Tier 1 Investor Visa- How does it Work?

INTRODUCTION

The UK government is keen to attract highly skilled individuals, talented individuals, entrepreneurs and investors. This visa route is aimed at individuals who have the funds to invest into the UK. this visa route is an easy way to secure indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor Visa- How does it Work_

 

1. Requirements:

In order to qualify for this visa, you must;

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area & Switzerland
  • Have the ability to prove that the investment funds are yours or your partner’s (either spouse, unmarried or same-sex)
  • Have an account with a UK bank, where you can use your funds

In terms of your investment funds, they must;

  • Be a minimum of £2,000,000
  • Be held in an account of a regulated bank (in the UK or overseas)
  • Be disposable in the UK

2. Important Documents Needed for Application:

For your application, you will need to provide the following;

  • A passport/ valid travel identification
    • You will need a blank page in your passport
  • Certificate of your tuberculosis test results (if you are from certain countries where this is a requirement)
  • A criminal record certificate (if you have stayed in any country for at least 12 months or more)
  • A statement which states the following;
    • Your funds are being held in a bank account that is from a bank which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
    • The statement is made by an authorised official
    • The statement is dated 3 months of your application
    • The statement is on official headed paper of the bank
    • Your name and account details
    • You will use this account and the money to invest in the UK
    • The account has been checked for money-laundering

In terms of your investments funds, you will need to provide;

  • Evidence demonstrating that you have the minimum amount of investment funds required ( at least £2,000,000)
  • Evidence of the amount of money you have and where exactly it is being held
  • The origins of the money if you have only had the money for less than 2 years
    • Example: inheritance from a relative
  • Evidence that it is possible for the money to be transferred into the UK and converted into sterling (if it has not already been done)

If the money belongs to your partner, then you will need to demonstrate;

  • Evidence of the nature of your relationship
    • Certificate of marriage or civil partnership, or if unmarried/same-sex, then provide evidence of your long-term relationship (meaning a relationship of at least 2 years)
    • A statement from your partner, which allows you to have control of the funds in the UK
    • A statement from your lawyer, declaring that your application is valid

3. Fees:
  • You will need to pay £1,623 to apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa. It is the same amount if you are extending or switching visas, or if you are applying as a family member.
  • You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge

 

4. Bringing Family:

You are able to bring in family members if they are the following;

  • Husband, wife, partner
  • Child under 18
    • Child over 18 if they are currently in the Uk as a dependant
  • Just like you, your family members must apply online

5. The Application:
  • You will need to apply online
  • Your dependants will also need to apply online:
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Funds – how to apply for a start up visa – course module 1 of 10 Template Copy

Maintenance funds for a UK start up visa are possibly the one thing that can derail an innovator visa application if not handled correctly, and with adequate planning.

Overview

The first thing you need to do, before proceeding further, is to check your maintenance funds. If it’s just you applying, and you are not bringing family members, then the relevant sum is only £945. A small amount like £945 is not a big deal, right? Wrong. I have seen a number of cases now where maintenance funds have not been maintained in the way required by the rules, before people pursue an endorsement.

 

1. The rule and process ⚠

So, what is required? You must show that you, as main applicant, have £945, and that each of your family members has an additional £630. The purpose of the rule is to show that you can pay for yourself when you come to the UK.

If your wife (or husband) is coming with you to the UK, and you are also bringing your two children, then you will need £630 + £630 + £630 + £945 = £2,835. Here is a diagram showing this example:

The key requirements are at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on start up visa funds

(a) The applicant must have at least  £945 .

(b) If a main applicant and their partner or children are applying at the same time, there must be enough maintenance funds in total, as required for all the applications, otherwise all the applications will be refused.

(c) The funds in (a) above must be held in a personal bank or building society account, where the applicant is the account holder (or one of the account holders in the case of a joint account).

(d) Where the funds are in one or more foreign currencies, the funds will be converted to pound sterling (£) using the spot exchange rate which appears on oanda.com for the date of application.

(e) The funds will not meet the maintenance requirement if any of the following apply:

(i) The funds are in a financial institution listed in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules.

Appendix P only applies to certain countries, e.g. Pakistan, and within such countries only certain banks are recognised. Others are effectively blacklisted.

(ii) The funds are not in cash. The decision maker will not accept evidence of shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.

(iii) The applicant was in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.

(f) The funds must have been held in the account for a  consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application. 

So, in summary there are 7 requirements and you can use this checklist to go through them:

Requirement checklist: start up funds ✅
  • 1. You have at least £945, plus £630 for each dependent.
  • 2. These sums will be at that level on the date of the online application, according to oanda.com
  • 3. The funds are in cash or fixed deposits, rather than in shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.
  • 4. If the funds are in a bank listed in Appendix P, the bank is listed as a bank which is recognised by the Home Office.
  • 5. You were not in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.
  • 6. The funds must have been held in the account for a consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application.
  • 7. The evidence you have of the funds satisfies the documentary requirements (see the further checklist below)

 

2. Supporting document checklist (start up visa funds) 📝

The rules for start up documents on funds, which you need to know, are here at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on supporting documents 

(g) The applicant must provide evidence of the above, which may be in any of the following forms:

(i) personal bank or building society statements

(ii) a building society pass book

(iii) a letter from their bank or building society

(iv) a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts

(v) a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located

(h) The evidence in (g) must show all of the following:

(i) the name of the account holder

(ii) the account number

(iii) the financial institution’s name and logo

(iv)  that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period 

(v) the date of each document

(vi) in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

(i) Bank or building society statements must not be mini-statements from automatic teller machines (ATMs) and must be one of the following:

(i)  statements printed on the bank’s or building society’s letterhead 

(ii)  electronic statements, accompanied by a supporting letter from the bank or building society, on company headed paper, confirming the statements are authentic 

(iii)  electronic statements, bearing the official stamp of the bank or building society on every page 

If time is tight to get a bank letter, I would normally ask my clients to go into the bank branch with their electronic banks statements and get them stamped there.

(j) The end date of the 90-day period will be taken as the date of the  closing balance on the most recent document provided . Where documents from two or more accounts are submitted, this will be the end date for the account that most favours the applicant.

(k) If the applicant is applying in the Start-up or Innovator categories, they  do not need to provide evidence of maintenance funds if the letter from their endorsing body confirms they have been awarded funding of at least £945 . In the case of Innovator applicants, this must be in addition to the £50,000 investment funds required in that category.

I have prepared this checklist so that you can check your documents satisfy the requirements:

Supporting document checklist: start up funds ✅

The process is essentially first to select what type of evidence you are relying on to show the maintenance funds, i.e. either:

  • personal bank or building society statements
  • a building society pass book
  • a letter from their bank or building society
  • a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts or
  • a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located
  • (rare) a confirmation in the endorsement letter that the endorsing body has awarded £945

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm that in the case of documents 1-5 above:

  • 1. it shows the name of the account holder
  • 2. it shows the account number
  • 3. it shows the financial institution’s name and logo
  • 4. it shows that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period
  • 5. it shows the date of each document
  • 6. it shows in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

 

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm:

  • 7. The end date (the date of the closing balance on the most recent document provided) is within 90 days of the online application date.
  • 8. You satisfy all of the requirements under the ‘Requirements Checklist’ above.

