Innovator / Start-up Visa

The Start-up and Innovator visa categories are for non-EEA nationals wishing to set
up a business in the UK.

  • The Start-up category is for early-stage, but high growth potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time. They may have already begun setting up their business, but it should not yet have commenced trading.
  • The Innovator category is for more experienced businesspeople who have already run a business and are seeking to establish and develop a new innovative business idea with high growth potential, but have yet to start trading it in the UK.

Please note we will not be accepting applications for Start-up inquiries from individuals who are not resident in the UK at the time of their application.

Start-up visas

Applicants do not need any funds to invest in their business at this stage.

This category offers a one-off, two-year visa, during which applicants will spend the majority of their time developing their business but can also take on other work outside of their businesses, to support themselves.

Successful applicants can bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK.

At the end of two years, they can switch into the Innovator category (see below) to extend their stay and develop their businesses in the UK.

All companies on a business support programme offered through CBP will already meet the criteria for an Innovator Visa. Any client on the programme can therefore request endorsement for their Innovator Visa application at no additional cost.

Please note that depending upon the type of visa being applied for, some additional evidence may be requested.

Apply now to find out more

Innovator Visas

Applicants must already have, or have access to, a minimum of £50,000 of funding to invest in their new business venture.

Those Innovators who are successful in applying for a visa in this category will be granted leave for three years at a time and can also bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK.

Innovators must work entirely on developing their business ventures and may not take on other employment outside their business. This includes anything that effectively amounts to employment, such as using their own business to hire out their labour to another employer.

After three years, Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further three years or to settle permanently in the UK.

Each of the 3 three stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an endorsing body.

Please note that depending upon the type of visa being applied for, some additional evidence may be requested.

Apply now to find out more