New business visas from 29 March 2019: visa extension rules for entrepreneurs under new Innovator category

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is closing on 29 March 2019; a new Innovator category is succeeding it. This post is focusing on its criteria for extension of Innovator visa. 

Initial Innovator visa is issued for 3 years. After that, you can either apply for extension or for ILR, depending on what criteria you have met.  Either way, you need another endorsement. If you haven’t met ILR criteria after 3 years, you need to obtain an ‘extension endorsement’, and apply for a visa based on it. Visa extension visa is for 3 years. There is no limit on how many extensions you can make, so if you need more time to qualify for ILR, you can apply for more extensions, every time for 3 years and every time with a new endorsement. 

In the past, during Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, we had 4 main requirements: registering a business within 6 months, continuing to be active in a UK business, investing the whole £200,000 and creating 2 jobs. 

Now, under the new Innovator category, the criteria are as follows – and it must be same business activity, as was assessed in your previous endorsement. (If you are changing activity, you have to apply under initial criteria again, based on the ‘new business’ endorsement). 

Your endorsement must confirm all of the following: 

#1 The applicant has shown significant achievements, judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement. 

#2 The applicant’s business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business. 

#3 The business is active and trading. 

#4 The business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months, based on its assets and expected income, weighed against its current and planned expenses. 

#5 The applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business. 

#6 The endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend their entire working time in the UK on continuing to develop business ventures. 

Notes: no specific rules to invest an X amount of money or create jobs at this stage. No time limit on registration either, just ‘registered with Companies House’. Speaking of which, it means it has to be a limited company (Ltd) or a limited liability partnership (LLP). Being a self-employed sole trader is excluded (probably because sole traders cannot be as easily and quickly verified and monitored by the UK Government as companies).

More posts on new business visa rules 29 March 2019:

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