Should I Apply for a Start-up Visa or an Innovator Visa?
UK business immigration for entrepreneurs.
When you have decided the UK is the country you want to move to and start your business from the next question is which is the best immigration visa to achieve this? For entrepreneurs looking to set up their own business in the UK you could apply for either the start-up visa or the innovator visa. In this article, Hans Sok Appadu , partner and head of the business immigration team at OTS Solicitors, takes a look at the difference between the start-up visa and the innovator visa and which business immigration visa is likely to be your best option.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors
Moving to the UK as an entrepreneur
Moving to a new country takes courage, whatever your personal or financial circumstances. Never more so when you plan to base your immigration application on your intention to set up a new business in the country you are relocating to and when the success of your business venture will determine if you can continue to live and work in the country you have emigrated to.
As coming to the UK as an entrepreneur is one of the hardest and challenging ways to move to the UK, immigration solicitors recommend that you look at all your visa options before applying for an entrepreneur visa. For example, you could move to the UK on a work visa , such as the skilled worker visa and gain experience of working in the UK before setting up your own business.
For a discussion on the work, business and other visa options available to you call our immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123.
What are the UK entrepreneur visa options?
If you are planning to secure a visa based on your intention to set up a business in the UK there are two main options:
- The start-up visa or
- The innovator visa.
Generally, the start-up visa is described as suitable for the new or less experienced entrepreneur and the innovator visa as suitable for the more experienced business person. That very simplistic explanation does not really help you if you do not know the definition of ‘experience’ when it applies to the two different types of entrepreneur visa.
The start-up visa and innovator visa application process
Although the start-up visa and the innovator visa are different visa routes the application process is very similar for both types of business visa. You need to:
- Apply for endorsement from an endorsing body. An endorsing body is an organisation approved by the Home Office to endorse the type of business you are looking to set up in the UK and then
- Apply to the Home Office for the visa so that a Home Office official can check that you meet all the eligibility criteria.
Without endorsement you will not secure a start-up visa or an innovator visa. It can be hard to know where to start in securing endorsement if you are an ambitious entrepreneur based overseas but you view the UK as a real opportunity to found a successful business venture and a new life for you and your family.
For more information on how to get endorsement and to help you find the right professional advisors on your business idea call the business immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123.
What is the difference between the start-up visa and the innovator visa?
Whether you are planning to apply for a start-up visa or an innovator visa you must have a business idea that is:
Your business idea does not have to be unique or ground breaking; simply new and innovative.
For each type of entrepreneur visa, you need to:
- Be over eighteen.
- Meet the general eligibility criteria for UK entry.
- Meet the English language requirement.
- Meet the maintenance requirement.
The difference between the innovator visa and the start-up visa is that:
- With the innovator visa you need at least £50,000 of investment funds.
- With the innovator visa your business needs to be more scalable than the start-up visa.
- If you are in the UK on an innovator visa you cannot do any other paid employment. The immigration rules are currently different with the start-up visa.
- The innovator visa leads to direct settlement in the UK so you can apply for indefinite leave to remain once you meet the eligibility criteria if you enter the UK on an innovator visa. The start-up visa does not lead to direct settlement but you can apply to switch from the start-up visa to the innovator visa.
- It is quicker to get indefinite leave to remain (and apply for British citizenship if you want to do so) if you apply for an innovator visa.
- As the innovator visa leads to UK settlement your business plans have to be scrutinised to check on scalability . If you are an entrepreneur who only has limited business experience it can be best to apply for a start-up visa and secure it rather than have your innovator visa application refused.
The government does plan to simplify the innovator visa and if those changes are made this could impact on whether the start-up visa or the innovator visa are the best option for you.
Whether you decide to apply for a start-up visa or an innovator visa it is best to get expert help from a range of professionals on your planned visa application. A specialist business immigration solicitor will work with your business advisor, your business plan writer or accountant to help ensure that you get joined up advice on both the business and the immigration aspects of your application.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors