An Innovator visa (formerly known as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa or Tier 1 Innovator visa) allows you to start or take over a business in the UK. It’s a complex application process but our immigration solicitors will guide you through each step of the visa application and advise you on how to comply with the terms of your visa during your time in the UK.

Starting or taking over a business is a huge responsibility. Our entrepreneur visa solicitors will work with you to understand your business and personal goals. We’ll put in place a long term strategy to get you settled in the UK and get your business up and running as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to apply for an Innovator Visa?

You can apply for an Innovator visa if you’re a non-EEA (European Economic Area) national who is:

  • Looking to start your own business in the UK
  • Taking over or joining a business in the UK.

Your business or business idea must be endorsed by an approved body – see a list of approved bodies.

The visa is open to individuals or teams and allows you to bring dependants, such as children under 18 and married, civil or unmarried partners.

You’ll need to show you have access to £50,000 of personal funds to invest in your own business or the one you’re joining or taking over. You don’t need funds if your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa.

During the visa period you won’t be allowed to work for any other business other than the one you started or are taking over.

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How do I apply for an Innovator visa?

The process for applying for an Innovator visa is as follows:

  1. Submit your application and detailed business plan three months before you plan to come to the UK
  2. Pay an application fee and a health surcharge fee (to cover your healthcare while you’re in the UK)
  3. Processing times will vary depending on the country you apply from but you should get a decision within three weeks
  4. If successful, your visa will be valid for three years
  5. After this time you can extend your visa for another three years. There’s no limit on how many times you can extend your visa.
  6. After five years you can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and after six years you can become eligible to apply for British citizenship.

If you’re married to a British citizen then you may be able to apply for citizenship after three years. The circumstances vary for these types of applications so it’s best to contact our immigration solicitors to discuss your situation.

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Can Irwin Mitchell help me apply for an Innovator visa?

It is possible to apply for an Innovator visa online however, applying for any visa can be stressful and an innovator visa is particularly challenging to apply for. Our immigration solicitors will get to know you and your short and long term business goals to advise you on the best way forward. We’ll also assess if you need to apply for an Innovator visa or if another visa would be more suitable.

If an Innovator visa is the best option for you, we’ll guide you through the process of applying for the visa. Our team will be on hand every step of the way, helping you develop your business plan and/or prepare your entire application.

Contact our immigration team today if you need advice on your options. Call us on 0808 271 2602 or contact us online.

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Can Irwin Mitchell help me renew or extend my Innovator visa?

To extend your visa there are certain requirements you need to meet during your first three years in the UK. Our immigration lawyers can help you plan a strategy that you can follow to give you the best chance of having your visa extension approved. If you choose to renew, we’ll help you through the extension/renewal process.

If you’re looking to settle in the UK permanently we’ll support you throughout the five year period, making sure you’re eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain as soon as possible.

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Can you help me if my visa application is refused?

If your initial visa application or visa extension has been refused, we can help by:

  • Challenging the decision through an Administrative Review
  • Advising on other visa options that may be open to you
  • Helping you switch to a different immigration category if we think this will be more beneficial for you.

Contact our team on 0808 271 2602 if your application was refused and you need advice on a way forward.

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Why choose Irwin Mitchell?

Our business immigration solicitors have an excellent success rate with initial or extension of Innovator visa applications. Through our experience with these visas we know exactly what’s required to meet the high criteria needed for the application process.

We don’t just focus on one-off work. We’ll help you with your immediate issues but also advise you on what you need to do in the future to renew your visa.

Before you start the application process, we’ll advise on the best way forward in order for you to reach your goals. This includes advice on if this visa category is right for you, and if not, we can help you with an alternative.

Moving to a new country can be daunting, especially if you’re bringing dependants. We can help you with a range of other legal matters, such as tax, employment and real estate, helping you to settle in the UK as quickly and easily as possible.

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Contact us

Get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can help you – call us on 0808 271 2602 or get in touch online.

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