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After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
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Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
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15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
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09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
Great Interaction
Great interaction. I had a simple question which would have cost a fortune going to see a local solicitor. It was all very professional but still friendly. The solicitor I spoke to was the chief executive of her law firm (I looked her up on LinkedIn). You are dealing with very good lawyers who earn additional money through Lawhive. I would definitely use this service again. Highly recommend.
Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
Rated 4.8 / 5. Showing our 4 & 5 star reviews.

About

The innovator founder visa replaced the innovator visa in 2023. It offers an immigration route to overseas entrepreneurs and more experienced business owners to move to the UK and open an innovative business. It was created to offer a visa to business people who want to establish a business in the UK that is unlike any on the market.Next steps

How much does an Innovator Founder Visa cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with an Innovator Founder Visa is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £2,000-£2,500 but in some cases it could cost as much as £3,000.

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Innovator Founder Visa

The Innovator Founder Visa is a fairly new immigration route introduced by the UK Government in 2023. This visa replaces the Innovator and Start-up Visas and is the primary visa for entrepreneurs from overseas who want to move their business to the UK or set up a new business.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a business in the UK an innovator founder visa is the primary route available to you. Our network of specialist immigration lawyers can help guide you through this process using their expertise to boost your chances of a successful application.

Contact us today to discuss your application in a free case assessment.

Who is eligible for an Innovator Founder Visa?

Eligible businesses for this visa route must be new, innovative, and scalable. 

You also must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Have an endorsement from an approved body.

  • Be proficient in English

  • Have a viable business plan

  • Be active in the day-to-day running of the business

  • Have funds to start the business and provide accommodation for yourself

  • Apply and obtain entry clearance as an innovator founder before coming to the UK

  • Get medical clearance for tuberculosis if from a country where the disease is present

  • Have no criminal record or criminal sanctions such as being disbarred from acting as a company director.

Applicants must also have at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 consecutive days before applying for an Innovator Founder Visa. Further, if you want to bring dependents with you, you will need to meet extra financial thresholds to do so.

If your business has already been endorsed for a previous visa, you don’t need investment funds. You also don’t need investment funds if you have changed your business and confirmed this with your endorsing body.

How long can you stay in the UK on an Innovator Founder Visa?

The Innovator Founder Visa allows holders to remain in the UK for up to three years. After 12 months and 24 months, holders meet with their endorsing body to show their progress and consider an extension.

Can you extend an Innovator Founder Visa?

When the initial three-year period has expired, holders of an Innovator Founder Visa can apply for an extension of three years.

There’s no limit on how many times you can extend your visa and it is possible for holders to apply for permanent settlement when the initial three-year period has expired.

This is a very attractive benefit to the innovator founder visa, and what makes it an alluring visa – usually it takes 5 years to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain.

What documents do you need to apply for an innovator founder visa?

You must provide biometric information and identity verification to verify your identity and evidence that you qualify for the financial requirements, through bank statements. 

You should also have a valid endorsement letter from an endorsing body dated no more than 3 months before the date of application.

How to apply for an innovator founder visa

If you are outside of the UK, you can apply for an Innovator Founder visa online.

As part of the application process, you'll be asked to prove your identity either by having your fingerprints or photograph taken at a visa application centre, or by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

If you're already in the UK and looking to extend your Innovator Founder Visa or switch to this visa type, the process is slightly different but you can still apply online.

Once you've submitted your application, you can't travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. If you do, your application will be withdrawn.

Our network of immigration solicitors are specialists in helping to support entrepreneurs and business people from overseas looking to secure an innovator founder visa and start a business in the UK.

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How long does it take to get a decision for an innovator founder visa?

The length of time it will take to get a decision is 3 weeks if you are outside the UK and 8 weeks if you are in the UK. 

Applications for dependants are processed within 8 weeks. 

Your decision could take longer if the Home Office requires verification for any of your supporting documents. 

What is an Endorsing Body for Innovator Founder visas?

Endorsing Bodies issue endorsements for the Innovator Founder visa route

Each body has expertise in specific sectors and will assess the suitability of the applicant’s business plan and their ability to make a success of their business in the UK.

It costs £1,000 per person to apply for an endorsement, which is payable directly to the endorsing body.

It's important to note that an organisation can only give an endorsement if it is included on the Business Endorsing Bodies list.

Can you work full-time on an innovator founder visa? 

On an Innovator Founder visa, you can work full-time for your business and supplement your income with part-time work that meets the minimum skill level. 

It’s important to remember that you must continue to make progress with your business, otherwise, your endorsement can be removed and you may lose your right to stay in the UK.

What is the success rate of the innovator founder visa? 

Innovator Founder visas are difficult to secure. Barriers to entry are high and application is a lengthy process that includes finding an endorsing body to approve your business plan.

Securing an endorsement is not easy and there is no guarantee your application will be successful even when you have been endorsed.

It’s difficult to assess the success rate of applications for Innovator Founder visas as they are so new.

For the UK Innovator visa, which was replaced by the Innovator Founder visa, the average success rate between 2019-2022 was 87.8%.

It’s important to clarify that the innovator visa has now been replaced and had different requirements, so these numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Ultimately, the majority of successful innovator founder visa applications are supported by expert immigration lawyers.

What is the difference between an innovator and a start-up visa?

You can no longer apply for a start-up visa, it has been replaced by the Innovator Founder visa, which is now the primary immigration route for overseas entrepreneurs and business people who want to set up a business in the UK.

How much does an innovator founder visa cost?

The cost of applying for an innovator founder visa depends on where you make your application from.

  • It costs £1,191 per person if you apply outside the UK.

  • It costs £1,486 per person if you apply to extend or switch your visa in the UK

There’s also a healthcare surcharge to consider, paying this is essential and gives you access to NHS healthcare.

Can I switch to an Innovator Founder visa if I’m already in the UK on another visa?

If you meet the eligibility requirements for the innovator Founder visa, you may be able to switch to it if you’re already in the UK on another visa.

Your partner and child’s visa won’t automatically switch. If they don’t change their visa, or you don’t register them on your Innovator Founder visa it will expire at its original end date. They can apply at the same time as you, or any time before their current visa ends.

How can Lawhive help?

If you are a founder, our network of experienced immigration lawyers can help you secure a visa to bring your business to the UK. 

Contact us for a free case evaluation today to discuss your application and get a no-obligation fixed-fee quote for the services of a specialist immigration lawyer.

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