Innovator Founder Visa

If you meet the specified criteria, you have the opportunity to submit an application for an Innovator Founder visa.

  • Your intention is to establish and operate a groundbreaking enterprise within the United Kingdom.
  • It is imperative that your venture distinguishes itself from all existing products or services in the market.
  • A recognized organization, referred to as an endorsing body, has given their official support to your business or business concept.
  • Additionally, you fulfill all the necessary criteria for eligibility.

This visa used to be called the Innovator visa.


You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • new – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable, with potential for growth
  • scalable – you must give evidence of planning that includes creating jobs and growing into national and international markets

To ensure your business idea aligns with the necessary criteria, it is imperative to engage an endorsing entity for assessment.

Knowledge of English

Being able to communicate in English is necessary for reading, writing, speaking, and comprehending. Proof of your English language proficiency is typically required during the application process.

For more information on our Innovator Founder Visas, please get in contact where we would love to discuss further on how we could help you.

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How long you can stay

You can stay for 3 years if you either:

  • come to the UK on an Innovator Founder visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa while in the UK

You’ll need to meet with your endorsing body after 12 months and 24 months to show you’re making progress with your business. Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn by the endorsing body. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You can apply to extend your stay for another 3 years when your visa is due to expire. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend.

You may be able to apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years.

How to apply

You must apply online.

How you apply depends on whether you’re:

  • outside the UK and are coming to the UK
  • inside the UK and extending your current visa
  • inside the UK and switching from a different visa

Your partner and children can apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible.

How long it takes

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.


How much you pay for an Innovator Founder visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK)  Extend or switch (in the UK)

You   £1,036      £1,292

Your partner and children     £1,036 each person      £1,292 each person

You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK

You’ll also need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken – there’s no fee for this.

What you can and cannot do

With an Innovator Founder visa you can:

  • set up a business or several businesses
  • work for your business – this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • do work outside your business, as long as it’s ‘skilled work’ – for example, a job on the Skilled Worker eligible occupations list or a job needing at least a level 3 qualification
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with an Innovator Founder visa.

Media Representative of an Overseas Business

The option to obtain an Overseas Media Representative Visa is available for individuals who wish to work in the UK as representatives of overseas media organisations on long-term assignments.

Innovator Founder Visa

The Innovator Founder Visa offers entrepreneurs a unique pathway for their startup to join the UK economy.

Minister of Religion Visa

This Minister of Religion Visa is designed to provide visa holders with tailored protection to allow them to fulfill their religious duties throughout their stay.

Frontier Worker Permit

The Frontier Worker Permit provides an easy, convenient way to obtain special access to work in the Frontier. By simply obtaining this permit, you will have all the necessary permissions and clearance to work without delay.

Overseas Domestic Worker Visa

The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is an ideal solution for those looking to extend their stay in the country for longer periods. It provides the necessary rights and permissions to live and work as domestic workers in an another country.

Service Providers from Switzerland Visa

Under the Service Providers from Switzerland route, eligible employers, companies, or self-employed individuals have the opportunity to enter into contracts with a UK-based party for a maximum duration of 90 days per calendar year.

Scale-up Worker route

The Scale-up Worker Visa route offers a streamlined process for highly skilled workers to enter the UK.

Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and Litigation law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps toward obtaining your goals. Get in touch today.