 

3. Start up visa (funds) case studies, tips and stories ❗

Case study 1: Dipping below the threshold but recovering on the same day 

One of my start up visa clients had funds which dipped below the threshold of his relevant personal account, but they were immediately made up on the same day, to a sum well above the threshold. I understand that there have been cases where the Home Office has accepted such evidence. However, there is no basis in the rules or guidance for the proposition that only the closing balance on the end of a particular day within the period is relevant. So I would not recommend trying this. Just wait until your 90 days has accrued if there is such an issue.

⚠Tip 1: Credit cards

Sorry, these are not permissible to show maintenance funds. The funds must be in the form of cash funds held in an account. This does include savings accounts and current accounts, but it does not cover credit cards!

⚠Tip 2: Multiple accounts

You can rely on multiple accounts to show maintenance funds, but I would not recommend it unless you really have to. The rules say that you can take the closing balance of the account that most favours you, and use any other monies from any other accounts to make up the funds required.

⚠Tip 3: Joint accounts

Again, this can be done, but I’d recommend just planning ahead and having your maintenance funds in your own personal account in your name alone.

⚠Tip 4: The right bank

Just to amplify a point I commented on above. Your maintenance funds must not be in a bank on the ‘blacklist‘ of the Home Office. Appendix P of the Immigration Rules shows you which banks are accepted, and which ones are not. But Appendix P only applies to certain countries. So if you are not on one of those countries listed, then you can assume that the bank statements will be accepted. Within the countries listed, e.g. India and Pakistan, certain banks are blacklisted, and others are expressly allowed.

⚠Tip 5: What if you don’t have the maintenance funds, or you have a dip, or you can’t get the evidence?

Hold off on getting the endorsement letter until you do.

Case study 2: Getting the endorsement letter but having an issue with maintenance funds 

I know of an example where someone secured an endorsement letter but it turned out that they did not have the maintenance funds after all. Since there is a 3 month expiry date on the endorsement letter, and it would take 3 months to accrue the 90 day period to prove the maintenance funds, the application could not proceed.

 

Take the rest of the course on how to get a start up visa 📝

  • This module covers how to satisfy the maintenance requirements, but this course covers all of the rest of the requirements for applying for a UK start up visa. As the course modules are created, I will list them here.
🔔Drop me a message if you would like help. Remember that the text above above is for information purposes and is not legal advice. You will need to take legal advice on your individual circumstances. You can message me for free so do get in touch and let’s take it from there!

 

Let's speak

Tech nation – what is the easiest criteria to satisfy?

INTRODUCTION

Tech Nation is looking for applicants who are innovative entrepreneurs with both ‘exceptional talent’ & ‘exceptional promise’ in technology. It is designated by the Home Office in order to help you receive an endorsement needed for your application for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. You should definitely look into this endorsement if you have the desire to work in the digital technology sector in the UK.

Note that there are 2 ways to apply for endorsement by Tech Nation, (i) Exceptional Talent & (ii) Exceptional Promise. Either way, you must fulfil one key criterion & two qualifying criteria.

Tech nation – what is the easiest criteria to satisfy_

1. For both the ‘Exceptional Talent’ Route or ‘Exceptional Promise’ Route:

In terms of the ‘Key’ criteria, you must fulfil one key criterion. Here, you must either:

  • 1. Prove that you have a history of innovation within the digital technology sector. This could involve, for example, being a founder of a company or working in a new digital field or concept (this must be proven with a patent application). Or,
  • 2. Prove that you have worked above and beyond your usual duty in order to contribute towards the advancement of the sector. (You should provide evidence of this).

In terms of the ‘Qualifying’ criteria, you must fulfil at least two criteria. Here, you must:

  • 1. Have a record of achieving significant technical, commercial progress in the digital technology sector, as a founder or employee.
  • 2. Be recognised as a potential leader with talent in the digital technology sector.
  • 3. Be continuously educating yourself on mastering new digital skills throughout your career.
  • 4. Prove that you have the technical ability of an exceptional level, in the form of producing academic contributions such as published research or being endorsed by a research supervisor/expert.

2. Deciding between ‘Exceptional Promise’ or ‘Exceptional Talent’ Route:

This will depend on your amount of experience within the digital technology field. As an applicant with 5 years or less experience, the ‘Exceptional Promise’ route is your best option. This is because you will most likely not have had a track record in innovation, unlike candidates for the ‘Exceptional Talent’ route. Nonetheless, you will need to still be able to prove that you have the potential to be a leader in this sector as demonstrated by your previous achievements. Ideally, those of you with more than 5 years of experience will apply for the ‘Exceptional Talent’ route rather than the ‘Exceptional Promise’ route.

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3. So which criteria is the easiest to satisfy?

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that your application truly does depend on your circumstances. However, the easiest way for your application to fail is by choosing the wrong criteria/ route. In terms of criteria, the best combination for either route is to fulfil ‘key’ criterion number 1 and ‘qualifying’ criteria numbers 2 & 3.

A common mistake includes choosing to fulfil ‘key’ criterion number 2. As it is difficult to prove that you have gone beyond what is asked of you in your regular employment and also proving that the work you did do, really did contribute towards the advancement of the entire sector. In order to fulfil such a criterion would mean you were ideally an exceptional PhD candidate. Another common mistake is to try to pursue ‘Qualifying’ criteria number 4, again, as the ideal applicant, you would need to be an exceptional PhD candidate.

Please note that you do not need to rule out these criteria completely but understand that the are typically harder to prove and could delay your application process if you fail to comply with them.

 

Let's speak

Global Talent Visa UK- Will it be easier to apply?

1. New fast-track visa

It is a new fast-track visa offer with the focus on recruiting new talent into the STEM sector in order to cement the UK as a science superpower. The re-branding of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route is to demonstrate the UK government’s desire to attract global talent. The Home Office will launch a new fast-track immigration offer for selected individuals with skills in science, technology or engineering, building on the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route.

If eligible, the new scheme will provide you with a three-year visa, during which you can come & go from the UK. At the end of three years, you would then be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, thereby giving you a permanent right to reside in the UK. You would also be able to have access to benefits & healthcare just like any other British citizen.

2. STEM Subjects

The fact that there will not be a minimum salary requirement, you will not need to secure a job before arriving in the UK. This makes it an easier visa entry route into the UK in comparison with other visas like the existing:

Additionally, you will be able to bring any dependents such as your spouses/partners & children. Any adult dependant of yours will have full access to the labour market (meaning they can work in the UK alongside you).

This initiative will ensure that those with specialist skills in STEM subjects can come to the UK & make an important contribution to our leading science and research sector, allowing the government to significantly enhance the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK.

