Changing your business plan on the innovator & start-up visas

Can you change your business idea, or business plan, after you have been endorsed? The answer is: yes, and I have had clients who have done this successfully. What you need to do though depends on whether you are changing it completely, and doing a new business, or whether you are simply amending your business plan and continuing to do the same business.

So if you have a start-up or innovator visa and you want to change the business idea completely, and do a new business, then:

  • Providing your new business plan is innovative, viable and scalable in the view of the endorsing body, you would not need to get a new endorsement letter, or submit a new visa application at this stage. The new business plan would not need to be sent to the Home Office. However, it would need to be notified to the Home Office. It would be notified at the next stage of your visa, i.e. when either extending the innovator visa (if you are on the innovator visa now), or switching into the innovator category from the start-up visa. The Endorsing Body Letter Template now includes a section where your endorsing body can provide details regarding the change in business from the applicant. It confirms that its been discussed between you and them, and that they are happy to continue endorsing you. So let’s have a look at the template. It is the innovator ‘same business’ template (this is a little confusing, as this will be a new venture, different from the one which was endorsed, but nevertheless). It says:

    The applicant, during their previous period of leave and with permission and agreement from [Name of Endorsing Body], has changed business venture and continued to develop this new business.

  • When it comes to settlement, you would ask the endorsing body to confirm (if it is the case) that you have shown significant achievements, judged against the business plan last agreed upon with them, i.e the new business plan.

What about if you just want to amend your business plan, but want to continue with the same business.

  • No fresh endorsement is needed, and the amended business plan does not need to be sent to the Home Office. However, the fact of the amendment should be recorded on the endorsement letter at the next application stage.

  • If you do this, then the endorsing body is permitted to then judge your progress against the amended business plan (i.e. even though it was amended after you were endorsed).

Needless to say, I’d be happy to speak with you if you are in this situation. Feel free to get in contact with me using the details below.