The UK Start-up and Innovator visa are similar in various ways and may be confusing to a first-time visa applicant. Both visas take an entrepreneurial route and allow the holder to bring their family with them to settle in the UK. However, there are varying differences between the two visas ranging from funding, suitability of applicant and visa validity.
- Suitability of applicant
The UK Start-up visa is suitable for high potential people that are new entrepreneurs seeking to establish a viable, scalable and original business different from what is in the market for the first time. The applicant does not require to be a graduate or have initial funding, all they need is an innovative business idea that has to be approved by an endorsing body.
On the other hand, an experienced businessperson seeking to establish a business in the UK then the Innovator visa may be more suitable. The applicant needs to receive an endorsement from an approved body to be eligible. Although innovator visa applicants can work together as a team, they must all receive their own personal endorsements.
- Visa Validity
Start-up visas are one-off visas meaning they cannot be extended and are only valid for 2 years after which there is a possibility for the applicant to switch to an Innovators visa and qualify for permanent stay three years later. Start-up visa applicants can bring their partner and any children under the age of 18 to the UK.
The Innovators visa is valid for 3 years after which it can be extended for an extra 3 years or permanent stay. Each of these 3 stages: initial application, extension and settlement requires endorsement. The visa also allows for dependents as long as they are: a partner, a child under 18 or a child over 18 currently in the UK.
To be eligible for the Start-Up visa you need at least £1270 for yourself, £285 for a partner, £315 for a first child and £200 for each additional child. There are no set levels for business funds though some endorsing bodies have a set level of funding as a condition to accept endorsing you.
For the Innovator visa, applicants must also have at least £945 for personal use in their bank for 90 consecutive days before they apply for the visa and an additional £50,000 to invest in their business.
- Work requirements
With a Start-Up visa you will be permitted to work outside the business you established. However, your endorsing body will check in every 6 months to ascertain that your business venture has made reasonable progress. Failure to this, the endorsement is withdrawn.
An immigrant under the Innovator visa cannot undertake any work outside of the original business.
The two visas are quite confusing to a first-time applicant as the visa center does not offer advice on endorsing bodies, an immigration agency would be great to work with as it would introduce you to the endorsing body within your field.