The United Kingdom offers a highly lucrative immigration pathway to foreign investors who wish to establish or operate a business in the country. Through the UK Innovator Visa, people from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who have the ability to invest an amount of £50,000 (approximately ₹47 lakh) or more in a new business – and whose business idea is endorsed by an approved endorsing body – can live in the UK for three years – with their families.
After living in the country for three years, they can either extend their stay for another three years or apply to permanently settle in UK. Candidates can apply individually or in a group, provided each applicant invests at least £50,000. Those whose business is already set up in UK and endorsed under an earlier visa, and those who have changed their business in agreement with the endorsing body, do not need to invest any funds.
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Invest at least £50,000 in setting up a new business.
- Get the business idea assessed and endorsed by proving that the idea is new, innovative and viable.
- The endorsement should be obtained from an approved body that is suitable for the business idea.
- Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language by passing a recognized language proficiency examination (score level B2 in each test component) or having a recognized academic qualification for which the medium of instruction was English.
- Showcase sufficient funds to support oneself in the UK – by holding £945 or more in the bank account, consecutively for 90 days before applying.
To apply for the Innovator Visa UK, candidates must provide the following documents:
- Endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body
- Passport or other travel identification
- Bank statements showing sufficient funds to support oneself in the UK
- Proof of sufficient English language skills
- Proof of adequate investment funds (for those establishing a new business)
- Health examination results
Additional documents, or certified translations of documents that are not in English/Welsh, may be requested.
Step 1: Prepare a business proposal that fulfils the eligibility criteria.
Step 2: Collect sufficient investment funds. These funds may come through any source.
Step 3: Have the business idea assessed by an approved body, and obtain an endorsement letter.
Step 4: Submit an application online, along with supporting documents and fees. The earliest this application can be submitted is three months before travelling to UK. The applicant may be required to appear for an interview to convince the Home Office of their credibility.
Step 5: The Home Office will issue a decision on the visa application within three weeks, if the candidate has applied from outside the UK.
Typically, applying for the UK Business Visa from outside UK costs £1,021 per person. To extend the visa or switch to this visa while in the UK, candidates must pay £1,277 per person. Besides this, applicants must pay a healthcare surcharge and biometrics fee, if applicable.
After obtaining the UK Innovator Visa, investors can move to UK with their family, establish one or more businesses, and work for the business as a director or partner. However, they must not undertake work outside this business, or as a doctor/dentist in training, or as a professional sportsperson. They are also ineligible to claim tax credits, housing assistance or benefits that are paid for by the government. To check your eligibility or explore other pathways for moving to UK, it is in your best interest to rely on the knowledge of experienced and genuine consultants.