DUBAIUAE, July 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The UK has a long history of innovation in science and technology. It ranks fourth in the Global Innovation Index, and its government continues to go to great lengths to elevate innovation and research within its borders.

So it stands to reason that the country wants to attract the best and brightest in the world, offering several routes into the UK to ply their innovative craft. This approach was best highlighted with the launch of the UK Innovator Visa as there is no room to misunderstand its main objective.


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After a slow start, the UK Visa Innovator has finally hit the ground running, with applications rising a staggering 330% year-on-year between 2019 and 2020. The number continued to grow in 2021, and if the data above is any indication , the number of applications will continue to grow.

However, as popular as the Innovator Visa is, there are several other routes for the world’s top professionals to consider when looking to immigrate to the UK, such as the Startup Visa or the High Potential Individual Visa. This article will take a closer look at the options available in the UK and how they differ from each other.

The Innovator Visa

The premise of the innovator visa is simple, those who meet these requirements can apply for a residence permit (permission to enter) in the United Kingdom:


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  • Be willing to set up and run an innovative business (i.e. a business not yet available on the UK market) on UK shores
  • Get a letter of support from a government approved endorsement body
  • Have enough money to reside in the UK without access to public funds
  • Invest £50,000 In the business
  • Be over 18 years of age, and
  • Meet the English language requirement

Successful applicants will obtain a three-year visa, which is extendable for a further three years at the end of their initial terms. However, at the time of the extension, they must maintain or obtain another endorsement.

After spending five years in the UK, they can apply for a permanent residence (indefinite residence permit) and then citizenship after the sixth year, if they meet the minimum physical residence requirement, of course.

The start-up visa (SUV)

Like the Visa Innovator, the main purpose of the SUV is to attract innovative companies to UK shores.

However, while there are many similarities between the Visa Innovator and the SUV, such as the requirement to establish an innovative business and the need to obtain endorsement before opening that business, some obvious differences explain why they are two separate options.

To better understand the differences, it is vital to consider the SUV requirements, as any applicant must:

  • Intention to set up an innovative business that is not available in the UK market
  • Obtain a letter of support from an approved support body
  • Have enough money to live in the UK for the duration of the visa without recourse to public funds
  • Meet the minimum English requirement, and
  • Be at least 18 years old.

The first difference is the minimum investment amount, which is £50,000 under the Innovator Visa, but it is not established under the SUV, since the latter does not require a minimum investment to qualify.

The second major variation is the list of supporting bodies, as they differ between Visa Innovator and SUV, with the latter hosting many universities and educational institutes on its list.

The third and most important difference is the validity of the visa. As the SUV is only valid for two years, it cannot be renewed. Any SUV holder must switch to another visa, most commonly the Innovator Visa, at the end of their two-year period to stay in the UK.

However, this is where the SUV and the Innovator Visa complement each other, as one of the laws under the Innovator Visa states that applicants can waive the minimum investment amount of £50,000 if your business was already established under another visa that requires an endorsement, which in this case would be the SUV.

This allows applicants who do not have access to £50,000 in transferable funds to finally reach the Innovator Visa and, later, indefinite license to remain without fighting for financing.

High Potential Individual Visa (HPIV)

The third popular visa on the list is the HPIV, a simple route for those with a degree from a list of eligible universities that the UK announces each year in November.

Those who have obtained a degree from a university on the list in the five years prior to application you can obtain a two-year visa to move to the UK and set up a business or seek paid work.

The requirements are simple, an applicant must:

  • Have obtained a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. from an approved university
  • Meet the English language requirement, and
  • Have sufficient funds to reside in the UK without recourse to public funds

Once applicants start their business or find a job, they can change their visa to a High Skilled Worker visa, allowing them to stay in the UK.

While HPIV is not an innovative visa per se, it aligns with the UK’s vision of bringing the best and brightest the world has to offer.

To find out more about moving to the UK, contact us today to book a full consultation with one of our experts.

Savory & Partners is an accredited agent for multiple governments where citizenship by investment is offered. Founded in 1797, the agency has evolved from pharmaceuticals to family assets and legacy protection through second citizenship and residency. The firm’s multinational and professional staff is made up of expert advisors who have guided thousands of clients, including many North African investors, on their journey to find the CBI program that is right for them. The Savory & Partners team will be happy to answer your queries in English, Arabic, Farsi, French and Spanish.

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SOURCE Savory & Partners

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