to the UK. The business must not only bring real profit, but also provide jobs. The approving body will follow the development of the foreigner's business from day one, paying particular attention to its potential to create new vacancies.

The business development capacity test is determined through two main criteria: the creation of at least ten regular or five high-paying full-time jobs. Consider these parameters as the basis for developing a plan to scale the business.


The Home Office creates all the conditions for a foreign enterprise to succeed in the UK. Since visas for entrepreneurs are valid for a long period of time, officials strive to help the foreigner avoid rejection.

The applicant for a visa must draw up a convincing business plan that proves that the company he has created in Great Britain will flourish. That is why the authorities involve in the selection of candidates experts who know very well how British business works.

The business plan that can interest investors will be selected. At the same time, the control authorities are always ready to advise the foreigner and help them improve their initial development strategy.

Financial security

The UK authorities will require proof of financial solvency from an entrepreneur applying for the Innovator Visa. There is no such requirement for Start-up visa. When applying for the Innovator visa, the start-up capital of the foreign enterprise must be 50,000 GBP per applicant. Partners, children and other dependents of the applicant are not subject to this requirement, but they will have to prove their minimum means of subsistence in the United Kingdom.

Personal funds

Each visa applicant must prove that they have the means to reside in the UK for the period of their business creation. When obtaining an Innovator Visa, the alien's personal funds are counted separately from the 50,000 GBP invested in the development of the company.

The amount of personal funds may vary depending on the number and specifics of persons supported by the applicant. The minimum amount of funds permanently held in the businessman's account 28 days prior to application must be 1,270 GBP. Dependents who have personal accounts also need to prove that they have a minimum amount of funds to support themselves. In addition, the applicant may be tested for English language skills and health status depending on his country of residence.

Foreign entrepreneur can safely apply for a visa if they are confident that their business meets all the requirements of the UK authorities. Having all the necessary documents, the applicant only needs to successfully go through the approval procedure.

Source: Investment Migration Insider

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