Non-EEA nationals looking at entrepreneurial opportunities within the UK should consider the new Innovator Visa. The Tier 1 UK Entrepreneur visa has closed to new applications.
If you are looking to start a business in the UK, with so much at stake, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the migration options open to you, to ensure your case is effectively represented to the authorities and to avoid any delays with your application.
The Innovator visa for experienced entrepreneurs will allow you to set up a business in the UK. You can also bring family members and dependants with you.
Am I eligible for a UK Entrepreneur visa?
You are eligible to apply for the Innovator Visa if you satisfy the following criteria:
- You want to run or set up a business in the UK.
- You are from outside the EEA and Switzerland.
- You are at least 18 years old.
What will I need to show to apply?
As part of your application you will need to demonstrate:
- You have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.
- You have the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to establish a viable business in the UK.
- You have an acceptable command of the English language.
- You have sufficient funds to cover your initial costs after relocating to the UK.
If you are switching from the UK Start Up category, the investment threshold will be waived.
Can I bring my spouse, children and dependants?
Under the UK Entrepreneur Visa, you can include your immediate family in your application. This will include your spouse, and any children under the age of 18.
I have a business partner, do we need to apply separately for the Entrepreneur Visa UK?
You are able to apply as a team although the investment funds relied on for the application cannot be ‘shared’.
What is endorsement?
The application process is in two stages; the first requires you to secure endorsement from an authorised body. With endorsement, you can proceed to apply to the Home Office for your visa.
How long does the Entrepreneur Visa UK last?
The new Innovator visa initially lasts for 3 years. You can apply to extend your leave in increments of 5 years, provided you can secure endorsement at each stage. There is no maximum time limit placed on visa holders under this category.
Do I have to pass an English language test?
If you hold a degree which was taught in English, and is approved by the UK Home Office, you do not need to pass a test. Otherwise, you must have an approved English test at level B2.
Other points to note
You can apply to extend this visa for three years if you are switching from another category.
Under the innovator route for entrepreneurs, you must maintain contact with your endorsing body at 6, 12 and 24 month intervals. You are not allowed to carry out any work outside your business, or be employed by another business. Also, you cannot claim UK public funds.
Making a UK Entrepreneur Visa application
At DavidsonMorris we help both individuals and a wide range of commercial employers meet their global mobility needs, including UK Entrepreneur Visa applications.
We have the experience to advise you on the most appropriate category of visa for your circumstances and have the insight to make the process as smooth as possible.
As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of visa applications, and for providing expert visa-related advice. We also understand the stresses involved with moving across the world, and take great pride in playing a supportive role to ease the pressure.