There are three visa programmes available for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the UK: the Start-up visa, the Innovator visa and the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa.
The Start-up visa is for new entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time. You do not need to have any professional working experience, but you do need to have (or be in the process of developing) the knowledge and skills necessary to run your business. Applicants for the Start-up visa do not need to demonstrate any investment funds.
The Innovator visa is for individuals who are experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants can have started a business in the UK before, and the business can have already been established, but it should not have yet started trading. Applicants for the Innovator visa need to demonstrate that they have at least £50,000 available to invest (or already invested) in their business.
The Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa category (known as the ‘Sole Representative visa’ is for businesses that wish to send a senior employee to the UK in order to establish a commercial presence for the company in the UK. The business must not have already established a branch or presence in the UK, and the applicant must be an existing senior employee of the business.