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International Entrepreneurs

Innovator Founder Visa

What do you need to know?

The Innovator Founder visa gives international graduates who want to start a business three years of stay in the UK with a potential extension of three further years (for continuing with the business or aiming at settlement in the UK on a permanent basis). You can apply for an extension as many times as you like.

Two students smiling
  • The innovation must be embedded in the new venture/ the venture must be based on the innovation, rather than the innovation being an add on.
  • There is a requirement that the applicant evidences enough funds available to set up the venture – the level will be agreed with the endorsing body considering the application, not the Home Office.
  • Graduate visa holders can apply to switch even if they have already started the business and the business is trading. In this case the business will be considered ‘new’ for endorsing purposes.
  • Candidates for endorsement cannot join a business started by someone else.
  • The time spent on this visa counts towards the period needed for applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (the time spent on a Graduate visa doesn’t count).

The business proposition must be:

1. Innovative                                                    2. Viable                                                 3. Scalable

Ideas on whiteboard

You will be allowed to work outside of the new venture provided it is ‘skilled work’. More details can be found here.

You will need an endorsement from an endorsing body. There are 3 endorsing bodies, covering the whole of the UK:

  1. Envestors Limited
  2. UK Endorsing Services
  3. Innovator International

You can also start a business on a Graduate visa (the time spent on a Graduate visa doesn’t count towards applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain).

Visit our StudentHub for further information on working after your studies.

See for more details on the Innovator Founder visa and Graduate visa.