Let's speak

Funds – how to apply for a start up visa – course module 1 of 10 Template

Maintenance funds for a UK start up visa are possibly the one thing that can derail an innovator visa application if not handled correctly, and with adequate planning.

Overview

The first thing you need to do, before proceeding further, is to check your maintenance funds. If it’s just you applying, and you are not bringing family members, then the relevant sum is only £945. A small amount like £945 is not a big deal, right? Wrong. I have seen a number of cases now where maintenance funds have not been maintained in the way required by the rules, before people pursue an endorsement.

 

1. The rule and process ⚠

So, what is required? You must show that you, as main applicant, have £945, and that each of your family members has an additional £630. The purpose of the rule is to show that you can pay for yourself when you come to the UK.

If your wife (or husband) is coming with you to the UK, and you are also bringing your two children, then you will need £630 + £630 + £630 + £945 = £2,835. Here is a diagram showing this example:

The key requirements are at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on start up visa funds

(a) The applicant must have at least  £945 .

(b) If a main applicant and their partner or children are applying at the same time, there must be enough maintenance funds in total, as required for all the applications, otherwise all the applications will be refused.

(c) The funds in (a) above must be held in a personal bank or building society account, where the applicant is the account holder (or one of the account holders in the case of a joint account).

(d) Where the funds are in one or more foreign currencies, the funds will be converted to pound sterling (£) using the spot exchange rate which appears on oanda.com for the date of application.

(e) The funds will not meet the maintenance requirement if any of the following apply:

(i) The funds are in a financial institution listed in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules.

Appendix P only applies to certain countries, e.g. Pakistan, and within such countries only certain banks are recognised. Others are effectively blacklisted.

(ii) The funds are not in cash. The decision maker will not accept evidence of shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.

(iii) The applicant was in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.

(f) The funds must have been held in the account for a  consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application. 

So, in summary there are 7 requirements and you can use this checklist to go through them:

Requirement checklist: start up funds ✅
  • 1. You have at least £945, plus £630 for each dependent.
  • 2. These sums will be at that level on the date of the online application, according to oanda.com
  • 3. The funds are in cash or fixed deposits, rather than in shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.
  • 4. If the funds are in a bank listed in Appendix P, the bank is listed as a bank which is recognised by the Home Office.
  • 5. You were not in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.
  • 6. The funds must have been held in the account for a consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application.
  • 7. The evidence you have of the funds satisfies the documentary requirements (see the further checklist below)

 

2. Supporting document checklist (start up visa funds) 📝

The rules for start up documents on funds, which you need to know, are here at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on supporting documents 

(g) The applicant must provide evidence of the above, which may be in any of the following forms:

(i) personal bank or building society statements

(ii) a building society pass book

(iii) a letter from their bank or building society

(iv) a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts

(v) a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located

(h) The evidence in (g) must show all of the following:

(i) the name of the account holder

(ii) the account number

(iii) the financial institution’s name and logo

(iv)  that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period 

(v) the date of each document

(vi) in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

(i) Bank or building society statements must not be mini-statements from automatic teller machines (ATMs) and must be one of the following:

(i)  statements printed on the bank’s or building society’s letterhead 

(ii)  electronic statements, accompanied by a supporting letter from the bank or building society, on company headed paper, confirming the statements are authentic 

(iii)  electronic statements, bearing the official stamp of the bank or building society on every page 

If time is tight to get a bank letter, I would normally ask my clients to go into the bank branch with their electronic banks statements and get them stamped there.

(j) The end date of the 90-day period will be taken as the date of the  closing balance on the most recent document provided . Where documents from two or more accounts are submitted, this will be the end date for the account that most favours the applicant.

(k) If the applicant is applying in the Start-up or Innovator categories, they  do not need to provide evidence of maintenance funds if the letter from their endorsing body confirms they have been awarded funding of at least £945 . In the case of Innovator applicants, this must be in addition to the £50,000 investment funds required in that category.

I have prepared this checklist so that you can check your documents satisfy the requirements:

Supporting document checklist: start up funds ✅

The process is essentially first to select what type of evidence you are relying on to show the maintenance funds, i.e. either:

  • personal bank or building society statements
  • a building society pass book
  • a letter from their bank or building society
  • a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts or
  • a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located
  • (rare) a confirmation in the endorsement letter that the endorsing body has awarded £945

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm that in the case of documents 1-5 above:

  • 1. it shows the name of the account holder
  • 2. it shows the account number
  • 3. it shows the financial institution’s name and logo
  • 4. it shows that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period
  • 5. it shows the date of each document
  • 6. it shows in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

 

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm:

  • 7. The end date (the date of the closing balance on the most recent document provided) is within 90 days of the online application date.
  • 8. You satisfy all of the requirements under the ‘Requirements Checklist’ above.

 

3. Start up visa (funds) case studies, tips and stories ❗

Case study 1: Dipping below the threshold but recovering on the same day 

One of my start up visa clients had funds which dipped below the threshold of his relevant personal account, but they were immediately made up on the same day, to a sum well above the threshold. I understand that there have been cases where the Home Office has accepted such evidence. However, there is no basis in the rules or guidance for the proposition that only the closing balance on the end of a particular day within the period is relevant. So I would not recommend trying this. Just wait until your 90 days has accrued if there is such an issue.

⚠Tip 1: Credit cards

Sorry, these are not permissible to show maintenance funds. The funds must be in the form of cash funds held in an account. This does include savings accounts and current accounts, but it does not cover credit cards!

⚠Tip 2: Multiple accounts

You can rely on multiple accounts to show maintenance funds, but I would not recommend it unless you really have to. The rules say that you can take the closing balance of the account that most favours you, and use any other monies from any other accounts to make up the funds required.

⚠Tip 3: Joint accounts

Again, this can be done, but I’d recommend just planning ahead and having your maintenance funds in your own personal account in your name alone.

⚠Tip 4: The right bank

Just to amplify a point I commented on above. Your maintenance funds must not be in a bank on the ‘blacklist‘ of the Home Office. Appendix P of the Immigration Rules shows you which banks are accepted, and which ones are not. But Appendix P only applies to certain countries. So if you are not on one of those countries listed, then you can assume that the bank statements will be accepted. Within the countries listed, e.g. India and Pakistan, certain banks are blacklisted, and others are expressly allowed.

⚠Tip 5: What if you don’t have the maintenance funds, or you have a dip, or you can’t get the evidence?

Hold off on getting the endorsement letter until you do.

Case study 2: Getting the endorsement letter but having an issue with maintenance funds 

I know of an example where someone secured an endorsement letter but it turned out that they did not have the maintenance funds after all. Since there is a 3 month expiry date on the endorsement letter, and it would take 3 months to accrue the 90 day period to prove the maintenance funds, the application could not proceed.

