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UK Innovator Visa: Getting Endorsement



If you’re an experienced entrepreneur with their sights on the UK, the Innovator Visa could be for you. Open to people who want to bring new and innovative business to the UK, the Innovator Visa is a great option that even offers a route to settlement.


Getting endorsement from an endorsing body is one of the biggest steps on your way to starting a UK business. You will need their approval before you apply, so it’s important you find the right endorsing body for you.

The Innovator Visa

The Innovator scheme is a 3 year visa allowing you to live and work in the UK while you start and grow a business. It aims to bring talented entrepreneurs into the country as well as creating value and employment.


More than one founder can apply as part of the same business, but everyone needs to apply separately. If you’re successful, you can get to work on your ideas and turn them into something real. At the end, you can extend the visa and keep going, or apply to stay in the UK indefinitely.

What are endorsing bodies?

Although the Home Office provides these visas, they don’t do a lot of the work to check applicants. This they entrust to successful UK businesses and experts: endorsing bodies.


Endorsing bodies are the businesses that will check if your documents are in order, assess your business, and say if you’re eligible. If they choose to support you, they’ll give their endorsement to your application. This tells the Home Office that they should proceed with your visa request.

The 3 conditions

Most of the personal conditions are the same as they would be for any visa. You will need to provide proof that you’re eligible separately to your business. This includes things like:


  • Understanding of English
  • Age
  • Financial stability

The business has its own set of conditions it has to meet. This is what separates the Innovator Visa from many other visas. Your business idea is crucial to your application


The Home Office has 3 basic criteria for an eligible business. Your business will have to meet all 3 for the endorsing body to sign off on it.


Innovative


A business included in an Innovator Visa has to be one that’s new to the UK. This means that there are no businesses already operating in the UK that do what it is you’re proposing.


Your business idea either needs to fill a gap in the market or approach a problem in a sufficiently new way. If your business idea is different enough that it will provide value to the UK market by existing in it, it’s likely innovative.


Scalable


A scalable business is one with the capacity to grow. The Innovator Visa aims to bring value to the UK, and one of the main ways it does this is through creating employment.


You need to show that your business will grow in such a way as to need to hire more people. If it’s work that only needs you, it likely won’t be eligible for the visa.


Viable


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your business would need to be able to succeed. They don’t want to give multi-year visas to businesses they don’t think will last very long.


Just like if you were talking to an investor, you want to show your endorsing body that you have what it takes. They will check over your business plan, look at the preparations you’ve done, and assess you and the other leaders. If they think you have what it takes, they’ll endorse you as viable.

The 4th condition

As well as the main 3, there is another condition. Possibly the most crucial of the conditions for an Innovator Visa.


You have to have secured £50000 in funding for your business.


This can come from investors or your personal assets, but it has to be securely set aside for the business. If your business is being used by more than one applicant, each must secure their own £50000. So, 2 founders would need a total of £100000 and so on.


If you don’t have access to this kind of finance and you don’t think you have the means to access it, the Innovator Visa may not be the best scheme for you. The UK Startup Visa offers a very similar, somewhat more limited opportunity, but doesn’t require this initial funding.

How to apply

Applications for the Innovator Visa itself are done online via the official portal. Each endorsing body has its own application process for you to follow.


You need to find an endorsing body that you think would work for you and your business and approach them. This isn’t a decision to rush into, and your choice can make a lot of difference. Some endorsing bodies may fit your industry better than others, but some will only do the bare minimum and not provide the extra support you can find.


Boardroom Advisors is an endorsing body for the Innovator Visa. Their Advisors won’t only help you prepare for your application and keep tabs on your business, but they will actually provide you with the support to see your business thrive in the UK.
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