What is the difference between a start up visa and innovator visa?

If you’re looking to settle in the UK and are interested in starting up a business or bringing over a unique idea, then you may be interested in either an Innovator Visa or a Start up Visa. While similar in nature, these two visa options appeal to different kinds of people and it’s important to pick the right option to make your visa application much more successful.

So let’s take a look at the differences between the two and identify the target for each one.

What is a Start up Visa?

A Start up Visa is geared towards people that have high potential in the UK with their ideas. This means that you’re not required to have a lot of experience in managing a business, but it certainly helps to know the basics. Start up Visa applications aren’t required to have investment funds available either; as long as you’re ambitious and are interested in growing the UK’s economy, you’ll have a chance of succeeding with a Start up Visa application.

However, you can’t just simply apply for something and talk about your ideas. You need to present a workable business idea and you also need to ensure that you:

  • Intend to follow all of the immigration laws with your idea and work in a lawful manner.
  • Claim any money that you have and put it towards the business idea.
  • Are genuinely interested in turning your idea into a fully-fledged business.

If you satisfy these requirements, then you’ll have a great chance of being accepted for a Start up Visa. However, this is the shorter visa of the two, allowing you to stay in the UK for just two years. You’ll be unable to extend this once it comes to an end, but you’ll be given the option to switch to an Innovator Visa.

What is an Innovator Visa?

An Innovator Visa replaces the older Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa that used to exist. This is essentially aimed at people that already have a lot of business experience and are looking to start a business venture in the United Kingdom.

There are a couple of requirements in order to be eligible for an Innovator Visa:

  • You’ll need to have a reasonable business idea.
  • You’ll need to have capital available for your idea.
  • You’ll need a scalable idea that can grow and create jobs to empower the industry.
  • You’ll need a viable idea that is relevant to your skills and experience.
  • You’ll need an endorsement from an endorsing body that has written a detailed letter on your business proposal to the Home Office.
  • You’ll need £50,000 worth of investment funds.

An Innovator Visa is a lot more demanding since you need to show more proof of your ability to create and manage a business. This is a lengthier visa, giving you up to three years of leave in the UK. You can extend this visa indefinitely as long as you continue to meet the criteria. After five years, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as well.


For more information on how SMA Immigration Solicitor London can help you with different types of vias, call 020 8951 9959. We are a London immigration solicitor and we want to help you.

What can an immigration lawyer do for you?

What can an immigration lawyer do for you?

Are you considering hiring an immigration lawyer? Are you unsure of what services they offer or how their expertise can benefit you? It is understandable to have questions about the process and the benefits of working with a professional. Immigration lawyers are...

How long does a UK family visa take?

How long does a UK family visa take?

If you are a UK citizen and want to bring your family over to the country, you will need to apply for a visa. The process can seem daunting, but don't worry - we're here to help! In this blog post, we will outline the steps you need to take in order to get your family...

What Happens if you get Caught Working Illegally in the UK?

What Happens if you get Caught Working Illegally in the UK?

Between 594,000 and 745,000 people work in the UK illegally. Some people have arrived on UK soil illegally, while others have expired legal status. If either of these are the case then there is a chance of deportation or prison time. Working in the UK can be stressful...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.