Alongside the Start-up visa, the UK Innovator visa is one of the most popular UK Work visas available to non-UK citizens who are looking to start a business in the country. Today’s blog will go over some of the most frequently-asked questions regarding this type of visa, starting with “What is a UK Innovator visa?”. Other potential applicants may wonder, “Can I apply for the Innovator visa from outside the UK?”, or, “When can you make an Innovator visa application?”, and finally, “How much does UK Innovator visa cost?”. Alternatively, individuals who are currently in the country on a Start-up who are wondering, “Can I switch from the UK Start-up visa to a UK Innovator visa?”, will discover how to switch to this visa, while those already in the UK on an Innovator can find out how to extend this visa. Finally, if you have already applied for the Innovator and you are worrying, “What can I do if my Innovator visa application is refused?” Don’t stress—you will likely be able to contest the decision. 

What is the UK Innovator visa?

  • The UK Innovator visa is one of the UK Business visas available to applicants looking to travel to the UK to start a business there. That business must be judged as dynamic, new to the UK business-scene, and have growth potential in order to be viable. In addition, it must be pre-approved by an official UK endorsing entity. 
  • If you receive the Innovator visa, you will be allowed to remain in the country for up to three years, with the possibility of extending your stay. 

What are the Innovator visa requirements?

  • In addition to your business idea fulfilling the conditions described above, to be approved for an Innovator visa, you as an applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements: 
    • Be 18 years old (minimum).
    • Have enough money in your personal account (£1,270 minimum, for 28 days in a row). 
    • Speak, write, and understand English to the required degree (applicants can demonstrate their English abilities by taking an official SELT test or by simply hailing from a recognized-English-speaking country). 

How much does UK Innovator visa cost?

  • Applicants for the UK Innovator visa must pay the basic application fee of £1,021.  
  • In addition to the application costs and the £1,270 personal saving requirement, applicants are subject to other fees relating to healthcare and biometric-data collection. 
  • The price the Innovator visa is based on whether you apply from within the country or abroad. 
  • Additionally, certain applicants (those who are establishing a business that is not yet on the market/operational) will need a minimum of £50,000 in funding from investors. 
  • Applicants who are applying alone will pay less than those who are applying on behalf of themselves and their family members (each applicant, including children, must pay a fee).  
  • The cost of biometric data collection is usually £19.20 for applicants who are extending from within the country. 

When can you make an Innovator visa application?

  • You can apply for an Innovator visa if you are already in the country (provided you are switching into this visa category) or from outside of it, prior to traveling. 
  • Keep in mind that the processing time for most applications lodged from abroad is three weeks, and that you will almost certainly not be allowed entry into the UK until you receive your visa. 
  • If you are already inside the country when you apply to extend or switch, you are likely to receive your visa (or a rejection) in as few as 8 weeks. 

Can I apply for Innovator visa from outside the UK?

  • Yes. In fact, the majority of applicants for the Innovator visa apply from outside the country. 
  • If you are applying from within the country, you are theoretically applying to switch into this visa category from another (for more information about how to switch to this visa category, see below). 

How do I extend my Innovator visa?

  • If you are currently in the UK on an Innovator, you may be wondering how to extend this visa in order to stay longer in the country. 
  • Applicants looking to extend their Innovator visa can contact us to help them applying. 
  • Applicants must continue to fulfill the visa’s original eligibility requirements relating to finances, age, and English language. 
  • To be considered eligible, the business you originally sought an Innovator visa for must also be operational (alternatively, you may apply on behalf of a new business—so long as it also satisfies the Innovator-visa conditions).   
  • Finally, those seeking to extend must pay the extension fee (£1,277 for a single applicant, and per each dependent). 

Can I switch from UK Start-up visa to UK Innovator visa?

  • Yes! If you are currently in the UK on a Start-up visa, you can apply to switch into the Innovator visa category, provided you meet all of the eligibility requirements. 
  • It’s common to make the switch from the Start-up to the Innovator (the former restricts the time you can spend in the UK to two years, and does not allow holders the option of extending—unlike the Innovator). 

What can I do if my Innovator visa application is refused?

  • If your Innovator visa is refused, you may have the right to contest the decision. And you will certainly have the right to re-apply. 

For information about how to begin this process, please contact us here.

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