Tier 1 – Innovator

Tier 1 Innovator Visa

There has recently been a change to the immigration rules (announced on 7th Match 2019 and implemented from 29 march 2019) and two new categories of immigration have been added. These are,


  1. The Tier 1 Start-Up Visa
  2. The Tier 1 Innovator Visa


These categories are currently replacing the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. With the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scrapped, there is now a deadline until which individuals can apply for them. Additionally, more PBS work visas are expected to be swallowed up by the new non-point based categories. According to the statement, the Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visa are expected to take effect from 29th March 2019.


The introduction has been made because a large number of approved applications of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa resulted in low-quality businesses in the UK. Moreover, those businesses were not positively contributing to the UK economy in a significant manner. Therefore, the two new categories have been introduced to reform the immigration system.


The newly added categories replace the point-based system for a more patent system that sets a criterion for ranking an application. It is also expected that other types of visas for workers will also be scrapped in a time to come for more productive replacements.


Who can apply for Tier 1 Innovator Visa ?

Any person who is above 18 years of age can make this application provided he is able to fulfil the relevant requirements. This application can be made from overseas or from the UK provided the applicant has leave in an immigration category allowing him to switch to Tier 1 Innovator visa.

Business Plan

This category is for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants, in addition to funding of £50,000, will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. The applicant needs to have an innovative idea for the proposed business and be able to establish the viability of business and it’s growth within set time limits. He would need to set details of his proposed business venture in the backdrop of the current market situation, financial aspect and the benefits drawn from the business itself, which would require extensive market research and business analysis.


Endorsement & Endorsing Body

All applicants for entry clearance or leave to remain must have been endorsed in this category by an endorsing body listed on the gov.uk website. The applicant is required to apply to the relevant endorsing body in order to obtain endorsement and that would only be granted when the endorsing body carries out a full analysis of the business plan, its viability and scalability. Once endorsement is granted, the applicant can make application under Tier 1 Innovator Visa.


The endorsing body’s job does not end here. They have a duty to review the progress of the business in 6 months, 12 months and 24 months’ time and report to the home office, if it is found that applicant has not made a reasonable progress or is carrying out another business that does not meet the endorsing criteria or the application misses these checkpoints.



Credibility Assessment

Once the application is submitted, the decision maker (ECO in case of entry clearance applications or the Caseworker in the Home office) needs to be satisfied that all of the following requirements are met:


  • The applicant genuinely intends to undertake, and is capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in their application.
  • The applicant does not intend to work in the UK in breach of their conditions.
  • Any money which the applicant claims to be available is genuinely available as described, and the applicant intends to use it for the purposes described in the application.


The decision maker may also take into account the factors like; the evidence the applicant has submitted and its credibility, the applicant’s previous educational, work and immigration history, declarations made to other government departments regarding the applicant’s previous employment and other activity in the UK and any other relevant information. These factors help in establishing that the applicant’s proposed or existing business is genuine and promising and the home office may therefore check the authenticity of the documents submitted with the application, interview the applicant or even visit the business premises to see the physical and trading existence of the business.


The decision maker may also make request for additional information or interview the applicant to assess his credibility. It is therefore extremely important to seek professional help and advice in respect of Tier 1 Innovator visa applications. We have good experience in preparing our clients for the interviews and can therefore help our clients at any stage of their immigration matters.


English Language Requirements

Ability to communicate in English language is an essential and necessary part of the whole point based system. The applicant may meet this requirement:

  • if he is a national of one of the English speaking Countries listed in the immigration rules.
  • or if he has completed at least UK Bachelors level qualification or above in one of the English Speaking countries
  • or if he has passed an approved English language test at CFER level B2
  • or if he has had leave under one of the following immigration categories:
    1. Start-up
    2. Innovator
    3. Tier 1 (General)
    4. Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
    5. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) under the rules in place before 13 December 2012
    6. Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
    7. Tier 4 (General), supported by a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) assigned on or after 21 April 2011


Maintenance requirements

In most circumstances the Applicant will be required to demonstrate he has held £945 in his personal account or a joint account, for 90 days prior to the date of application.  This figure will increase for each dependant should they wish to bring family members to the UK. Please see below for more details about the requirements for your dependants.


