Innovator Visa UK: Step-By-Step Guide to Obtain Innovator Visa Endorsement

Innovator Visa Endorsement

Every nation desires to draw innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world to achieve global competitiveness in terms of talent, diversity, and economic prosperity. To this end, the UK government had introduced two new visa categories on 29 March 2019, dubbed as UK Innovator Visa and UK Start up Visa.These visa categories are aimed at attracting foreign entrepreneurs who intend to establish innovative, scalable, and viable businesses in the UK.

What is an Innovator Visa?

The Innovator Visa category is designed for experienced entrepreneurs who are from outside the EEA and Switzerland. Your business plan shall be endorsed by one of the Home Office-approved innovator visa endorsing bodies to qualify. To read further about other visa requirements, please click here.

How to Get Endorsed for an Innovator Visa?

The following is a step-by-step guide to obtain an Innovator Visa Endorsement:

1. Personal Assessment

First you shall assess your readiness to be an entrepreneur. Ask yourself the following basic questions:

  • Do you have a passion to be an entrepreneur?
  • Are you ready to give up your 9-to-5 job to fully dedicate yourself to a new business? 
  • Do you have specialisation and expertise in any particular field?
  • Are you financially stable and willing to relocate to the UK?

Be honest and truthful in answering the aforesaid questions as these will determine whether you are ready to be an entrepreneur.

2. Conceive an Endorse-able Business Idea

The next step is to brainstorm a compelling business idea which is worthy of endorsement. For a Tier 1 Innovator Visa, your business idea shall fulfil the following criteria:

  • Is the proposed business idea novel and creative?
  • Does it solve any long-standing market problems?
  • Will the business be targeting a potential untapped market niche?
  • Is the idea sustainable and realistic? 
  • Is the idea supported by a strong marketing and promotional plan?
  • Will the idea get sufficient traction from the target audiences? 
  • Does the business have potential to expand into national and international markets?
  • Do you have enough experience to launch and manage a business?

To conceive a bona fide business idea, you shall speak to other entrepreneurs, industry veterans, business consultants, research online, and frequently review and contribute to Q&A websites and discussion forums. Keep abreast with upcoming changes and advancements in your industry and how will that change the way industry operators do business.

3. Arrange Required Funding

To apply for an Innovator Visa, you must arrange a minimum of £50,000 capital to invest. Your business might require more funds to get off the ground or expand, so you shall always be receptive to external funding from angel investors, VCs, equity firms, and other investors.

4. Prepare a Business Plan

A business plan is a comprehensive guide to launch, manage, promote, and grow your business. A winning innovator visa business plan clearly lays out the business idea, market problems and solutions, product description, in-depth market research and analysis, HR, marketing strategies, financial outlook, and sustainable road map for business growth and expansion.

5. Shortlist Suitable Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies

Once the business plan is written out, the next step is to find out an appropriate endorsing body. There are nearly 40 Home Office-approved innovator visa endorsing bodies and the list is constantly growing. Each endorsing body has its own operating procedure to endorse businesses. For instance, some endorsing bodies has an open (public) application process while others offer closed (selective) endorsements which is usually privileged to their members. Endorsing bodies may also endorse business in certain industries. For instance, most endorsing bodies only endorse and work with “tech-related” businesses whereas some endorsing bodies might have other areas of interests. You must ensure that you are pitching your business idea to a right endorsing body to save time and money.

6. Apply for Endorsement

After shortlisting a suitable endorsing body, you shall familiarise yourself with their application procedure before making the innovator visa endorsement application. You shall expect to fill up a series of forms to deliver your personal as well as business details, proof of funding (e.g. bank statements), business plan, scanned passport, and the proof of English proficiency. They may also conduct an online interview with you to assess your entrepreneurial genuineness.

7. Get Endorsed

If your business idea is genuine and innovative which is presented through a robust business plan, the endorsing body may consider endorsing your business for the Innovator Visa. The endorsement letter will be issued which can be used to apply for an Innovator Visa.

Why Choose UK Innovator Visa?

The Tier 1 Innovator Visa provides a fast-track route to foreign entrepreneur to seek permanent settlement in the UK for a relatively small investment (£50,000) in a new business. It takes 3 years to get a permanent residency on a Tier 1 Innovator Visa as compared to 5 years on its predecessor or alternate visa options i.e. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa and Start-up Visa. In a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, which is exclusively designed for high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, the investor shall bring an investment of £5 million to apply for a permanent settlement in 3 years which is significantly higher than the Tier 1 Innovator Visa (£50,000). If you aspire to be an entrepreneur in the UK, the Tier 1 Innovator Visa shall be your ultimate choice.

Innovator Visa UK: How Can We Help?

The team at TOP Writers is ready to guide you along the way. We will assess innovation, viability and scalability of your business idea; collaborate with you to make necessary improvements; prepare a compelling innovator visa business plan, pitch deck and executive summary; identify a relevant endorsing body to present your business proposition; make the endorsement application; and help you comprehend the business plan and pitch deck to present it effectively to the endorsing body.

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