Innovator / Start-up Visa


Due to the very high volume of enquiries and the knock-on effect on processing them, CBP cannot currently commit to an enquiry response timescale. Our aim however, is to begin endorsing suitable applications from April 2020.

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

To qualify for a visa in either category, applicants must first obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

What is the Difference Between an Innovator Visa and a Start-up Visa?

Start-up Visa

Applicants do not need funds to invest in their business but do require proof of a minimum level of funds to live on

Must not have previously set up a business in the UK

Successful applicants can stay in the UK for two years and can bring family members

Can take on work outside of their business to support themselves

Visa cannot be extended but an application can be made for an Innovator visa

Innovator Visa

Applicants need at least £50,000 to invest in their business and will need to provide proof of investment funds

Eligible if they have set up a business in the UK in the past

Successful applicants can stay in the UK for three years and can bring family members

Cannot undertake any work outside of the business venture

Visa can be extended where certain criteria are met

Business Plan

Your business plan with financial projections will need to meet these criteria:

Innovative.  You have a genuine, original business idea and plan that meets a new or existing market need and creates a competitive advantage.

Viable. You have now, or with support will have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business described.

Scalable. You have evidence of structured planning demonstrating the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

Before you start the application process – Important information

No Start-up visa applications will be processed unless your application has been referred to CBP by a suitable third party e.g. a UK immigration lawyer.

All visa applicants that meet our entry criteria and pay for a 2-year Business Start-up Support Programme, or a 3-year Business Support Programme offered through CBP, will already meet the criteria to make a visa endorsement application. Any client on the programme can therefore request the endorsement process for their visa application without any additional cost.

During the visa application process you will require:

  • a valid passport as proof of ID,
  • proof of funds in a UK bank account for 90-days consecutive
  • to successfully pass a criminal record check (DBS)
  • to fulfil an English language requirement or have certified proof of graduate or post graduate study in the UK, unless you meet the country exemption criteria
  • to attend several interviews

A timeline for your application

Step 1: The Initial Contact

Having read the information above and decided we are the right endorsing body for you, please read this section and then complete the form below to get in touch.

Step 2: Initial Executive Summary Assessment

Our Endorsing Team will review your idea and if it meets our initial criteria, we will request a full Business Plan including 3-year financial projections. We will send a template to help anyone that hasn’t a plan already. We will send you our brochure about our service.

Step 3: Initial Feedback and Your Initial Intentions

We will provide initial broad feedback on your business plan. We will provide you with our Terms of Business. Where our terms meet your requirements, sign, scan and return the document to us and with the other documentation requested.

Step 4: Initial Deposit

We will send you an invoice that confirms the level of deposit required to make a full assessment of the plan and provide the business support services to you.

When ready, send us the deposit, and where required, an updated plan, so that we can fully start the business plan application analysis and feedback.

Step 5: Feedback on Your Business Plan

To give your business plan the best chance, we use our specialist business mentors to analyse the potential and risks and highlight how your application meets the Home Office criteria, or whether it needs more work, as well as whether it meets the endorsing body strict criteria. You will receive detailed feedback with required actions.

Step 6: Applying for a Business Endorsement

When the plan is considered suitable to meet the criteria, we will review the application for an endorsement.

Step 7: Obtaining an Endorsement

When the application results in an endorsement from us, an endorsement letter will be sent to you with supporting documents.

Step 8: Applying for A Visa

After gaining a business endorsement from us, and through a provider of your choice, you will complete your visa application for the Home Office.

Step 9: Receiving the Decision

When the Home Office is satisfied with your application, you will receive your visa.

If you are unsuccessful then, or after an appeal to the Home Office are still unsuccessful, we will refund 50% of your deposit,  your place on the Business Support Programme will no longer be available and your support will cease.

Step 10: Starting the Business

When you receive your visa, you will start your business, pay monthly for our business support programme; 24 months for Start-Up and 36 months for Innovator, and create a business you will be proud of.

We will monitor progress throughout the period in line with Home Office guidelines.

Please apply using the form below.

Visa Application Form