Innovator Visa Solicitors

If you have an idea that you believe is original and innovative, the innovator visa, which has replaced the previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, provides an exciting opportunity to set up a business in the UK with little or no initial investment. The application process does not only demand legal knowledge but a combination of highly specialised technical expertise together with a creative world-smart approach.

JMW Solicitors is one of a handful of firms that have truly mastered innovator visa applications. We have proven experience in successfully handling these applications with a complete solution.

To speak to a member of the immigration team about applying for an innovator visa, contact us by calling +44203 675 7600, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you. If you’re looking to start-up a business in the UK, the start-up visa may be better suited to your needs.

How JMW Can Help

Our team of experienced solicitors will hold an initial no-obligation consultation with you in order to discuss how we may assist you in translating your innovative idea into a strong pitch, detailing core aspects of your business model. The 30-minute consultation will also help to determine the business concept and gauge whether you have the potential to make an application under the innovator visa category and advise accordingly.

We will then ‘stress test’ your business concept, which involves a deep dive into your idea to focus on the innovative and business elements. Further to conducting research on facts and figures, where necessary, we will work to crystalise core elements to meet the set criteria by both the Home Office and the relevant endorsing body.

The information is then married into a critical synopsis, which will then be presented to appropriate endorsing bodies to gauge feedback as to whether your idea is likely to receive the required endorsement or not. This is a service unique to JMW, which is just one of the reasons we have become one of the few law firms in the UK to successfully complete numerous applications for innovators.

Once positive feedback on the business concept has been received from the relevant Home Office endorsement body, we will continue to work closely with you and the relevant endorsing body to gain endorsement, which may require a formal pitch of your business concept or the presentation of a more detailed business plan.

The final stage of the innovator visa application process, following endorsement, will be to prepare and present your visa application in order to be granted leave as an innovator.

Our focus is to take your application in stages to manage expectations and fees whereby we would only move to the next stage of the application process once the previous stage has been successfully completed.

What is an Innovator Visa?

Contrary to the misconception that this visa route is reserved for technological innovators, it does, in fact, encompass almost all areas of innovation. The crux of the application is to have a sound innovative idea that is viable and scalable and has been approved by a Home Office endorsing body.

To successfully apply for an innovator visa, you are required to:

  • Demonstrate that your business idea is innovative
  • Prove you are an experienced entrepreneur
  • Be in possession of at least £50,000

There is also an English-language requirement at CEFR level B2 that needs to be met, as well as a maintenance requirement.

Innovator visas last three years and can be extended any number of times. An innovator visa will enable you to launch your business in the UK and permits you to invest in either new or existing businesses. It will also provide a route to settlement for you and your family after three years on the proviso that the necessary legal requirements are met.


What are the criteria for settlement through the innovator visa?

The innovator visa leads to settlement after three years; however, you must meet certain milestones set by your endorsing body and report your achievements and results.

In order to qualify for settlement in addition to the general requirements, you would need to demonstrate that you continue to be endorsed by the relevant body and take a key role in the day-to-day management of the business, have registered your business with Companies House (or listed yourself as a director or member of an existing business) and have met certain milestones.

The milestones that are required to be met for settlement are detailed - here is an overview:

  • You have made the required minimum investment of £50,000
  • You have created at least 10 full-time jobs (or five, depending on salary amount)
  • You have a proven increase in customers
  • You had annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last financial year

Further to obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you would be permitted to apply for British citizenship further to having held indefinite leave to remain status for 12 months, and total residency in the UK of five years.

What fee structure can JMW offer for innovator applicants that would offer a high-quality service, as well as the best value of their money?

At JMW, we operate a client-focused approach where your interests come first. Thus transparency for all parties in all matters, including professional fees is central to our ethos. There are no surprise or hidden fees since we operate in a fixed fee structure and spell out the scope of our work prior to engagement.

For innovator clients, we offer a staged fixed fee structure so that our fees are fully transparent and you are only liable to pay fees for the next stage of the process upon a successful outcome in the previous stage. 

Following a free no-obligation consultation to determine whether you have an innovative concept, our fees are broken into three stages:

  • Stage 1: Business concept and synopsis
  • Stage 2: The endorsement stage, which will include pitching your business concept and providing a more detailed business plan
  • Stage 3: The visa application stage

Can you help if I have an innovative business idea but I have yet to crystallise this into a business concept?

As part of our stage one process we offer two options, each of which attracts a different fee: 

Option A 
This is for the applicant who has a business concept in mind and has already conducted research, facts and figures. We will work on the concept to crystallise core elements and formulate a detailed synopsis. The synopsis will be used to gauge interest from the endorsing body and where interest is expressed we then move to stage two. 

Option B
This is for the applicant who has a business concept in mind but may not have conducted any research. We would spend greater time working into more detail the concept and the ‘stress test’ to crystallise core elements meeting the criteria to formulate a detailed synopsis. The synopsis will be used to gauge interest from the endorsing body and where interest is expressed we then move to stage two.

Will I be interviewed or required to pitch my business concert to a Home Office endorsing body?

As part of the endorsement process, certain endorsing bodies may wish you to pitch your business concept either in person or via a video conference. Whilst you may be able to talk about your business concept for hours condensing your concept into a 15-minute presentation and conveying all relevant information is an art in which we are extremely experienced.

Can I form a team with other innovator applicants?

Yes, you can form a team with other innovator applicants but you cannot share the same investment funds. Your team must have £50,000 for each innovator applicant. Thus, if you have two innovator applicants, your team must have £100,000 to invest. The Home Office will also consider the experience and credibility of each team member when assessing the application.

Can I change my business concept once I have been granted an innovator visa?

The Home Office recognises that many new businesses fail and this is not necessarily an indication that you did not have a strong business idea. There is no limit to the number of times that an applicant can be endorsed for an innovator visa. However, each time you will need to present a new business idea to a Home Office-approved endorsing body and show that you have £50,000 funding available. 

Am I able to include dependent family members on my application for an innovator visa?
It is possible to include your spouse and any children under the age of 18 years old as your family members. They will be given leave to enter/remain in the UK in line with any that is granted to the applicant.

Can I switch to an innovator visa from within the UK?

Yes, you would be permitted to switch to an innovator visa from within the UK if you have previously been granted leave under the start-up category or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category. It is also possible to switch if you hold valid leave to remain under any Tier 2 category or as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant.

In addition, if you came to the UK as a visitor in order to secure funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body, you would also be permitted to switch your visa from within the UK.

Talk to Us

If you are looking to make an application for an innovator visa, contact JMW Solicitors’ immigration team today by calling +44203 675 7600. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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JMW Solicitors LLP

Kings House, 36-37 King Street, London, EC2V 8BB
0203 675 7600