United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France.

Program Overview

The Innovator Founder visa is a UK visa for start-up entrepreneurs and experienced businesspersons who are looking to set up a business in the UK which is innovative, viable and scalable. It is a single immigration route that replaced both the Innovator visa and Start-up route from 13th April 2023.

Once you have been granted an Innovator Founder visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to 3 years. During this time, you will need to develop your business and meet certain milestones, such as creating jobs and growing your business. If you are successful, you will be able to apply for an extension of your visa and eventually for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Program Benefits
Months to Residency from*
Suggested Investment Amount (£)*
Years to Citizenship (from)*

The Innovator Founder visa is a great way for start-up entrepreneurs and experienced businesspersons to come to the UK and develop their business. It offers a number of benefits, including:

  • The ability to live and work in the UK for up to 3 years.
  • The ability to bring your family with you to the UK.
  • The ability to access government support and services for businesses.
  • The ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 3 years.
  •   You receive the opportunity to live in a multicultural society that is home to a diverse range of ethnicities and communities. 
  •   The UK is a member of the G7. 
  •   The UK is home to one of the best healthcare services in the world. 
  •   The UK boasts a very high standard with regard to education. The network of private and state-funded schools is wide. Apart from that, the country is home to over 100 higher education institutions and universities. 
  •   The capital, London, serves as a key financial center on the global map.
  •   The UK Passport offers immense security and freedom of travel. 
  •   Investors with a high net worth that are categorized as UK residents or non-domicile can benefit from an attractive tax regime.
Program Qualifications

This visa is for people who wish to come to the UK to start a new business and work in the capacity of running that business. Here are the requirements for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa:

  • Applicants must have a minimum of £200,000 to start the proposed business
  • Applicants can open any type of business but must work full-time in the running of the business
  • Applicants must invest through the opening of a business
  • Applicants must take a share of the business’s liabilities
  • Applicants must have sufficient funds to maintain themselves until the business becomes profitable
  • Applicants must have a controlling interest in the business
  • Applicants must have a convincing and viable business plan
  • You must meet the English language ability requirements (see below) AND
  • You must have sufficient funds, as specified by the UK Government at the time of application
  • A successful applicant is generally given an initial visa valid for 3 years and 4 months
  • An extension of the visa for an additional 2 years can be applied for as long as the requirements are met
  • Applicants may, after 5 years, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • In order to become a British citizen, the applicant has to hold ILR for at least 12 months before applying for naturalization

English Language Ability
Applicants who obtained a degree from a non-English language institution must pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and score a minimum of 6.5 on each of the 4 components. IELTS measures the ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing, and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.

Investment Options
  • You want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK – it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
  • Your business or business idea has been endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body
  • Have enough funds to support yourself in the UK

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • New – you cannot join a business that is already trading
  • Innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • Viable, with potential for growth
  • Scalable – you must give evidence of planning that includes creating jobs and growing into national and international markets
  • You’ll need to get an endorsing body to assess that your business idea meets the requirements.
  • Knowledge of English: You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply:

You can prove your knowledge of English by:

  • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18
  • Having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English – if you studied abroad, you’ll need to apply for confirmation through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch (in the UK)
You £1,036 £1,292
Your partner and children £1,036 each person £1,292 each person
You must pay the visa fee for each person that applies at the same time as you or applies later to join you in the UK.
FAQs about United Kingdom & The Citizenship by Investment Program
  • What documents does a UK innovator founder visa application require?To make a successful innovator founder visa application, you will need to provide (this list is not exhaustive): 1. A letter of endorsement from an approved endorsing body 2. Your passport or other identity document 3. Bank statements showing at least £1,270 in savings held for at least 28 days before you apply 4. Proof you meet the English language requirement (e.g. an English language test pass certificate) 5. Evidence of the availability of your investment funds 6. A clear tuberculosis test result (not required for all countries)Can my partner and children stay in the UK if I have an innovator founder visa?As an innovator founder visa holder it is possible to bring your family members (partner and dependant children) with you to the UK. Each family member has to make a separate online application 

    Can I establish more than one business as an innovator founder visa holder?

    You can set up one or more businesses as an innovator founder visa holder. The Home Office permits endorsed innovator founder visa holders to establish additional businesses which are not necessarily related to the main business idea, and, where this is the case, the endorsing body has no role in the monitoring of those businessesbefore travelling to the UK.

Make United Kingdom your second home 

Visa-Free Countries


GDP nominal (per capita)
$2.914 trillion
GDP (purchasing power parity)

Greenwich Mean Time
242,495 km2
Pound Sterling
Shipbuilding, automotive industry, aerospace industry
Not a Member


  • Strong and stable economy
  • Multiple financial opportunities
  • Great health care and education system

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The materials contained in this page are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal or other professional advice. Processing times and costs will vary depending on a number of factors. CitizenMatch is not responsible for any changes to the time and cost estimates; we can provide specific information on an individual basis. All rights reserved.

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