 

Take the rest of the course on how to get a start up visa 📝

  • This module covers how to satisfy the maintenance requirements, but this course covers all of the rest of the requirements for applying for a UK start up visa. As the course modules are created, I will list them here.
🔔Drop me a message if you would like help. Remember that the text above above is for information purposes and is not legal advice. You will need to take legal advice on your individual circumstances. You can message me for free so do get in touch and let’s take it from there!

 

Let's speak

How to apply for a start up visa – part 1

Maintenance funds for a UK start up visa are possibly the one thing that can derail a visa application if not handled correctly, and with adequate planning.

Overview

The first thing you need to do, before proceeding further, is to check your maintenance funds. ⚠ These have to be in your personal account, not your business account. If it’s just you applying, and you are not bringing family members, then the relevant sum is only £945. A small amount like £945 is not a big deal, right? Wrong. I have seen a number of cases now where maintenance funds have not been maintained in the way required by the rules, before people pursue an endorsement.

 

1. The rule and process ⚠

So, what is required? You must show that you, as main applicant, have £945, and that each of your family members has an additional £630. The purpose of the rule is to show that you can pay for yourself when you come to the UK.

If your wife (or husband) is coming with you to the UK, and you are also bringing your two children, then you will need £630 + £630 + £630 + £945 = £2,835. Here is a diagram showing this example:

 

The key requirements are at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on start up visa funds for you as main applicant

(a) The applicant must have at least  £945 .

(b) If a main applicant and their partner or children are applying at the same time, there must be enough maintenance funds in total, as required for all the applications, otherwise all the applications will be refused.

(c) The funds in (a) above must be held in a personal bank or building society account, where the applicant is the account holder (or one of the account holders in the case of a joint account).

(d) Where the funds are in one or more foreign currencies, the funds will be converted to pound sterling (£) using the spot exchange rate which appears on oanda.com for the date of application.

(e) The funds will not meet the maintenance requirement if any of the following apply:

(i) The funds are in a financial institution listed in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules.

Appendix P only applies to certain countries, e.g. Pakistan, and within such countries only certain banks are recognised. Others are effectively blacklisted.

(ii) The funds are not in cash. The decision maker will not accept evidence of shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.

(iii) The applicant was in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.

(f) The funds must have been held in the account for a  consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application. 

The rule for dependents of start up visa (Appendix W) family members (“dependents”) is at page 39 of the Caseworker Guidance:

The rule on start up visa funds for your family members

Appendix W Worker family members Family members of Start-up and Innovator Workers must have evidence of available funds of  £630 . Dependants of Start-up or Innovator Workers cannot use the same funds that the skilled worker has used to meet the maintenance requirement.

So, in summary there are 7 requirements and you can use this checklist to go through them:

Requirement checklist: start up funds ✅
  • 1. You have at least £945, plus £630 for each dependent in your personal account, not your business account
  • 2. These sums will be at that level on the date of the online application, according to oanda.com
  • 3. The funds are in cash, rather than in shares, bonds, credit cards, overdraft facilities or pension funds.
  • 4. If the funds are in a bank listed in Appendix P, the bank is listed as a bank which is recognised by the Home Office.
  • 5. You were not in the UK illegally, or in breach of their leave conditions, when they obtained any of the funds.
  • 6. The funds must have been held in the account for a consecutive 90 days, ending no earlier than 31 days before the date of application.
  • 7. The evidence you have of the funds satisfies the documentary requirements (see the further checklist below)

 

2. Supporting document checklist (start up visa funds) 📝

The rules for start up documents on funds, which you need to know, are here at paragraphs W3.9 (g)-(k) of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules:

The rules on supporting documents 

(g) The applicant must provide evidence of the above, which may be in any of the following forms:

(i) personal bank or building society statements

(ii) a building society pass book

(iii) a letter from their bank or building society

(iv) a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts

(v) a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located

(h) The evidence in (g) must show all of the following:

(i) the name of the account holder

(ii) the account number

(iii) the financial institution’s name and logo

(iv)  that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period 

(v) the date of each document

(vi) in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

(i) Bank or building society statements must not be mini-statements from automatic teller machines (ATMs) and must be one of the following:

(i)  statements printed on the bank’s or building society’s letterhead 

(ii)  electronic statements, accompanied by a supporting letter from the bank or building society, on company headed paper, confirming the statements are authentic 

(iii)  electronic statements, bearing the official stamp of the bank or building society on every page 

If time is tight to get a bank letter, I would normally ask my clients to go into the bank branch with their electronic banks statements and get them stamped there.

(j) The end date of the 90-day period will be taken as the date of the  closing balance on the most recent document provided . Where documents from two or more accounts are submitted, this will be the end date for the account that most favours the applicant.

(k) If the applicant is applying in the Start-up or Innovator categories, they  do not need to provide evidence of maintenance funds if the letter from their endorsing body confirms they have been awarded funding of at least £945 . In the case of Innovator applicants, this must be in addition to the £50,000 investment funds required in that category.

You also need to reference pages 37-39 of the Caseworker guidance, which covers family members on a start-up visa:

Supporting documents for family members of start up visa applicants 

Documents required: Tier 1, 2 or 5 or Appendix W dependant

Acceptable forms of evidence as specified in Appendix E of the Immigration Rules are:

  • personal bank or building society statements covering the 90 day period immediately before the application
  • building society passbooks
  • a letter from a bank or building society confirming funds and that they have been in the bank for at least 90 days
  • a letter from a financial institution regulated by either the Financial Services Authority or, in the case of overseas accounts, the home regulator (official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located) confirming funds.

 The evidence provided must clearly show that there are sufficient funds present in the account at any time during the 90 day period – the balance must not fall below: […] £630 for each dependant .

[…]

Appendix W Start-up or Innovator Workers whose endorsement letter confirms the applicant has sufficient funds for themselves and their dependants do not need to demonstrate maintenance separately.

[…]

I have prepared this checklist so that you can check your documents satisfy the requirements:

Supporting document checklist: start up funds ✅

The process is essentially first to select what type of evidence you are relying on to show the maintenance funds, i.e. either:

  • personal bank or building society statements
  • a building society pass book
  • a letter from their bank or building society
  • a letter from another financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for the purpose of personal savings accounts or
  • a letter from an overseas financial institution regulated by the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located
  • (rare) a confirmation in the endorsement letter that the endorsing body has awarded £945

 

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm that in the case of documents 1-5 above:

  • 1. it shows the name of the account holder
  • 2. it shows the account number
  • 3. it shows the financial institution’s name and logo
  • 4. it shows that the funds in the account have been at the required level throughout the 90-day period
  • 5. it shows the date of each document
  • 6. it shows in the case of personal bank or building society statements, any transactions during the 90-day period

… THEN you should check it against this checklist, to confirm:

  • 7. The end date (the date of the closing balance on the most recent document provided) is within 90 days of the online application date.
  • 8. You satisfy all of the requirements under the ‘Requirements Checklist’ above.

