April 17, 2019 Last updated April 11th, 2019 438 Reads share

Startup and Innovator Visa UK

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The non-European Economic Area nationals living in the United Kingdom can now enjoy the privileges of their EEA counterparts thanks to the new regulations that have been introduced in the United Kingdom by the Government. Non-EEA entrepreneurs and investors wishing to run their businesses in the UK have the opportunity to establish their business if they fulfill the requirement of either one of the two visa categories provided. The two visa options include; the Startup and the Innovator.


To obtain a visa within one of these categories, applicants must fulfill the minimum requirements set by an endorsing body. You can view a list of endorsing bodies here. The successful applicant’s business ideas must demonstrate the commitment to innovation, viability, and scalability.


If you are a non-EEA national and you have the drive to establish a business in the United Kingdom, you can apply for either a startup or an innovator visa. In order to apply for one, you need to understand the difference between both. It will assist you in making a crucial decision on which visa option suits your business goals. The information provided below explains in details the requirements of each visa category.


Startup Visa:


To qualify for the Startup visa option, you must be an aspiring entrepreneur wishing to establish a new business for the first time in the United Kingdom.


The terms of this visa option include the following: –

  • The applicants do not need a minimum amount of money to invest in their business.
  • Successful applicants are entitled to leave for two years.
  • They are also allowed to come with their family members to the United Kingdom.
  • The family members include their spouse and children below 18 years.
  • The successful applicants are allowed to participate in other income-generating activities to support themselves while also developing their businesses during the same leave period.
  • The startup visa holders can extend their stay in the UK by applying for the Innovator category after the elapse of two years.


Innovator Visa:


The innovator option is for people with long years of experience in business operations seeking to establish their enterprises in the United Kingdom.


The following are the terms to fulfill to qualify to be granted the visa successfully: –

  • Applicants should have at least £ 50,000 to invest in their enterprises.
  • Those who are eligible for the visa are given three years leave during which they are free to bring their family members to the United Kingdom.
  • The family members eligible to visit the UK include the spouse and children below 18 years.
  • The successful innovators must commit to the development of their enterprises. The innovators should not engage themselves in other income generating activities outside their businesses.
  • The successful innovators can opt to extend their stay in the United Kingdom for three years after the elapse of the initial three years. The innovators can also decide to settle permanently in the United Kingdom.
  • An approved endorsing body is charged with the responsibility of upholding the extension.



Method of Application:


The Startup or Innovator applicants should present their applications through the relevant endorsement bodies which will assess the suitability of applicants. The endorsing entities should also be approved to determine the candidates who demonstrate their commitment to innovation and continuity of business operations.  The application process can be conducted in either a closed format or an open format by the endorsing bodies. The application for the Startup visa is simple as it is not mandatory to have a University to qualify for the award of this visa. The main aim of the Startup visa is to encourage entrepreneurs from other countries to come to the United Kingdom and contribute to its economy through the establishment of enterprises. The individuals seeking the Startup visa should be over eighteen years. Having access to good startup accountants or business accountant help in getting the required knowledge about setting or running a business in the UK.


The Tech sector is one of the critical areas that the government would like to see increased growth in, access to specialist accountants who have expertise working within the creative industry can add great value.


The new Startup visa is expected to perform exactly like its predecessor -Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Scheme- which was seen as contributing to the growth of the technology industry. One of the similarities of the new Startup visa with Tier 1. Exceptional Talent is that in both options, the approved endorsing entities must qualify applicants. The approved endorsers in the new Startup visa have been expanded to include universities and business sponsors.


Clear House Accountants are specialist Accountants in London who have experience working with startups from a variety of industries and backgrounds. We have built tools and networks to enable your business to grow fast and sustainability. You can be a limited company or self-employed we have the necessary services and tools to add value to your business.


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Thao Le

Thao Le

Thao Le is a Senior Accounting Manager at Clear House Accountants. Having worked and grown in the industry for a number of years she is now responsible for a team of accountants, tax planners and bookkeepers, working with them to help clients from a variety of industries, grow, save money and plan for the future. Thao holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Accounting and Finance and is currently working towards her ACCA, she is also a Xero and Quickbooks Certified Advisor. Thao believes her expertise lies in high-level tax planning, management accounting and strategic business planning based on financial performance and business analytics. Her experience, expertise and knowledge make her an exceptional contributor at clear house towards various articles and research content.

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