Start Up | Innovators Visa - Arona St James Solicitors
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-17059,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-13.1.2,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.8.0,vc_responsive

New start up Innovators visa

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

astj-img-300x205 Start Up | Innovators Visa

  • 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 forApply (outside the UK)Switch (in the UK)
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


We are passionate about the law and committed to providing you with the very best legal advice and guidance

Arona St James Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our professional rules may be accessed at

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


Arona St James Q&A with UKVI policy team October 2019 engagement


If a person has commenced a business will you take the level of investment already ploughed into the business from the oversees person pre endorsement.

Yes – investment funds can include those which have already been invested in the business.


Is there a time-limit in which a person already set up should rely upon this route – some businesses may have been running for years or is it the case they can apply following the endorsement.

No – we don’t have a time limit but it must meet the criteria for the route.


How many people involved in the business can apply – if there are three directors who oversee and are all involved in the day to day running can all three apply.  We have noted each person has to show their own contribution of £50,000.

As long as each member is active within the business (i.e. a registered director) – and each member is working solely on the business, then you can have as many as you like but for each applicant, there must be £50k contribution as mentioned.


Do you share information from the endorser. I.e. if it fails do you get notification of the persons refusal and reasons.  Are they banned from reapplying if so period ban applies?

No – we do not require endorsers to let the Home Office know if they do not wish to endorse an applicant – only if they are in breach of the conditions of the route. There is no ban on applying to more than one EB.


Also how does this route apply to restaurateurs – is it a blanket no because they lack innovation? Although the food is a finest cuisine from their country and is a niche product? As we are having some talks with restaurant people who want to invest in the UK and are being advised by other practitioners that the innovator route is closed to them.

There is not a blanket ban on restaurants, but the applicant must meet the criteria for their business to be innovative, viable and salable, and must satisfy an Endorsing Body that this is the case.