Who can Switch to Tier 1 Innovator Visa?

Applicants having leave to remain under the following categories my switch to Tier 1 Innovator visa while remaining in the UK:

  • Tier 1 Start Up Visa
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur
  • Tier 2
  • Prospective Entrepreneur Visitor


Requirements for Tier 1 Innovator Team members

Two persons or more can form a team and apply under this route but both of them must qualify in their own right i.e. having access to the required amount of funds, English language and maintenance. Both of them must have equal access to the funds and enjoy similar authority and control over the funds and the business. Both of them will be able to sponsor their families as well. Each team member would need to have funding of £50,000 of their own but may work together to get a single endorsement from the endorsement body.


Validity of Tier 1 Innovator Visa

The Tier 1 Innovator visa is granted for 3 years and upon completion of 3 years, the applicant becomes eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Please see further details about indefinite leave to remain application in our separate article.


Requirements for the Dependents of Tier 1 Innovator Visa Applicants

Tier 1 Innovator Migrants are allowed to invite their spouses / partners and children under 18 years of age to join them as their dependants. The dependants will be able to work in the UK. The Applicant must show that his/her dependents can be supported during their stay in the UK.


Administrative Review / Judicial Review

Refusal of Tier 1 Innovator (Entry Clearance)

If the entry clearance application is refused by the ECO (visa officer) in the overseas British Diplomatic post, the applicant will be given a right of review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of decision. There will not be any general right of appeal against any such decision made by the visa officer. If the administrative review also fails, the matter then can be taken to the Upper Tribunal by lodging judicial review proceedings.


Refusal of Tier 1 Innovator (Leave to remain Application)

If the leave to remain application is refused by the Home office, the applicant is be given a right of administrative review of the decision that must be exercised within 14 days of the date of service of decision. There will not be any general right of appeal against any such decision made by the home office. If the administrative review also fails, the matter then can be taken to the Upper Tribunal by lodging judicial review proceedings.


How our Immigration Solicitors can help you in applying for Tier 1 Innovator Visa? 

Our team of UK Immigration Lawyers can expeditiously deal with Tier 1 Innovator Visa Applications.

Mr Intisar Chauhan, Principal Solicitor at Chauhan Solicitors, is an expert Immigration Solicitor in London who has been dealing with UK Immigration Laws since 2003. Immigration Lawyers at Chauhan Solicitors shall provide you with best possible Immigration advice / consultation and accordingly shall prepare your Tier 1 Innovator Visa application under direct supervision of Mr Chauhan. After consultation, if you want us to start preparing your case, you can expect the followings from our Immigration lawyers;

  • We are registered with Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for data protection that means our client’s information is confidential and safe with Chauhan Solicitors.
  • Our Immigration offices are centrally and conveniently located in Wandsworth, south west London (SW17) near Tooting Bec Tube and Tooting Broadway stations on Northern Line, offering our clients easy access to our offices. Our Immigration lawyers are within just 20 minutes away from central London by tube.
  • Our existing and former clients believe that we provided them value for money and that they can trust us with their immigration applications to the Home Office, Appeals to the Immigration Tribunals, Judicial Review applications etc. You may find our client’s review in the Testimonial section on our website or on Google.

Our Immigration Lawyers shall discuss your Application for Tier 1 Innovator Visa and advise you on the required documents and procedure.

  • Our Immigration Lawyers have teamed up with the best Immigration Barristers in and out of London who are well equipped to advise on any complicated immigration matters including lodging Judicial review or obtaining injunction orders from the High Court.
  • It will be our aim to keep you posted at all material times during pendency of your matter, for this matter our clients can log on our website and keep a close eye to the progress of their immigration matter at any time.
  • Our fees are competitive and we charge you in your immigration matters on agreed fee basis.
  • We shall never surprise you with hidden charges/fees.

You can contact us at 0203 514 2536 or info@chauhansolicitors.com and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly. Or in emergency we can be contacted at 07817897184.


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