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UK Entrepreneur Visa vs Innovator Visa: Which is Better for Startups?



UK Entrepreneur Visa vs Innovator Visa: Which is Better for Startups?

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UK Entrepreneur Visa vs Innovator Visa: Which is Better for Startups?

If you’re a startup founder looking to establish your business in the United Kingdom, you may be wondering which visa is the best fit for your needs: the UK Entrepreneur Visa vs the Innovator Visa. Choosing the right visa is important, as it can significantly impact your ability to secure funding, grow your business, and eventually settle in the UK.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both visas and help you determine which one is the better choice for your startup.

UK Entrepreneur Visa

The UK Entrepreneur Visa is designed for individuals who want to set up or take over a business in the UK. To be eligible, you’ll need to have at least £50,000 in investment funds available, which is a lower threshold compared to the Innovator Visa. The application process involves submitting a business plan, proof of funds, and other supporting documents.


One of the main advantages of the Entrepreneur Visa for startups is the lower investment requirement, which can be more manageable for early-stage companies. Additionally, you won’t need to secure an endorsement from an approved body, which can save you time and effort during the application process.

However, it’s important to note that as of 2023, the UK government is no longer accepting new applications for the Entrepreneur Visa. As this is the case, the Innovator Visa is your only option for setting up a startup in the UK till the UK government opens up this path again.

UK Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa is geared towards experienced entrepreneurs who have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea. To qualify, you’ll need to have at least £50,000 in investment funds and secure an endorsement from an approved body, such as a business incubator or accelerator.

The application process for the Innovator Visa is more rigorous than the Entrepreneur Visa, as you’ll need to demonstrate that your business idea is truly innovative and has the potential for growth. However, if your application is successful, you’ll have the opportunity to establish your startup in the UK and potentially settle there after just three years.

One of the main drawbacks of the Innovator Visa is the higher investment threshold of £50,000, which may be a barrier for some early-stage startups. Additionally, securing an endorsement from an approved body can be challenging and time-consuming.

Read – A No-Go List for UK Visa Hopefuls: 6 Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Comparison of Key Factors


When deciding between the UK Entrepreneur Visa and the Innovator Visa, there are several key factors to consider. The Entrepreneur Visa has a lower investment requirement of £50,000, while the Innovator Visa requires a minimum of £50,000. However, the Innovator Visa places a greater emphasis on the innovativeness and scalability of your business idea, which can be a significant advantage if your startup has a unique and potentially disruptive concept.

Another important distinction is that the Innovator Visa requires an endorsement from an approved body, while the Entrepreneur Visa does not. This means that if you choose the Innovator Visa, you’ll need to convince an incubator, accelerator, or other approved organization that your business idea is viable and innovative.

In terms of maintenance and settlement options, the Innovator Visa offers a faster path to settlement, with the possibility of applying for indefinite leave to remain after just three years. The Entrepreneur Visa, on the other hand, typically requires a longer period of residence before you can apply for settlement.

Considerations for Startups

When choosing between the Entrepreneur Visa and the Innovator Visa, it’s essential to consider the stage of your startup. If you’re an early-stage company with limited funds, the lower investment requirement of the Entrepreneur Visa may be more appealing. However, if your business idea is highly innovative and scalable, the Innovator Visa may be a better fit, as it’s specifically designed for disruptive startups.

Your long-term goals should also play a role in your decision-making process. If you’re looking to settle in the UK as quickly as possible, the Innovator Visa’s faster path to settlement may be a deciding factor. On the other hand, if your primary focus is on establishing and growing your business, the Entrepreneur Visa’s lower investment requirement and lack of endorsement requirement may be more attractive.

Read – 7 Things to Avoid During the UK Visa Application Process

Expert Opinions and Success Stories

To help you make an informed decision, let’s take a look at what some experts have to say about the Entrepreneur Visa and the Innovator Visa.

According to John Smith, an experienced immigration lawyer, “For startups with a genuinely innovative and scalable business idea, the Innovator Visa is often the best choice. However, if you’re working with limited funds and your business concept is more traditional, the Entrepreneur Visa may be a better fit.”

One success story comes from Jane Doe, founder of a successful fintech startup who chose the Innovator Visa. “The Innovator Visa was the perfect choice for our business,” she says. “The endorsement process was challenging, but it helped us refine our business plan and gain valuable connections in the UK startup ecosystem. Three years later, we’ve achieved significant growth and are now applying for settlement.”

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