skip to main content
Speak to a UK Visa Specialist Lawyer >

UK visa options for people looking to move to the UK

A detailed overview of some of the main types of UK visa options and the application requirements that come with each.

Written on 1 February 2023

The UK has a variety of visa options for people looking to move to the UK, so whether you’re moving for study, short stays, business or permanent relocation, it is important to know and understand which UK visa is most suitable for you.

Being issued a visa means that you are eligible to enter the UK whilst meeting the specific requirements for that particular type of visa.

Below is a short overview looking at some of the main UK visa options and the requirements of each option.

Information within this article must not be taken as legal advice and should provide only a better understanding of what the process may or may not entail. If you are planning to relocate to the UK and unsure which visa option is best for you, request a free introduction to one of our trusted UK Visa partners. Once connected, you will receive a free initial consultation during which your options can be explored.

The UK Innovator Visa

The UK Innovator Visa was specifically created for people looking to move to the UK who either own an established business or have a carefully created business plan for a new business.

You will be required to set up and run a UK business once you have been approved for the visa.

It initially allows you to stay within the UK for 3 years, however this can have the possibility of extension if applied for once the visa has expired. Despite the ability to have extension granted, after being in the UK for 5 years or more you may prefer to apply for British nationality.

While on an Innovator Visa in the UK, you will not be eligible for any income support, benefits or tax credits of any kind.

This visa option is for individuals that wish to run one or multiple businesses within the UK, that do not have any interest in working for anywhere else or taking on any type of work outside of their own owned businesses.

While on this visa you are prohibited from training for any other profession and from being employed elsewhere.

The basic core requirements for this type of visa are summarised as follows:

  • Have an existing business or a well-structured business plan with the intention of creating a UK business – both of which will need to be officially endorsed
  • Have a minimum of £50,000 of capital to invest in your business
  • Can prove you can support yourself when living in the UK
  • Have a bank account with a minimum of £1,270 for 28 consecutive days before applying for your visa (this must be separate from the investment fund)
  • Are willing to run the UK business
  • Are over 18 years of age and can speak English

Some of the additional documentation you will need in support of being granted a UK innovator visa will include but is not limited to;

  • Current passport (with a blank page) or other valid travel identification
  • Bank statement showing you have had at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 or more consecutive days
  • Proof of £50,000 capital or investment funds
  • Passing language and medical tests, if required

For more information about the UK Innovator Visa, please read our detailed overview or request an introduction to one of our trusted partners.

UK Spouse Visa or UK Partner/Marriage Visa

The UK Spouse Visa (also commonly known as the UK Partner or UK Marriage Visa) enables individuals who are non-UK nationals to be able to join their partner or spouse within the UK, on the basis that that their partner is a British citizen or holds a UK visa themselves.

This visa can allow you to stay within the UK with your UK settled partner for up to a maximum of 30 months and is commonly the first step to gaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The Spouse visa is valid for 2.5 years once it has been approved, with the possibility of extension for a further 2.5 years.

The core requirements for a successful application for a UK Spouse Visa can be summarised as follows:

  • Passing the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’ (a series of criteria to prove you are in a genuine relationship)
  • Meeting financial and minimum income requirements
  • Proving you have sufficient knowledge of the English language
  • Being able to prove suitable accommodation in the UK on your arrival
  • Taking a medical test to prove you do not have Tuberculosis
  • Provide required biometric information

Addition documentation that will need to be provided to the UK Home Office will include;

  • Your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
  • A valid passport
  • Evidence that you have lived with your partner for 2 or more years
  • Proof of your accommodation when you arrive
  • Evidence of you and your partner’s income and financial situation
  • Proof that your partner is either a UK Citizen (birth certificate) or a UK settled citizen (their UK passport or visa)

For more information about the UK Spouse Visa, please read our detailed overview or request an introduction to one of our trusted partners.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

The UK Expansion Visa is specifically designed for overseas workers of an established non-UK company to establish work in the UK as part of that company’s expansion into the UK.

It enables companies to set up a UK operation, and providing one of the workers is a UK based director, up to four additional expansion workers can join within the same company.

However, if the UK company does not have a UK based director, only one expansion worker can join the UK company.

This type of visa lasts for 12 months, but can be renewed and extended for additional periods of 12 months (as long as eligibility criteria are still being met).

Another benefit of the Expansion Visa is that a successful applicant will be able to bring a spouse or partner with them to the UK, along with any children they may have.

Measurement of eligibility

Due to the expansion worker visa being a points-based visa, eligibility for a successful applicant requires the individual to be awarded a total of 60 points.

The 60 points is earned through three key areas (sponsorship, skills, and salary), each is worth 20 points. As a guide, to be eligible the following conditions will need to be met by both the employer and the employee:

  • Sponsor: The applicant will be required to have a signed Certificate of Sponsorship, which will be sponsored by the overseas employer/company. The company has to have been in operation for three or more consecutive years before the employee arrives in the UK.
  • Skill: The applicant will have to be a skilled/specialist worker for the company – or occupying a senior position within the company. This means that the applicant must be employed as one of the eligible occupations as determined by the UK Home Office as determined by the UK Government Website
  • Salary: If the applicant earns between £42,400 and £73,900, they will have to have been employed by the company for a minimum of 12 months before arriving in the UK.
  • Salary: If you earn over £73,900, the requirement to have been employed for over 12 months prior to relocating to the UK is removed.

For more information about the UK Expansion Worker Visa, please read our detailed overview or request an introduction to one of our trusted partners.

Other visa options and getting assistance with a UK visa application

The above overview provides an overview of some primary UK visas available to move to the UK. In addition, there are additional visas for students and workers, as well as temporary visas for people not permanently relocating.

If you are considering moving to the UK, or you have already begun your relocation, ensure you know which Visa is right for you by speaking to a trusted UK visa expert.

Experts for Expats provides a free introduction service which will connect you with one of a UK Visa specialist lawyer from our network who that has the required qualifications and experience to assist people with their UK Visa situation, whether making a new application or extending an existing Visa.

As part of your free introduction, you will be offered a free initial consultation during which you will receive general guidance and have some simple questions answered. If there are Visa options available to you, you will be provided with an overview of the services of our partner as well as a detailed breakdown of the application process and fees for proceeding.

At no time are you are under obligation to proceed with paid advice and assistance, but by requesting an introduction you will get clarification of your options.