List of Innovator Founder Visa Endorsing Bodies Announced
The UK government has established the Innovator Founder visa route to attract start-up entrepreneurs and experienced businesspersons to the country.
To be eligible for an Innovator Founder visa, applicants do not need to have any specific level of funds to invest in their proposed business, but must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea, supported by a business plan, which has been endorsed by an approved endorsing body. This endorsement must be secured before an applicant can submit an Innovator Founder visa application.
The Home Office has now published a list of Endorsing Bodies that have been authorised to issue endorsements for the Innovator Founder visa route.
What is an Innovator Founder Endorsing Body?
Endorsing Bodies are organisations that have been designated by the Home Office to assess the suitability of applicants for the Innovator Founder visa route.
These Endorsing Bodies have expertise in specific sectors or industries and are responsible for assessing the credibility of the applicant’s business idea or plan, as well as their skills, experience, and potential to succeed in the UK.
List of Innovator Founder Visa Endorsing Bodies
The following is a list of Endorsing Bodies that have been approved by the UK government to endorse applications for Innovator Founder visas:
- Envestors Limited
- UK Endorsement Services
- Innovator International
- The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP) (GEP can only endorse applicants who have already been invited to participate on their programme).
Each Endorsing Body has its own criteria for selecting applicants. Our business immigration lawyers can advise applicants on the specific requirements of each Endorsing Body and also assist with preparing applications for Innovator Founder visa endorsement.
What is an Endorsement Letter?
An application for an Innovator Founder visa must be supported by an endorsement letter issued by an endorsing body. The endorsement letter must contain the following information:
- the name of the endorsing body;
- the endorsement reference number;
- the date of issue, which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application;
- the applicant’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport number;
- the name and contact details (telephone number, email and workplace address) of an individual at the endorsing body who will verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office if requested.
An endorsement letter will not be accepted if:
- it has been used in an application made more than 3 months after date of issue;
- it has been withdrawn by the endorsing body;
- the endorsing body has lost its status as an endorsing body at the date of decision.
Additionally, the endorsement letter must also include the endorsing body’s confirmation that in their assessment the applicant meets the individual requirements of either the ‘new business’ or ‘same business’ criteria under the Innovator Founder route.
An endorsement letter from an Innovator Founder endorsing body must also confirm that:
- the applicant is considered a fit and proper person to receive endorsement under the rules and guidance of the Innovator Founder route;
- the endorsing body has no concerns over the legitimacy of sources of funds or modes of transfer of funds invested by the applicant into their endorsed business;
- the endorsing body has identified no reason to believe that the applicant or their endorsed business may be the beneficiary of illicit or otherwise unsatisfactorily explained wealth.
Different requirements apply to endorsement letters issued in support of applications for indefinite leave to remain as an Innovator Founder.
Does Endorsement Mean That My Innovator Founder Visa Application Will Be Successful?
It’s important to note that being endorsed by an Innovator Founder Endorsing Body does not guarantee that your Innovator Founder visa application will be successful. The UK Home Office will still need to assess your application to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements of the Immigration Rules.
The Immigration Rules contain strict requirements in terms of the evidence that must be provided in support of an Innovator Founder Visa application. If required evidence is not provided, is in the wrong format or is missing information then an application for an Innovator Founder visa is likely to be refused.
Our immigration lawyers can work with you to ensure that your Innovator Founder Visa application satisfies the requirements of the Immigration Rules and is professionally presented.
Applicants Previously Endorsed Under the Former Innovator or Start-up Visa Routes
The Home Office has also published a list of ‘Legacy Innovator Endorsing Bodies’. The organisations included on this list are authorised to continue supporting their existing endorsed migrants who were endorsed under either the Innovator or Start-up visa routes prior to 13 April 2023.
If you were endorsed before 13 April 2023 by a ‘Legacy Endorsing Body’ then you will be permitted to rely on your endorsement and do not need to apply to one of the currently approved endorsing bodies, provided that your endorsement letter is dated before 13 April 2023.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
To discuss your application for an Innovator Founder endorsement, or an application for an Innovator Founder visa, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.