International Talent

The Baltic Ventures Accelerator programme is based in Liverpool, but is open to companies worldwide, as we understand that amazing talent has no location limits or boundaries. This will mean that international founders may have to apply for a visa to join our programme.

The visa landscape can be complex to navigate, and the below summarises information on current visa routes and options.

For tailored advice on your specific circumstances and further guidance we suggest you consult with a qualified legal representative.

The Visa Process

Research and identify a suitable route

There are numerous visa routes available for tech founders looking to move to the UK and grow their business here. Each route has different eligibility criteria and assessment standards, so it is important you fully research these and seek legal guidance where appropriate to assess your individual circumstances and identify the best route. Below we have listed some further information on the two routes most likely to be applicable for founders applying to our program, the Innovator-founder visa and Global Talent Visa.

Apply for an endorsement

An Endorsing body is an organisation which has been approved by the Home Office to endorse applicants in the relevant visa category. They assess visa applications against Home Office criteria and if the criteria is met, provide an endorsement letter and approval for individuals to progress their visa application to the Home Office. The endorsing body that you apply to and the respective endorsement application fee depends on the visa route chosen. On submission of your endorsement application you will have to pay the application fee and provide supporting evidence. Some endorsement bodies will also require you to schedule a subsequent interview call. The endorsing process should take a maximum of 6 weeks.

Visa application

Once endorsement is received you can make your visa application online through You will again be required to supply supporting documentation at this stage which will include your endorsement letter. You will also have to pay the visa application fee and any other relevant fees such as the Immigration health surcharge fee and UKVCAS fee on application. Visa processing times vary, however decisions are usually communicated within 8-12 weeks of submission.

Innovator-Founder Visa

Introduced in 2023, this route is for start-up entrepreneurs and experienced business people seeking to establish their business in the UK. In addition to their endorsement applicants must be able to demonstrate that their business is new, innovative, scalable and viable with a business plan to support this. 

New – you cannot join a business that is already trading

Innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market

Viable – your business plan must be realistic and achievable and you must have, or be developing the skills and knowledge to support this plan and business growth

Scalable – you must give evidence of structured planning that includes potential for job creation and market expansion on a national and international level

Innovator-Founder applicants do not need to show that they have a specific amount of funding available to invest in their proposed business. However in practice funding is key to setting up and growing a business, so it is essential that in your business plan you show how your business is to be funded and confirm that you do have appropriate funds to support your activities and growth.

If you have a co – founder or founding team you will each have to go through the process separately, submitting the same business supporting documentation. 

You will need to meet with your endorsing body every 12 months to review your business progress. If you are not making sufficient progress your endorsement may be revoked and your visa cut short.  

The innovator-founder visa is granted for 3 years and counts towards Indefinite Leave to Remain. therefore at the end of the 3 years, if you meet the other eligibility requirements, you may be able to apply for settlement in the UK. 

Official guidance on the Innovator-Founder visa can be found here

A list of innovator-founder endorsing bodies can be found here

Global Talent Visa

Introduced in 2020, the global talent visa aims to attract talented and promising individuals to work in the UK across the following fields:

1. Academia or Research

2. Arts and Culture

3. Digital Technology

Applicants must be endorsed by one of 6 endorsing bodies. Endorsing bodies follow their own endorsement criteria, however when assessing applicants there are two main criteria routes within this visa:

Exceptional talent – individuals who have already made a significant contribution in their field

Exceptional promise – individuals who show potential, in the future to make a significant contribution to their field as a leader. 

Please note you can apply for this visa without an endorsement if you have received an eligible prize. The Home Office’s eligible prize lists are located here

This route is flexible and during application the applicant can decide how much leave they want to apply for, between 1-5 years in full year increments. You can also extend your visa at a later date up to a maximum of 5 years. 

The Global Talent Visa counts towards Indefinite Leave to Remain. Therefore if the other eligibility requirements are met, you may be able to apply for settlement after: 3 years if you are on the exceptional talent route or after 5 years if you are on the exceptional promise route. 

Official guidance on the Global Talent Visa visa can be found here

A list of Global Talent Visa endorsing bodies can be found here

Supporting Documentation


Business plan

Pitch deck

Business financial forecasts

Evidence of funds (if applicable)

Endorsing letter - no more than 3 months old

Proof of english language to at least CEFR level B2

TB test certificate (if applicable)

Supporting documents vary depending on the visa route however generally you should have the above prepared. The global talent visa also requires a further number of supporting documents including reference letters to be submitted during the endorsement process.

Associated costs example* (Innovator-founder visa application from outside the UK)


Endorsement application


Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) per year of visa


Visa Application fee (UKVI)


Visa processing appointment fee

Based on this example the total cost of an Innovator-Founder visa for 3 years would be £5,663.

*This is an example and is to be used for illustrative purposes only, prices vary according to individual circumstances. Full official guidance on Visa fees can be found on