Endorsements for Innovator or Startup visa

From 29 March 2019, the Home Office launched two new visa categories, Innovator and Start-up, which replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route is now completely closed and no new applications will be accepted. It is however possible to have your stay extended or to apply for ILR if you were issued with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa before the cut-off date.

One of the main requirements of the Immigration Rules to obtain Innovator or Start-up visa is to get an endorsement from an authorized UK organization. The full list of endorsement bodies was recently published by the Home Office and is available at www.gov.uk.

Law Firm Limited contacted each of the endorsing bodies to enquire about the endorsement application process as well as the necessary requirements for the endorsement by a particular endorsing body in relation to the potential applicants. We are receiving mixed messages as not all the organizations are ready to accept applications for endorsements and some have not established the process yet.

It is expected that more detailed information will be available closer to September 2019. Some of the organizations that have already acted as endorsement bodies are fully prepared and already accepting new applications. Others, such as Tech Nation who have their processes in place for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category, announced that they are yet to adjust to the new requirements and are working internally to build a new application process for the Innovators and Start-ups. Lastly, some bodies have informed us that even though they are already open to the new Innovator and Start-up scheme, they are willing to cooperate only with their current clients or only through the participation of applicants in their own programs.

So despite the fact that the Innovator and Start-up categories are already formally open to receive visa applications via UKVI, in practice however the actual obtaining of the endorsement is questionable and uncertain and specialist advice is needed. It is also worth noting that the procedure for obtaining approvals will not be unified. Each endorsing body will have their own procedure and requirements, as well as specific deadlines and rounds to adhere to. The Home Office Guidance further pointed that the endorsing bodies can “decide whether to accept open applications or to only issue endorsements to business founders you are already working with through your existing activities.”

A complete list of endorsing bodies with their description of the programs and general requirements for obtaining approvals can be found here for the Start-up category and here for the Innovators.

Should you wish to apply for an endorsement for Innovator or Start-up visa or need an assistance with your visa application in the Innovator or Start-up category, we are here to provide you with an expert advice and guidance regarding the list of endorsing bodies for Start-up and Innovator visas.


Posted on Apr 07, 2019.

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