General requirements: Start-up and Innovator Visas

General requirementsWhat are the general requirements for the Start-up and Innovator visas?

The Innovator and Start-up visa routes are subject to general and specific requirements. To be granted leave with either visa, the general requirements must be satisfied by all applicants.

Please note that these are only the general requirements and that satisfying these are only an initial part of the application process. If you are interested in the Start-up or Innovator applications, you will have to meet additional, specific requirements in conjunction with these general requirements.

The general requirements to be met by all prospective Innovator and Start-up applicants are as follows:

– You must be 18 years old.

Immigration Status
If you are applying for leave to remain with the Start-Up visa, you should have a previous grant to leave as a:
– Start-Up
– Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
– Tier 2
– Tier 4 [General] with restrictions
– Visitor to the UK to undertake permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur [Appendix V]

If you possess a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa already, you are viewed as a business person with expertise, and so the Innovator route is more suitable for you instead of the Start-up route.

General grounds for refusal

– You cannot fall under the general grounds for refusal with Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas
– There is no requirement for certificate of your criminal records. [Appendix W]

Knowledge of English Language

In order to prove your English Knowledge, an individual must:
– Pass an approved English Language test with Common European Framework of Reference for Languages [CEFR]

The new English language requirement has increased from CEFR B1 to CEFR B2, the former of which was previously required under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. If you are switching from the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and have completed the CEFR B1 qualification through a successful application prior to 13th December 2012 rules, you will be considered to have met the requirements.

However, if you are from one of the following countries that speak English, you will not need to prove your English Language knowledge:
– Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA

Maintenance funds

The monetary figures required for maintenance funds are now £945 for entry clearance and leave to remain applications.
If the main applicant is applying and wishes to bring their dependents at the time they are applying, there must be enough maintenance funds to cover all applications, otherwise all the applications will be refused.

Applicants applying under the Innovator or Start-up visa categories do not need to provide evidence of maintenance funds if there is a letter from their endorsing body confirming they have funding of at least £945. The maintenance funds must also be logged in the bank account for a consecutive 90 days.

Assessment of credibility

Evidence will be need to be provided for your credibility as an applicant. There is a list of criteria which will need to be satisfied:

– You are genuinely capable of undertaking, and will intend to undertake the work or business activity which you have stated in your application while in the UK.

– In the UK you will not breach the conditions which are relevant to your respective visa.

– The individual cannot be employed as a doctor or dentist in training, or as a professional sports person/coach [for both Innovative and Start-up visas].

– Innovator Visa holders can only work for their own business establishment and you will need to convince the Home Office of this.

– The money which is available to you is genuine will be used for the purposes stated in your application.

What facts are taken into account to decide if you are credible?

– The evidence the applicant has submitted and the credibility of that evidence

– The applicants previous educational, work and immigration history

– Proof of declarations made to other government departments regarding the applicant’s previous employment and other activity in the UK

– Any other relevant information

A decision maker may ask the applicant to attend an interview. If the individual fails to attend the interview and has not provided a reasonable explanation, the decision maker will use the information and evidence the applicant has already provided.

The decision maker has the discretion to request further information from either the applicant or their endorsing body. The documents must be received within 20 working days from the date of request.

How can NA Law help?

If you are interested in either the Start-up or Innovator visas, we can go through your immigration history and business/educational background to advise you of your eligibility under either of these visas. Depending on your business venture and availability of funds, we can also advise you on how to select the right endorsing body to support your application.

Contact us for a free initial case assessment to receive high quality and tailored advice today! In addition, you may find the following pages useful:

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