 

3. Start up visa (funds) case studies, tips and stories ❗

Case study 1: Dipping below the threshold but recovering on the same day 

One of my start up visa clients had funds which dipped below the threshold of his relevant personal account, but they were immediately made up on the same day, to a sum well above the threshold. I understand that there have been cases where the Home Office has accepted such evidence. However, there is no basis in the rules or guidance for the proposition that only the closing balance on the end of a particular day within the period is relevant. So I would not recommend trying this. Just wait until your 90 days has accrued if there is such an issue.

⚠Tip 1: Credit cards

Sorry, these are not permissible to show maintenance funds. The funds must be in the form of cash funds held in an account. This does include savings accounts and current accounts, but it does not cover credit cards!

⚠Tip 2: Multiple accounts

You can rely on multiple accounts to show maintenance funds, but I would not recommend it unless you really have to. The rules say that you can take the closing balance of the account that most favours you, and use any other monies from any other accounts to make up the funds required.

⚠Tip 3: Joint accounts

Again, this can be done, but I’d recommend just planning ahead and having your maintenance funds in your own personal account in your name alone.

⚠Tip 4: The right bank

Just to amplify a point I commented on above. Your maintenance funds must not be in a bank on the ‘blacklist‘ of the Home Office. Appendix P of the Immigration Rules shows you which banks are accepted, and which ones are not. But Appendix P only applies to certain countries. So if you are not on one of those countries listed, then you can assume that the bank statements will be accepted. Within the countries listed, e.g. India and Pakistan, certain banks are blacklisted, and others are expressly allowed.

⚠Tip 5: What if you don’t have the maintenance funds, or you have a dip, or you can’t get the evidence?

Hold off on getting the endorsement letter until you do.

Case study 2: Getting the endorsement letter but having an issue with maintenance funds 

I know of an example where someone secured an endorsement letter but it turned out that they did not have the maintenance funds after all. Since there is a 3 month expiry date on the endorsement letter, and it would take 3 months to accrue the 90 day period to prove the maintenance funds, the application could not proceed.

References and resources

The “Caseworker Guidance” reference above is called the ‘Dependant family members of points-based system migrants and Appendix W Workers’ (link here)

Appendix W of the Immigration Rules (link here)

Skilled Workers and Students (Dependants) – Policy Guidance (link here)

Take the rest of the course on how to get a start up visa 📝

🔔Drop me a message if you would like help. Remember that the text above above is for information purposes and is not legal advice. You will need to take legal advice on your individual circumstances. You can message me for free so do get in touch and let’s take it from there!

 

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How to get into Oxford or Cambridge as an International Student

INTRODUCTION

It is clearly stated in Tier 1 (entrepreneur) rules that you must invest all your investment funds (£200,000) into your business before proceeding with your application for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension in year three. In other words, for the purpose of growing your business, you must spend all the investment money.

1. Getting an early start:

It is advisable to start the process as soon as possible. Ideally, a two or three-year headstart before you begin your application is best. This will allow you to focus on achieving high grades, deciding which qualifications will be best & establishing a good understanding of the English language. You will need to make sure the qualifications you choose to study will be recognised by the universities. Additionally, you must meet the basic requirements for your course, such as achieving the grade requirements, demonstrating that you have gone above & beyond what is expected of you in the classroom. When deciding if you want to study in the UK, it is important to keep in mind whether this is a route for you. It is important to have a clear sense of your objective, researching the subject you are interested in studying at university & looking into what colleges at these universities are best for you.

It is important to manage your expectations, for instance, if you do not have the high grades & are not at the top of the class, then it is advised that you consider carefully if Oxford or Cambridge is the best route for you. However, there are exceptions, for example, if there are certain extenuating circumstances which are preventing you from achieving the best grades, then these universities may re-consider your circumstances. But remember, these universities are looking for a certain type of student & the competition for these universities is fierce.

2. Meeting basic requirements:

Since the competition for places is tough, it is a must that you meet the minimum grade requirements for the course you’ve chosen. There is an expectation that you to attend the interviews in person. However, if you are a student outside the EEA & cannot get a visa in time for your interview, then the university will consider the circumstances & be understanding. But again, it is best that you do meet in person, in order to demonstrate your capability & prove that you deserve a place at Oxford or Cambridge. The threshold is high across the board and so, there is no ‘easy way’ to get into these universities. The admissions board are scrupulous & these universities have high expectations of its students, both domestic & international, no matter which course.

3. English Language Requirement:

Your English language skills must be very good. At Oxford & Cambridge, they have a high standard of English for both domestic and international students.

4. Using UCAS:

Once you have researched & determined which course you want to study, you can start creating your profile on UCAS. This is an admissions service who deals with all the applications for any higher education course/university in the UK. Your profile on UCAS is split into five sections;

  • Personal information: Here you will fill out details such as school details, support needs and address.
  • Contact details: here you will add contact details, such as your mobile number, email etc so that your university can let you know if you are successful or not.
  • Qualifications: Here you will show what grades and qualifications you have achieved so far and what qualifications you will achieve within the next academic year.
  • Work history: In this section, you will demonstrate any examples of work experience you may have done, for instance, a part-time job.
  • Personal statement, this section is important and gives you the opportunity to tell the university why you are applying and why you want to study that particular subject.

You must complete all five sections as part of your application process.

5. What Oxford/Cambridge are looking for in an applicant:

The application process for Oxford or Cambridge is notoriously rigorous. They are known to ask questions to test students in new ways, looking for an ideal candidate who has the depth of knowledge, intellectual curiosity & knowledge of the subject which are outside the normal parameters. In order to be this ideal candidate, you need to make sure to be reading widely, for instance, look into current affairs and any related subjects which would demonstrate you have a well-round idea of the subject you are interested in. You will need to show that your love for that subject is deep & that you go out of your way to nurture that love outside the classroom. For example, for maths & STEM subjects; you could start a STEM club or it could be as simple as starting chess at a young age.

6. Choosing between Oxford or Cambridge:

Most importantly, you need to be guided by what you want to study and your love for that subject. When choosing between the two universities, you assess whether you like the content & format of the course, thereby, giving you an indication of which university is best for you. Another important aspect to consider is the location, you cannot underestimate the importance of visiting the universities in order to ‘feel’ which is best for you. Moreover, you should look at who is teaching the course. These professors are the best in their field & will be a good indicator of who you want to teach your subject. A good tip is to visit these universities at term time as this would allow you can get a real flavour for what university life is like at either Oxford or Cambridge. If you follow all the advice written above, you should get a good idea as t which university to choose.

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Categories UK

Exceptional talent visa for the UK – what do you need to show (in 2020)

 

1. STAGE 1 – Getting an endorsement ✅

Stage 1

The Designated Competent Bodies:

The first thing you need to do is get one of the five Designated Competent Bodies to endorse you.

The recognised Designated Competent Bodies are:

  • Tech Nation – for digital technology applications;
  • Arts Council England – for arts, culture, fashion, architecture, film and television applications;
  • The British Academy – for humanities and social science applications;
  • The Royal Society – for natural sciences and medical science research applications; and
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications.

