For students

Innovator Visa

We may be able to help if you would like to set up a business in the UK and need a visa.

Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa is for experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK.  The business should be innovative, viable and scalable.

Innovators must work entirely on developing their business ventures and may not take on other employment outside their business.

An entrepreneur can be endorsed for an Innovator visa with a new business idea or can first be endorsed for a Start-up visa and then move to an Innovator visa.  Applicants with a new business idea will need a minimum of £50,000 funding available to invest in their business.

Successful Innovators can bring their family members (spouses/partners and children under 18) to the UK and are granted leave for 3 years. After 3 years, Innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further 3 years or to settle permanently in the UK. Each of these 3 stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an endorsing body.


To apply, you must be endorsed by an authorised body.  Edinburgh Innovations is an authorised body and may be able to endorse your application for an Innovator Visa if you have a close, demonstrable relationship with the University of Edinburgh. 

To be endorsed you must be able to demonstrate and evidence that you have a genuine and credible business that will meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: There must be a genuine business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
  • Viability: You have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business;
  • Scalability: There must be evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.


You must:

  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business.  You can form a team with other Innovator applicants, but your team must have £50,000 for each applicant.
  • Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself by showing you have had at least £945 (£630 for each dependent) in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply for your visa.
  • Be able to demonstrate a close working relationship with the University of Edinburgh.


  1. If you are interested in and think you are eligible for an Innovator visa endorsement from Edinburgh Innovations, please make an initial enquiry by contacting
  2. Download the Innovator Visa Endorsement Form, complete and return it, along with a supporting statement from a University of Edinburgh representative and your business plan to
  3. If you application is suitable, you will be invited to present to the Edinburgh Innovations visa endorsement panel who will decide on your endorsement.

Innovator visa Endorsement form

Endorsement applications are accepted all year round.

Download Innovator visa Endorsement form


Official UK Government Innovator Visa Guidance