Innovator Founder Visa Endorsing Bodies

If you're an innovator or an entrepreneur looking to tap into the vibrant UK business ecosystem, then you're at the right place. Here, we break down everything you need to know about endorsing bodies, their roles, and how you need to use them for your visa or business ambitions.

Please note that as of April 23rd, 2023, you can no longer apply for a Start-up visa.

What are Endorsing Bodies?

In simple terms, endorsing bodies are organisations that are authorised by the government to vouch for, or 'endorse', individuals and companies for specific business visas or licenses. These endorsements are necessary prerequisites for Innovator Founder Visas. Each Endorsing Body has its own criteria for selecting applicants. 

Business Endorsing Bodies

The following organisations can issue endorsements for Innovator Founder Visas:

  • UK Endorsing Services -
  • Innovator International -
  • Envestors Limited -
  • The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP) - This programme can only endorse applicants who have already received an invitation to join. The UK government's Global Entrepreneur Programme offers mentorship and business support to founders outside the UK, assisting them in establishing and scaling their businesses from a UK global headquarters.

What is the Endorsement Letter

An endorsement letter is a crucial document required when applying for an Innovator Founder visa. It is provided by an endorsing organization and must contain specific details, including the endorsing body's name, reference number, issuance date (no older than 3 months from the application date), applicant's personal information, and contact information for an endorsing body representative.

It's important to note that the endorsement letter will not be accepted by the Home Office if it's used more than 3 months after its issuance, if it's withdrawn by the endorsing body, or if the endorsing body loses its status as an endorsing organization during the decision-making process.

Furthermore, the endorsement letter must confirm that the applicant meets the specific criteria for either the 'new business' or 'same business' category under the Innovator Founder route. It must also verify that the applicant is a fit and proper person to receive endorsement, and there are no concerns regarding the legitimacy of the applicant's funding sources or how the funds were transferred to the endorsed business. Additionally, the letter should state that there are no reasons to suspect that the applicant or their endorsed business is involved in illicit or unexplained wealth.

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