Innovator Founder Scheme

The Innovator Founder Scheme has replaced the Start-up and Innovator Schemes from April 2023.

As an international student on a Student Visa, you are not eligible to start a business whilst studying. However, you can still develop the business idea alongside your studies.

The new Innovator Founder visa is a single immigration route that replaces both the previous Innovator visa and Start-up visa from 13th April 2023.

There is no requirements for applicants to have a minimum amount of money and permission to work in a skilled occupation alongside running your business is allowed and time under the route will count towards permanent residency (settlement).

When applying with your idea, you will still need to demonstrate that you meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Is there a genuine business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creatives a competitive advantage?
  • Viability: Does the applicant have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness to successfully run the business?
  • Scalability: Is there evidence of structures planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets?

The university is not eligible to sponsor you under this Route and there are currently only four government approved endorsing bodies going forward who are charging a minimum of £1000 for providing the endorsement and monitoring your progress.

Additionally the current cost for the innovator visa is £1,036 if applying from overseas or £1,292 if switching into the visa from within the UK together with the applicable immigration health surcharge fee (£624 per year).

More information on the Innovator Founder Visa can be found on Freemovement and the on the official UKVI webpage.