How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?

This series of articles is dedicated to explaining the newly born Innovator Founder Visa route.

From the first article, you’ll find out about:

  • The rationale behind creating the Innovator Founder Visa
  • The difference between the old and the new route
  • The suitability and the eligibility requirements

The second article will cover:

  • The eligibility requirements

From the third article, you’ll find out:

  • The settlement rules
  • The duration of the grant
  • Conditions imposed on the Innovator Founder Visa holder’s stay in the UK

The fourth article will provide you with a list of:

  • Documents the Innovator Founder Visa applicants will need to submit with the application.

Article No5 will explain

  • how the endorsing bodies consider the Innovator Found applications

This is the third article in this series.


Period and Conditions of Grant of Leave as an Innovator Founder

How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?
How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?

If your initial Innovator Founder visa application was successful, you should have been granted permission for a maximum period of 3 years.

Your grant will be subject to the following conditions:

(a) no access to public funds; and

(b) no work other than working for the business(es) you have established or other employment, where that other employment is in a role that requires a skill level of not less than RQF Level 3; and

(c) study is permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS.


What is ATAS?

ATAS stands for Academic Technology Approval Scheme. It was introduced to prevent the transfer of information, knowledge or technology which could develop, advance or support an Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programme or their means of delivery.

The ATAS requirement means you need to obtain a valid ATAS certificate issued by the Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control Centre and provide it with your visa application.

The ATAS condition means that you need to obtain a valid ATAS certificate before commencing your study or research in any of the specified subjects or fields of research.

You will be exempt from the ATAS requirement and ATAS condition if you are a national of one of the countries listed in paragraph ATAS 3.1..


Three Settlement Requirements

You can apply for settlement only after remaining in the UK for 3 years. In addition to meeting the validity and the suitability requirements, you’ll have to meet the following eligibly requirements:

  1. Endorsement Letter Requirement
  2. Continuous Residence Requirement
  3. Knowledge of Life in the UK Requirement


Endorsement Letter Requirements

With your ILR application, you’ll need to provide a letter from your endorsing body confirming the following:

1. You have shown significant achievements, judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement;

2. Your business is registered with Companies House, and you are listed as a director or member of that business;

3. your business is active and trading;

4. your business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months, based on its assets and expected income, weighed against its current and planned expenses;

5. you have demonstrated an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business;

6. your business venture has met at least two of the following requirements:

    • at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business; or
    • the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent three years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services; or

7. the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK; or

8. the business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1million in the last full year covered by its accounts; or

9. the business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas; or

10. the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for settled workers; or

11. the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for settled workers, each of which has a mean salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any allowances).

You cannot meet the above requirements by relying on the same criterion twice (for example, if you have invested £100,000 (2 x £50,000) in your business venture – this will be considered to have met one criterion, not two).


Continuous Residence Requirement

You should have continually resided in the UK for at least 3 years immediately before submitting your application. The caseworker will also check that you were not absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period.


How are 180 Days Calculated?

How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?
How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?

When calculating the 180 days, any period spent outside the UK for reasons listed below will not count towards the 180-day limit:

  • if you were assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas; or
  • there was a travel disruption due to a natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic; or
  • there were compelling and compassionate personal circumstances. For example, such as your or your loved ones’ life-threatening illness or the death of a close family member; or
  • you were absent from the UK on Crown service.


When Your Continues Residence will be Broken

Your continuous residence period will be broken if any of the following apply:

(a) you were convicted of an offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment (unless it is a suspended sentence) or directed to be detained in an institution other than a prison; or

(b) you are subject to a deportation order, exclusion order or exclusion direction; or

(c) where you are is subject to removal; or

(d) your visa expired unless:

(i) you have made a successful application for permission to stay where paragraph 39E of Part 1 of these rules applied; or

(ii) you had permission when you left the UK, applied for entry clearance before that permission expired, or within 14 days of that permission expiring, and that application for entry clearance was successful.


  1. Knowledge of Life in the UK Requirement

You will meet this last requirement for your ILR application if you have passed the Life in the UK test.



How Can You Settle as the Innovator Founder Migrant?