Formerly known as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, the updated Innovator Visa is the UK’s lowest-cost investor visa available. Starting from just £50,000, the UK Innovator Visa will gain the main investor and his family a temporary residency permit in the United Kingdom, which can later be made permanent. But what does this programme involve?

According to the UK Government’s website, investors can apply for the Innovator Visa if:

  • They want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK
  • The business idea has been endorsed by an approved body.

Investors must be able to show that their business idea is:

  • New – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • Innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • Viable- with potential for growth

The approved endorsing bodies, appointed by the UK Home office, will work with potential investors and review their applications. A strong business plan and any supporting research documentation must be supplied, along with the evidence of a minimum of £50,000 of investment funds and proof the investors can financially support themselves during their time in the UK. For single applicants, proof of at least £1,270 must be shown in the applicant’s bank account for 28 days before the application is submitted. A larger amount is required if including a spouse and dependent children. The endorsing body will also continue to review the business over the three years to ensure the business is active and progressing as planned. If it is not, the visa may be suspended.

Once granted, investors will be issued a temporary three-year visa which can be renewed as many times as they wish. Once applicants have resided in the UK for at least three years, it is possible to apply for a permanent residency visa, which is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain. To maintain the visa status, investors must reside in the UK for a minimum of six months a year.

We would very much class this as an immigration programme, as it is only suitable for those who wish to relocate and actively set up and run a business in the UK.  It is not what we would consider a “passive” investment option. We must also stress the importance of the business plan fulfilling the ”innovative” criteria.

For more passive investor visas involving real estate investment, with flexible stay requirements, there are several other programmes to consider in both Europe, the USA and the Caribbean. For more details on your options, please contact our experts.

Tags: business visa, UK

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