It is important to choose a Visa that is best suited to your situation, as it will increase your chances of success when applying. As the UK immigration laws can be complex, it is not always obvious what may be the most appropriate route for you.

We often receive the question of differences between Start-up and Innovator Visas in the UK. In this short post, we’ll cover the main differences between both visas, so you can decide which one may be best suited to you.

Why choose a Start-up Visa?

The Start-up Visa is for new entrepreneurs that want to set up their business in the United Kingdom for the first time. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, meet the English language requirement (level B2 CEFR) and, of course, want to set up an innovative business in the UK to fill a gap in the UK market. Proof of sufficient personal savings is required, proving that you have at least £1270 (for the applicant), £285 for a partner, £315 for the first child, and £200 per additional child for a minimum of 28 days.

The applicant must note that the Start-up Visa does not lead to Settlement; however, after 2 years, you can switch to an Innovator Visa, which presents the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

As a Start-up Visa holder, you can work at your start-up business and elsewhere. The Start-up Visa allows you to bring over family members (such as partners and children).

An extremely crucial element of the application process is your business proposal. The endorsing body will assess your business on the merit of its innovation, viability, and scalability:

  • Innovation: Showing that your business has a competitive advantage.
  • Viability: Showing that your business plan is achievable due to its realistic nature of accessing employees and resources, and you withhold the necessary skills to run the business successfully.
  • Scalability: Providing documents and plans show the ability to grow the business, allowing it to create jobs within the market.

Why choose an Innovator visa?

The Innovator Visa is deemed an escalated route, lasting three years with the ability to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The Innovator Visa is worth considering if you have a new, original business idea that is viable and scalable. The Innovator Visa does come with monetary requirements, including a minimum English Language requirement of CEFR Level B2.

To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, with £50,000 available to invest in your UK business. You must have satisfied the innovation, viability, and scalability threshold and be endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body within the last 90 days of your application. Furthermore, you will need to prove the ability to support yourself during your stay, requiring at least £1,270 (for the applicant), £285 for a partner, £315 for the first child, and £200 per additional child for a minimum of 28 days.

Endorsing bodies endorse your application, and only organisations from this list can support your business plan.

Start-up Visa vs Innovator Visa: Which one should you choose?

The Start-up Visa is a longer route if you aim to seek Settled status in the UK, taking up to at least five years until you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (two years’ Start-up Visa plus three years on an Innovator Visa).

However, with no minimum requirement for funds to invest and an affordable application cost, it is a good route for those with ambitious ideas, including graduates and those without previous business experience. The Start-up Visa offers the opportunity to set up an innovative business plan in the United Kingdom without being restricted due to a lack of funds and qualifications.

The Innovator Visa requires you to have £50,000 to invest and spend on your business, and the application cost is higher than the Start-up Visa. However, the route towards Settlement is quicker, giving you three years and the ability to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain following the end of your visa.

An applicant can complete the Start-up Visa application to switch to the Innovator Visa later, bypassing the £50,000 requirement.

Here is a helpful summary of the differences between a Start-Up and an Innovator Visa:

start-up visa vs innovator visa

Help to apply

Whether you apply for a Start-up Visa or an Innovator Visa, our team of experienced legal professionals will support you to help you build a strong case, with all the relevant documentation handled and submitted efficiently and promptly.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with a Start-up Visa or an Innovator Visa application, you can contact a team member.

Please call 0204 579 7376 or email info@qc-immigration.com today. Our fees are fixed and affordable.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

Get In Touch

Testimonials

What do our users say

Thank you very much for your contribution and good job you have done for me and my family. Today, I feel that thanking you is not enough. You will remain in our hearts and we will always have this deepest and sincere regard for you, as you have always shown your kindness and your work have been appreciated by the whole family.

Long Residence Settlement (10 years) client – Mauritian

Qiyin is an extremely diligent and thorough immigration lawyer. She took the time to fully understand my case and application for the highly skilled migrant program. She was very careful to consider both the short and longer term issues related to my application and provided very balanced and frank advice. My highly skilled migrant visa was successfully renewed thanks to her advice and help. I highly recommend her.

Tier 1 (General) visa client – Singaporean

I would like to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us in the past few years! I am now finished with the whole process and had my UK Citizenship ceremony. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Entry Clearance Settlement (Spouse) visa client – Canadian

Thank you for all your help. I got the visa this morning and look forward to going on holiday. See you again in 30 months for the next visa.

PEO same-day service (Spouse leave to remain) client – Thai

We are so glad that our friend recommended you to help with our ILR application and we have no doubt it may have been a different story if we were applying without your support! We appreciate your professional approach and knowledge on immigration matters and wish your business well in the future (we are sure you will be very successful). Have no doubt we will be using your services for our application for Citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (Spouse) client – Russian

The QC Immigration team has proved an absolute star on the immigration front and my son’s fiancée is now happily settled, thank you again.

Partner (Fiancée) Settlement Visa – Brazilian

Many thanks for all your work on our application, especially since I contacted you on short notice! I contacted you on Sept 22nd and we signed up with you on/around Sept 27th! So we pulled this all together a little over 3 weeks.

Premium Service (Fiancée) Partner visa client – American

You have exceeded our expectations by saving us so much time and money when organising this! Thank you for also co-operating with our investment manager and accountant to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Tier 1 Investor (Super Premium Service) client – Chinese

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client - Dutch

EEA Permanent Residence client – Belgian

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch