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The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa was closed to new applicants from 29 March 2019. The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa will be closed from 5 July 2019. These visa routes into the UK have been replaced by the Innovator Visa and the Start-up Visa.

At Sultan Lloyd, our immigration Solicitors will provide smart, commercially astute, practical advice if you wish to apply for either an Innovator Visa or a Start-up Visa. Led by firm director, Nighat Sultana, our multi-lingual immigration law team has a robust reputation in successfully obtaining business visas for our clients. We will work with you throughout the life of your visa, ensuring you and your family are on track to obtain any required extensions and Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To speak to a Solicitor, call us on: 0121 248 2850 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, click here to make an online enquiry.

What is the Innovator Visa?

As the world’s fifth largest economy, the United Kingdom has long been a magnet for entrepreneurs. With the European Union on its doorstep, a stable government, and a well-educated population, the UK is an ideal place to launch a new venture.

The Innovator Visa is for experienced entrepreneurs who wish to base themselves in Britain and grow their business domestically and internationally. Successful applicants will be permitted to remain in the UK for three years, with an option to extend for a further three years. After this, settlement can be applied for.

What are the eligibility requirements for an Innovator Visa?

What are the requirements for entry to the UK on an Innovator Visa?

All applications will be assessed on the following three merits:

·         Innovation – your business idea must be original. A business plan which proves your idea meets an existing market need or provides a competitive advantage in a particular sector is also required.

·         Viability – you need to prove you have or are developing the required experience, skills, knowledge, and commercial acumen to run the business.

·         Scalability – evidence of a clear growth strategy and job creation possibilities must be provided.

You will also need to show:

·         Evidence you have been endorsed in this category by an approved endorsing body.

·         Proof of £50,000 of investment funds available.

·         Proof you can speak English to a B2 level.

·         A credible business plan.

·         You have at least £945 in your bank accounts for 90 days prior to applying.

What is the Start-up Visa?

The Start-up Visa provides an entry-route into the UK for non-EEA citizens who are at the beginning stage of launching their business. It replaces the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa.  

The same eligibility requirements apply as listed above. However, you are not required to have £50,000 in investment funds, and you must show you have:

·         Endorsement in writing by an endorsing body.

·         The endorsement letter must state you meet the three merits of innovation, viability, and scalability listed above.

·         Confirmation that the endorsing body is “reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures”. 

Can I apply for settlement on the Start-up Visa?

The Start-up Visa does not provide a route for Settlement, and you are only permitted to stay in the country for two years. However, you can switch to an Innovator Visa after this time if you meet the requirements.

What are the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain on an Innovator Visa?

If you have an Innovator Visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if your organisation meets at least two of the following requirements:

·         At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan when you applied for an extension.

·         Your customer-base has at least doubled within the most recent three years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.

·         Your organisation has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.

·         Your business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year.

·         Your business generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.

·         Your business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers.

·         Your organisation has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, with an average salary of at least £25,000 a year

Can I bring my family to the UK on the Innovator Visa or Start-up Visa?

You can bring your dependents on either visa. A dependent family member is defined as:

·         Your spouse or partner

·         Your child if they are under 18 years

How we can help you apply for an Innovator or Start-up Visa

With decades of experience in advising on business immigration law, Nighat and her team will ensure your visa application runs smoothly from beginning to end. Many UK visa applications are rejected because the correct documentation is not provided, or the business plan does not illustrate the potential of the business. We understand the documents required and how to present them. In addition, we can look over your business plan, swiftly identifying any weaknesses and help you correct them.

By investing in our advice, your chance of successfully gaining entry into the UK via the Innovator or Start-up route greatly increases. We will support you and your family, taking away the stress of putting together the applications and the risk of not submitting items correctly.

Our friendly, down-to-earth, business savvy Solicitors will provide you and your family with the confidence your visa application has the best chance of success.

To talk to one of our immigration team about applying for an Innovator Visa or Start-up Visa, call us on: 0121 248 2850 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, click here to make an online enquiry.

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'My friends, the Patel family, were referred to Harminder Meht of Sultan Lloyd in September 2013.  We met Harminder when circumstances were very challenging and Harminder explained the available options very clearly, helpfully and with evident empathy and understanding.  Thereafter she and her colleagues helped us at every step including securing legal aid despite the fact that a previous solicitor had not identified that this was possible. Harminder was instrumental in securing the release from detention of one member of the family and following a difficult judicial review process she obtained a Home Office decision that allows the family leave to remain in the UK, to work and study here for the next 30 months. We are all delighted with Harminder and Sultan Lloyd and we are very happy to recommend Harminder and Sultan Lloyd to future users of their services.'

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