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You should apply under this category if you are seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The business must be innovative (i.e. original and different from other businesses in the existing market).

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What are the main requirements?

You must have an endorsement by an authorised body (i.e. a UK higher education institution, or a business organisation that has a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs).

  • show that your business idea is new (i.e. you cannot join an existing business that is already trading), and has potential for growth in the market
  • meet the English language requirement

Duration of stay in the UK

You can remain in the UK for 2 years under this category if you have been granted leave to enter the UK in this category, or you have switched to this category from within the UK.
You are not able to extend under this category; however, you may be able to re-apply under this category with a new endorsement. You will only be permitted to remain in the UK for 2 years under this category.

You would normally apply in the Innovator category before expiry of your 2 years and may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK upon completing 5 years residence in the UK.

Applying in this category

Your application is submitted online whether you are applying from outside the UK or applying to switch to this category from within the UK.

You can include your partner and dependent children in your application for permission to stay with you.

Speak to our business immigration experts

If you are exploring your options for a visa or require international business advice, our highly experienced solicitors will assist you in exploring all your options. We advise businesses and individuals, including executives and senior management teams on all aspects of business immigration including visas. You can get in touch by completing the form below.

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Key Contact

Adam Haines

Adam Haines

Employment Law and Business Immigration Partner


Adam is a partner and specialist employment lawyer with experience advising on all aspects of employment law from the beginning to the end of the employment relationship and business immigration.