UK Permit for Innovators

The UK grants permit for new entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the United Kingdom for the first time. You don’t have to be a graduate or have any upfront funding. You must, however, have a feasible, scalable, and unique business idea that has been approved by an endorsing body.

Eligibility requirements
  • Must be over the age of 18
  • Meet the English language requirement (B5 level)
  • Must be able to provide proof of sufficient personal savings to support oneself in the UK
  • You haven’t started a business in the UK before (unless you’ve taken leave as a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • You have been authorized by a UK endorsing body that has evaluated your business idea for innovation, viability, and scalability, and is satisfied that you will spend the most of your working time in the UK establishing your business
  • Your endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of your application for permit for start-up
  • You honestly plan to undertake, and are capable of executing, any work or business activity in the UK indicated in your application
  • You must be supported by a recognized entity, such as a UK higher education institution or a business association with a track record of helping entrepreneurs
  • You must be able to demonstrate that your business concept meets the following criteria:
    • Innovative: You have a genuine, unique company idea that addresses new or existing market demands and/or gives you a competitive advantage
    • Viable: You have or are actively gaining the required skills, expertise, experience, and market awareness to manage the firm successfully

Scalable: Your business concept has the potential to create jobs and expand into other markets across the country

Staying in the UK

You can stay in the UK for up to 2 years on the UK permit for start-ups.

After two years, you will not be able to extend your permit. However, you can convert to the Innovator permit to extend your stay in the UK and develop your business. The permit is good for 3 years, with the opportunity to renew it when it expires.

You may be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years (UK settlement).

What you can do with this permit

You can bring your dependents including your spouse or partner and children under the age of 18. Though you will spend the most of your time in the UK working on your business, you can supplement your income by working outside your business. You are also free to travel outside the UK.

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What are the differences between the permits for Start-up and Innovator?

The permit for start-up is for people with no prior business experience who desire to start and grow a new firm in the UK.

The permit for innovator is for more experienced business individuals who want to start a company in the UK and have a minimum investment of £50,000.

What is the processing time for the permit?

The processing time is usually 3 weeks if you are outside the UK and 8 weeks if you are inside the UK.

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