Designated Competent Bodies have two sets of criteria:

  • Exceptional Talent – this is for you if you have made a “significant contribution as a leader of your field” (this gives you 3 years to permanent residence); and
  • Exceptional Promise – this is for you if you are earlier in your career but have shown the potential to make significant contributions as a leader in your field” (this gives you 5 years to permanent residence). 

The Limit 

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) is subject to a limit of 2,000 endorsements per year (April to April).

The first 1000 places in the limit are allocated between the Designated Competent Bodies:

  • Arts Council England – 250 places;
  • The Royal Society – 250 places;
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering – 150 places;
  • The British Academy – 150 places;
  • Tech Nation – 200 places.

Timing your stage 1 application

Please note that a Stage 1 application will not extend your leave while a decision is being made on your endorsement application. This means that if you are already inside the UK and your leave expires whilst your stage 1 application is under consideration, you will be considered to be overstaying in the UK.

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2. STAGE 2 – Making the application ✅

Stage 2

You must apply within 3 months of getting your endorsement.

Switching

This is only relevant if you make your application from inside the UK.

You can switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) from your current category of leave to remain in the UK if you are on a visa under:

  • Tier 1;
  • Tier 2;
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker), sponsored in the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category in an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers;
  • Start-up; or
  • Innovator.

If you have another type of visa, you can’t switch in-country. You would have to leave the UK and apply from abroad.

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3. Extending your visa ✅

Requirements for extensions

You don’t need an endorsement for an extension application.

To extend, you need to prove that:

  • The Designated Competent Body has not withdrawn its endorsement; and
  • Since your original application, you have earned money in the UK as a result of employment or self-employment in your field of expertise. This must be within the field for which the Designated Competent Body endorsed you.

Timing your extension application 

If you are already in the UK, you should apply for an extension of your leave before your current leave to remain expires (ideally a month before).

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4. Getting indefinite leave to remain ✅

Requirements for Settlement

Settlement - Length of time in the UK needed to qualify

You get ILR after 5 years for exceptional promise, and after 3 years for exceptional talent.

In both cases, you can count any previous leave under:

  • Tier 1 (except Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant and Tier 1 (Post- Study Work));
  • Tier 2 (except Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrant); 
  • Innovator.

Criteria for settlement 

You have to show:

  • Your endorsement hasn’t been withdrawn; and
  • You have been employed (or self-employed) in the area of expertise for which you were endorsed.During your most recent period of leave as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrant, you have earned money in the UK as a result of employment or self-employment in your field of expertise. This is the field for which the Designated Competent Body endorsed you.

Knowledge of Language and Life for settlement

You have to pass the Life in the UK test and get Level B1 in English speaking and listening.

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Categories UK

Innovator visa: how to get endorsed in 5 steps (in 2020)

 

1. Innovator visas: what are the requirements you have to meet for all applications? ✅

Mandatory Evidence

This section provides details on all the mandatory evidence required for all Innovator visa applications.

Approved endorsers

  • The Bakery
  • Seed Camp
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Zinc
  • Deep Science Ventures
  • Wayra
  • Ignite
  • Bethnal Green Ventures
  • Codebase
  • Capital Enterprise
  • Cylon
  • TechX
  • Seed Haus’
  • Med City
  • Scottish Edge
  • Royal Society Edinburgh
  • Tech Nation
  • NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Set Squared Bristol
  • Set Squared Exeter
  • Set Squared Southampton
  • Set Squared Surrey

Switching into the Innovator route is allowed for applicants who have, or were last granted, leave as a:

  • Start-up migrant
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
  • Tier 2 migrant
  • Visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur

Documents not in English

All documents you provide with an application must be in English or Welsh. If they are not, you must provide a copy of the original and a full translation which has been independently verified.

The translation must:

  • confirm that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • be dated
  • include the full name and signature of the translator or an authorised official of
  • the translation company
  • include the translator or translation company’s contact details
  • be fully certified and include details of the translator or translation company’s credentials, if the applicant is applying in the UK

English language requirement 

You must have at least a B2 level of English language ability, as defined in the Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning.

You should satisfy the English language requirement by:

  • being a national of a majority English speaking country
  • passing an English language test
  • holding a degree which is: 
  • 1) a UK Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD
  • 2) awarded by an establishment outside of the UK and is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree or a PhD
  • 3) deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a PhD in the UK, and is from an educational establishment in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America

You can also meet the English language requirement, without the need to provide evidence, if they have ever been given permission to stay in the UK in one of the following categories:

  • Start up
  • Innovator
  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Post Study Work)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) under the rules in place before 13 December 2012
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • Tier 4 (General), supported by a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies assigned on or after 21 April 2011

Maintenance funds:

Level of funding

  • For entry clearance, you must show that you have at least £945 of available funds,
  • plus £630 funds for each dependant.
  • If you cannot, the application will be refused, even if you have met all the other requirements.

Verifying funding

  • To verify your funding, you must ensure:
  • you have personal savings (in line with the appropriate levels of funding required) held for a consecutive 90 day period (finishing on the date of the closing balance on the statement), ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application
  • the endorsing body confirms in the endorsement letter that it has awarded the appropriate amount of maintenance funding to the applicant
  • When the funds are in a currency other than pounds sterling, you must use the:
  • rates published on the OANDA website to convert the amount
  • exchange rate on the date of the application

Acceptable funds

  • Evidence must be in the form of cash funds held in an account (this includes savings accounts and current accounts, even when notice must be given).

Unacceptable funds

  • Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds, overdrafts, credit cards, pension funds, are not acceptable, regardless of notice period.
  • You must not consider any money earned during a time you were in breach of the UK immigration laws as evidence of maintenance funds. For example, you can only consider earnings made in the UK if the you had leave to enter or remain in the UK at the time they were earned, and in a category which permitted them to take that employment.

Multiple or joint accounts

  • If the money is in a joint account, your name must be on the account along with one or more other named individual.
  • If you supply evidence of multiple accounts (on which you are named), you can take the closing balance of the account that most favours you – as long as it ends no earlier than 31 days before the date of application – and use any other monies from any other accounts to make up the funds required.

Dependants

  • Any dependants must also provide evidence that they have access to sufficient funds, even if they are joining the applicant at a later date.
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2. What if you are starting a new business in the UK? ✅

Requirements

Innovator entry clearance or leave to remain requirements:

This page tells you what requirements you must meet in order to be granted entry clearance or leave to remain as an Innovator who has been endorsed for a new business.

An applicant is considered to be endorsed for a new business when either:

  • You are making an initial application for the Innovator route and you have not been previously endorsed in Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Startup visa routes for the same business
  • You are making an extension application where the business now being pursued is different from the one which you were endorsed for in your last grant of leave

An applicant endorsed for a new business may apply for entry clearance or leave to remain. It is possible to make an extension application from overseas if the applicant has previously held leave as an Innovator.

