Start Up | Innovators Visa - Arona St James Solicitors
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New start up Innovators visa

To be eligible to apply for this visa you will need to satisfy the following requirements.

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  • Want to set up a business in the UK
  • Be a national of a non-EEA country
  • Be over 18 years old
  • Meet the English Language Requirement to level B2 CEFR or have a recognised UK NARIC academic qualification taught in English which is recognised as being the equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree or be from a majority English speaking country
  • You must show maintenance funds of at least £945 in your bank account for a consecutive period of at least 90 days. Should dependants be applying with you, they must show an additional £630 per applicant. This must be held in either the main applicant’s or dependant’s bank account for a consecutive period of at least 90 days
  • You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds (i.e. good character test) and must not have been in the UK in breach of the immigration laws

Typically these types of applications are made from outside the UK. It is possible however to switch in country to the Start-up Visa, to be eligible you must have valid leave in the UK as either a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 2 Visa, Tier 4 (General) Visa (please note that are restrictions) or a Visitor Visa (acting as a prospective entrepreneur – you must provide evidence of permitted activities in the UK).


To secure this type of Visa you must by endorsed by an authorised body. The list of approved endorsing bodies can be found on the link below:


An endorsement letter must also be provided by the endorsing body, the letter should include the following – name of the endorsing body, endorsement reference number, the date of issue (no earlier than 3 months before date of submission of application) Applicant’s details (name, date of birth, nationality and passport number), confirmation that Applicant has not previously established business in the UK (unless Applicant set-up under Start-up or Tier 1(Graduate Entrepreneur), details of Applicant’s business plan and products/service it will be providing and name and contact details of the endorsing body. In addition to this the endorsing body must confirm that the proposed business will meet the following endorsement criteria (see Home Office guidance below):



The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.


The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.


There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets.


In addition to this the endorsing body must be reasonably satisfied that the Applicant will be spending the majority of their time in the UK working on developing their business. You must keep in regular contact (every 6 months) with the endorsing body to ensure you continue to meet the requirements of the Visa. You can apply in this category either as an individual applicant or as part of an entrepreneurial team.


Application process:

You must submit your application within 3 months from the date of endorsement. It is essential to provide evidence of your proposed business and to demonstrate that you are able to adhere to your business plan as stated in your application. In addition to the above, the Home Office may also ask you to attend an interview.


It can take up to 3 weeks for your visa to be decided, but this is dependant on where you are applying from and decision times can vary. The Home Office fees can be found below:


Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Switch (in the UK)
ourself £363 £493
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £308 £438
All dependants £363 each person £493 each person

You will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. You can check how much you will need to pay on the following link


Litigation Start Up | Innovators Visa


If you are successful you will be granted leave for 2 years. You cannot apply to extend this type of visa. You will need to switch into another visa route to remain in the UK, for example the Innovator route.

Switching from Start-up Visa to Innovator route – settlement:

You do not need to meet a minimum investment level if you are switching into this route but if you wish to qualify for settlement the Applicant’s business must meet two of the following requirements:


  • At least £50,000 has been invested in the business
  • The business’s customers should have doubled in the last 3 years and is higher than the average number of customers for similar UK business offering the same products/services
  • The business must have been involved in significant research and development and has applied for intellectual property protection in UK
  • The business has generated a minimum of £1 million in last full year or generated annual gross of £500,000 in last full year with £100,000 having been from exporting overseas
  • The business has either 10 full-time jobs or 5 full-time jobs with an average salary of £25,000


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We are authorised by the SRA and our registration number is 619031. Our registered address is 63 St James St, London E17 7PJ