Innovators and investors love the UK because it’s a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. UK Innovator Visas are meant to encourage entrepreneurs to develop businesses here and contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity. Investing in the UK gives you the chance to contribute to the country’s economy and gain a UK Innovator Visa.
UK Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by investment is a method by which investors can become British citizens by investing significantly. Donations to government funds or purchases of property or businesses in the UK can be used as investments. The amount of investment required varies with the specific program.
The UK government offers two programs for investors who are looking to obtain a UK investment visa:
1. Tier 1 Investor Visa: You must invest at least £2,000,000 in British firms (regardless of the number of dependents) to qualify for a Tier 1 Investor visa before you can apply for permanent residency (ILR – Indefinite Leave to Remain). According to the investment amount, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency in a few years: A permanent residency permit can be obtained for £2,000,000 in five years, £5,000,000 in three years, and £10,000,000 in two years. There are additional costs and fees. When moving from another accepted category, you are eligible for residence both inside and outside the UK. The first visa is given for three years and four months with a possible two-year extension.
2. Innovator Visa: Those investors seeking UK citizenship via investment with the Innovator Visa. The minimum investment for the visa is £50,000, but it must go toward starting and maintaining a firm in the UK. The investor might apply for a visa extension or a stay that is unrestricted after the business is up and making money.
Eligibility Criteria: The applicant must meet the following criteria to qualify for the UK Innovator Visa and UK citizenship by investment:
1. Own a company concept that is creative, feasible, and scaleable and has the approval of a UK-endorsing organization.
2. Have possession of investment capital totalling at least £50,000 to help their firm.
3. Possess sufficient means to maintain oneself and any dependents independently of government assistance.
4. Be proficient in the English language at a minimum of CEFR level B2.
5. Give evidence of the investment’s funding source.
6. Demonstrate that they have a good character and do not have a criminal record.
7. Pass the Life in the UK Test, which tests knowledge of UK culture and history.
The chart represents the cumulative nationality distribution of main applicants for the UK Innovator Visa since 2019. The data reveals the percentage distribution of applicants from various countries. The highest number of applicants, accounting for 18%, are from India, followed closely by China with 17%. Nigeria and Pakistan constitute 9% and 8% respectively. Hong Kong and the USA account for 6% and 5% respectively. Egypt and Russia each make up 2.9% of the applicant pool. The remaining 31% comprises applicants from other countries. This chart provides valuable insights into the nationalities of investors applying for the UK Innovator Visa, showcasing the diverse range of entrepreneurs and innovators seeking opportunities in the United Kingdom.
Innovative, Viable, and Scalable Business Idea: It is designed for entrepreneurs who have a new and innovative business idea that is viable and scalable, revenue-generating, and growth-oriented.
Approved UK Endorsing Bodies: To apply for the UK Innovator Visa, entrepreneurs must have their business idea endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body. These endorsing bodies are organizations that have been approved by the UK government to assess the viability and scalability of business ideas. There are currently several endorsing bodies in the UK, including Tech Nation, The Bakery, and Seedcamp.
Access to Investment Funds: An applicant for the UK Innovator Visa must have a minimum of £50,000 available as investment capital to support their business. This may come from personal savings, venture capital, angel investors, etc. Access to capital held by regulated financial institutions is necessary for entrepreneurs.
Sufficient Funds to Support Themselves: The business owner has to have enough cash on hand to meet all of their daily costs, such as food, housing, and healthcare. A company’s finances and dependents will determine the amount required.
Proficiency in the English Language: Entrepreneurs applying for the UK Innovator Visa must be proficient in English at a minimum of CEFR level B2. By that, we mean that they can speak, read, write, and understand English properly.
Application Process: The application process for the UK Innovator Visa involves the following steps:
1. Find an approved UK endorsing body and receive an endorsement letter.
2. Prepare and submit your Innovator Visa application online. The application fee is £1,021.
3. Submit any required documentation, such as evidence of investment funds, verification of English language ability, and any other pertinent records.
4. Credibility interview with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
5. After approval, you will get a visa with a validity of three years.
6. Extension of the innovator visa is possible only if the company has shown growth in the last three years.
Here are the statistics on the rejection rate of innovator visa applications country-wise:
The acceptance rate of the innovator visa is nearly 74% for Indian citizens, and the rejection rate is 24.5%, and it is improving per year.
Advantages of the UK Innovator Visa: The UK Innovator Visa provides investors as well as entrepreneurs with several advantages, including:
1. A chance to contribute to economic growth and start a business
2. Having excellent Research and Development facilities and a crew with exceptional skills
3. The ability to bring family members to the UK, including spouses and children under 18.
4. The availability of free internal transit inside the European Union (EU) and market access
5. The opportunity to permanently reside and work in the UK and maybe pass citizenship on to future generations
Innovator visas and UK citizenship by investment offer several appealing options for entrepreneurs and investors who wish to start a business in the UK. A lower minimum investment requirement for the Innovator Visa is available, but citizenship is not directly possible. The entry-level investment required for citizenship is higher, although it provides a faster path to citizenship. In the end, the investor’s specific aims and situation will determine which of these two solutions they choose.
If you still have any queries, connect with our team, and we will be more than happy to assist.