Before you apply, you must check that:

  • your application is valid
  • your passport or travel document is genuine
  • the general grounds for refusal do not apply

To be granted leave as an Innovator, a you must:

  • meet the general requirements in Appendix W, part W3
  • meet the specific Innovator requirements in Appendix W, part W6

Requirements of part W3: To be granted entry clearance or leave to remain as an Innovator, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the date of decision
  • not fail under the general grounds for refusal
  • meet the requirements for English language
  • meet the requirements for maintenance
  • not fail any reasonably required credibility assessment

Requirements of part W6 for new business endorsements: To be granted leave as an Innovator, you must also provide an endorsement letter and if applicable demonstrate that you have either invested or have available to invest £50,000 in your business.

Endorsement letter: The endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body must provide all of the following information:

  • the name of endorsing body
  • the endorsement reference number
  • the date of issue (which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application)
  • your name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  • a short description of your business venture and the products or services it provides (or will provide) to its customers
  • the name and contact details of an individual at the endorsing body who can verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office
  • your business venture is innovative, viable and scalable in accordance with the rules set out in part W6 of Appendix W
  • the endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that you will spend your entire working time in the UK on developing business ventures

Investment funds: If you are applying for an Innovator visa with a new business endorsement, you will need to demonstrate that you have either invested or have available at least £50,000 to invest in your new business.

The table below sets out how an applicant can demonstrate that you meet the funding requirements:

Requirements
Where the evidence shows that funds are available to your business rather than to you or that funds have already been invested in the business you must provide a company’s house document showing your connection to the business. This document is not needed if the endorsement letter confirms the applicant’s connection to the business.

When considering funds, you must:

  • not accept any funds held in a financial institution that is listed in Appendix P
  • for any evidence of funds not shown in pounds sterling (£) convert it using the spot exchange rate that appeared on the OANDA website on the date of application

Letter from a legal representative

Where a letter from a legal representative is supplied, which confirms the validity of signatures on each third-party declaration. This must confirm the letter or letters of permission from the third party or parties containing the signatures of the people stated. This can be a single letter, which covers all third party permissions, or several letters from several legal representatives.

The confirmation must come from a legal representative capable of providing the information. This means it must be from a legal representative who is allowed to practise in the country where the third parties or money is.

The letter should clearly show the:

  • name of the legal representative
  • registration or authority of the legal representative to practise legally in the country in which the permission or permissions, was, or were, given
  • date of the confirmation letter
  • names of the applicant and third party (and the team member’s name if you have formed an entrepreneurial team)
  • letter from the third party is signed and valid
  • number of the third party’s identity document, such as a passport or national identity card, and the place of issue of the identity document, and dates of issue and expiry (this is not needed from a venture capital firm, seed funding competition or UK government department or devolved government department in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)

Financial institutions: A financial institution acts as an agent to provide financial services for its clients. Common types of financial institutions include:

  • banks
  • building societies
  • credit unions
  • stock brokerages
  • asset management firms
  • They are responsible for transferring funds from investors to companies in need of those funds. Financial institutions fall under financial regulation from a government authority.

Financial regulation: Financial regulations are a form of control or supervision, subjecting financial institutions to:

  • local requirements
  • restrictions and guidelines
  • maintaining the integrity of the financial system
  • This is handled by either a government or non-government organisation. Under UK law, most financial service firms who want to do business in the UK must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and/or the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The home regulator

The home regulator is an official financial regulatory body, appropriate for the type of financial transaction required, in the country of operation where the transaction is made.

Money available for investment must be disposable in the UK

  • If the money is not held in the UK, all of the funds needed for the investment must be freely transferable to the UK and able to be converted to pounds sterling.
  • Money held in an overseas account but in a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will satisfy this requirement.
  • Money held overseas in an institution not regulated by the FCA must be transferrable to the UK. You must provide evidence to confirm this, such as a document from the financial institution. Banks are not, however, required to guarantee that this money will be transferred.
  • For overseas companies not registered with the FCA, you can check for information on:
  • Companies House list of overseas regulatory institutions under Worldwide registries
  • the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) general membership lists

If the funds are overseas and subject to any applicable financial sanctions regime, you must provide confirmation from HM Treasury that the funds are transferable and disposable in the UK.

Innovator teams

You do not need to be the sole founders of their businesses. Whilst multiple Innovators in the same company can receive endorsements each applicant must have been endorsed in their own right. For new business applications, each innovator applicant must also be able to demonstrate that they have their own unique £50,000 available to invest in the company.

For example, if two team members are being endorsed for the same business, there must be £100,000 funds, not £50,000.

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3. Innovator visas: what if you are relying on an existing business? ✅

Requirements

Entry clearance or leave to remain requirements:

This section tells you what requirements you must meet in order to be granted entry clearance or leave to remain as an Innovator who has been endorsed for a business that is the same as a business relied upon in a prior application.

A business should be considered under the same business endorsement application if both of the following apply:

  • your last grant of leave was in Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Start-up or Innovator categories
  • you are pursuing the same business venture that was assessed in the endorsement which led to that grant of leave

The same business requirement is always determined on the basis of the business being endorsed rather than the body making the endorsement.

An applicant endorsed for the same business may apply for entry clearance or leave to remain. It is possible to make the same business application from overseas if you have previously held leave as an Innovator or as a Start-up migrant.

Before you consider an application, you must check that:

  • the application is valid
  • your passport or travel document is genuine
  • general grounds for refusal do not apply

To be granted leave as an Innovator, you must:

  • meet the general requirements in Appendix W, part W3
  • meet the specific Innovator requirements in Appendix W, part W6

Requirements of part W3: 

To be granted entry clearance or leave to remain as an Innovator, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the date of decision
  • not fail under the general grounds for refusal
  • meet the requirements for English language
  • meet the requirements for maintenance
  • not fail any reasonably required credibility assessment

Same business endorsement requirements of Part W6:

You must provide an Endorsement letter for the same business application which must confirm:

  • the name of endorsing body
  • the endorsement reference number
  • the date of issue (which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application)
  • your name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  • a short description of your business venture and the products or services it provides (or will provide) to its customers
  • the name and contact details of an individual at the endorsing body who can verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office
  • you have shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement
  • your business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business
  • the business is active and trading
  • the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months based on its assets and expected income, weighted against its current and planned expenses
  • you have demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business
  • the endorsing body is reasonably satisfied that you will continue to spend your entire working time in the UK on developing business ventures
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4. Innovator visas: how to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the UK✅

Requirements

This section tells you what requirements you must meet in order to be granted settlement in the Innovator route.

Before you consider applying, you must check that:

  • the application is valid
  • your passport or travel document is genuine
  • general grounds for refusal do not apply

To be granted settlement as an Innovator, you must:

  • Meet the general requirements in Appendix W, part W4
  • Meet the specific Innovator settlement requirements in Appendix W, part W6

Requirements of part W4:

To be granted settlement as an Innovator, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the date of decision
  • the applicant’s last grant of leave must have been in the Innovator category
  • not fail under the general grounds for refusal
  • meet the requirements for English language set out in Appendix KOLL
  • not be in breach of any immigration laws
  • meets the continuous residence requirement

Continuous Residence:

  • For the settlement in the innovator category, you must have continually resided in the UK for at least 3 years immediately prior to application. In determining if you meet this requirement for continuous residency, you must be satisfied that you have not had combined absences from the UK in excess of 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period.
  • Where you have had excess absences due to your assisting in national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas the time spent providing this assistance will not be counted.
  • All other absences should be considered when assessing continuous residency however decision makers can exceptionally allow absences where you have provided evidence of compelling or compassionate circumstances for your excessive absence. Examples of where such a decision may be appropriate include:

✔ natural disasters

✔ life threatening illness of the applicant or close family member

Settlement endorsement requirements of Part W6: 

Where you are making an application for the settlement you must provide an endorsement letter which must confirm all of the following:

  • the name of endorsing body
  • the endorsement reference number
  • the date of issue (which must be no earlier than 3 months before the date of application)
  • your name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  • a short description of your business venture and the products or services it provides (or will provide) to its customers
  • the name and contact details of an individual at the endorsing body who can verify the contents of the letter to the Home Office
  • you have shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement
  • your business is registered with Companies House and the applicant is listed as a director or member of that business
  • the business is active and trading
  • the business appears to be sustainable for at least the following 12 months based on its assets and expected income, weighted against its current and planned expenses
  • you have demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business
  • your business venture meets at least two of the settlement success criteria

Settlement success criteria

Endorsing bodies must also confirm in their endorsement letter that an applicant has achieved at least 2 of the following:

  • at least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement
  • the number of the business’s customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services
  • the business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  • the business has generated a minimum annual revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts
  • the business is generating a minimum annual revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas
  • the business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
  • the business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses)

Innovator teams: You do not need to be the sole founders of their businesses. Whilst multiple Innovators in the same company can receive endorsements each applicant must have been endorsed for achievements in their own right. Where there are multiple Innovators endorsed via the same company the settlement criteria relied upon must have been multiplied by the number of Innovators associated with the business. This can be achieved by either:

Applicants each using different success criteria (4 met in total). Example:

The applicants can demonstrate that they have:

  • created 10 jobs for resident workers
  • at least £50,000 has been invested in the business
  • the business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1million in
  • the last full year covered by its accounts
  • the business has engaged in significant research and development and has
  • applied for intellectual property protection in the UK

Applicants doubling the minimum requirement to reach 2 individual success criteria.

Example: The applicants can demonstrate that they have:

  • created 20 jobs for resident workers
  • invested at least £100,000 in the business

3 success criteria met and one doubled.

Example: The applicants can demonstrate that they have:

  • at least £50,000 has been invested in the business
  • the business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1million in
  • the last full year covered by its accounts
  • the business has engaged in significant research and development and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK
  • created 20 jobs for resident workers
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5. Evidence of maintenance: ✅

Proof of Maintenance

This section tells you what evidence you must provide as proof of maintenance to support an initial or extension application for the Innovator visa.

You must provide evidence of personal savings, which cover a period of 90 consecutive days, and no more than one calendar month before submitting the application.

The documents must:

  • be on the organisation’s official letter-headed paper or stationery
  • have the organisation’s official stamp
  • have been issued by an authorised official of that organisation

Evidence must be in the form of cash funds. You must not:

  • include any overdraft facilities
  • accept other accounts or financial instruments (such as shares, bonds and pension funds), regardless of notice

You must provide one of the following:

  • personal bank or building society statements covering 90 consecutive days – the most recent statement must be dated no earlier than one calendar month before the date of the application
  • building society pass book covering the previous 90 day period
  • a letter from the bank confirming your funds and that they have been in the bank for at least 90 days
  • a letter from a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or, in the case of an overseas account, the home regulator (official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located), confirming funds

The information must clearly show: 

  • your name
  • the account number
  • the date of the statement
  • the financial institution’s name and logo
  • transactions covering the 90 day period
  • there are sufficient funds present in the account (the balance must always be at
  • least £3,310 or £945, as appropriate)

As evidence the following are acceptable:

  • other bank statements printed on the bank’s letterhead
  • electronic bank statements from an account, if they contain all of the details listed above and:
  • you provide a supporting letter from the bank, on company headed paper, confirming the statements provided are authentic
  • the electronic bank statement has the official bank stamp on every page

The following are not accepted:

  • mini-statements from automatic teller machines
  • statements which simply show the balance in the account on a particular day
  • These are not acceptable as they do not demonstrate you hold sufficient funds for the full period required.
  • You must not consider any money earned when you were in breach of the UK’s immigration laws as evidence of maintenance funds.
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6. Dependants: ✅

Requirements

Under paragraphs 319A to 319K of the Immigration Rules, the following dependants are allowed to come to the UK to join a person granted entry clearance or leave to remain as an Innovator in this category, provided they meet the requirements of the rules:

  • spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner
  • dependent children
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List of endorsing bodies for start up visa and innovator visas

endorsing bodies

1. START UP ENDORSING BODIES✅

Which bodies can endorse you

Here is a list of all the authorised endorsing bodies that can issue endorsements for start-up and innovator visas. An organisation can only issue an endorsement if it is on this list.

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2. INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS WHICH CAN ENDORSE YOU ✅

... for your start up visa or innovator visa
  • The Bakery
  •  Seed Camp
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Zinc
  • Deep Science Ventures
  • Wayra
  • Ignite
  • Bethnal Green Ventures
  • Codebase
  • Capital Enterprise
  • Cylon
  • Tech X
  • Seed Haus’
  • Med City
  • Scottish Edge
  • Royal Society Edinburgh
  • Tech Nation
  • NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Set Squared Bristol
  • Set Squared Exeter
  • Set Squared Southampton
  • Set Squared Surrey
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3. UNIVERSITIES WHICH CAN                        ENDORSE YOU ✅

... for a start up visa
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University Limited
  • Brunel University London
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Cardiff University
  • City, University of London
  • Contemporary Dance Trust
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Falmouth University
  • Florida State University International Programs Association UK
  • Girne American University Canterbury
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • Guildhall School of Music & Drama
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Imperial College London
  • Keele University
  • King’s College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Arts University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • London South Bank University
  • Loughborough University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Northern School of Contemporary Dance
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Ravensbourne University London
  • Regent’s University London
  • Roehampton University
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • Royal College of Art
  • Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Solent University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • The Robert Gordon University
  • The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • The University of Buckingham
  • The University of Cambridge
  • The University of Northampton
  • The University of Salford
  • The University Of Sheffield
  • The University of West London
  • University College London
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Durham
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire Higher Education Corporation
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Northumbria at Newcastle
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Ulster
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David – Carmarthen Campus
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of York
  • York St John University
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