Exploring Business Visa Options for the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man, nestled in the Irish Sea, offers a promising landscape for entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their business ventures. The island has two distinctive business visa options: the Innovator Visa and the Start-Up Visa. These visas are designed to attract and support innovative business ideas and entrepreneurs, each with its own set of requirements and opportunities. In this article, we'll provide a brief overview of these two visa options and highlight the key differences between them.

Innovator Visa vs. Start-Up Visa

Innovator Visa


The Innovator Visa is ideal for individuals with a solid business plan who aspire to set
up or manage a business in the Isle of Man. This visa offers a path for entrepreneurs to bring their innovative ideas to life.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Desire to establish a business in the Isle of Man.Innovator Visa
  • Meeting all specified eligibility requirements.
  • Endorsement from the Department for Enterprise of the Isle of Man Government.
  • Requirement to employ 3 people.

Investment Requirements:

  • A minimum of £50,000 in investment funds if establishing a new business.
  • No additional funds required if the business is already established and endorsed.

Duration of Stay:

  • A 3-year visa. 
  • The possibility of applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after 3 years of residence.
  • This pathway represents the quickest route to citizenship.

Permitted Activities:

  • Setting up one or more businesses.
  • Working for your business, including directorship or self-employment in a business partnership.
  • Bringing family members with you.

Restricted Activities:

  • Prohibition on working outside your business.
  • Ineligibility for work as a doctor or dentist in training.
  • Cannot work as a professional sportsperson.
  • Inability to access public funds.

Start-Up Visa


The Start-Up Visa is aimed at those who aspire to establish a business in the Isle of Man. It's a pathway for budding entrepreneurs with innovative business concepts.

Eligibility Criteria:

start up visa

  • Intent to establish a business in the Isle of Man.
  • Meeting specific eligibility criteria.

Endorsement Process:

  • Endorsement from the Department for Enterprise is mandatory.

Investment Requirements:

  • No specific investment fund requirements.

Duration of Stay:

  • A 2-year and 4-month visa with no extension option.
  • After this initial period you will then be eligible to apply for an innovator visa, without the need to invest the minimum of £50,000.

Permitted Activities:

  • Bringing family members.
  • Switching from certain other visa categories.
  • Ability to work in other jobs, in addition to business ownership.

Restricted Activities:

  •  Prohibition on accessing public funds.
  •  Ineligibility to work as a doctor or dentist in training.
  •  Cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

Key Differences and Considerations

1. Investment Requirements:

  • Innovator Visa: Requires a minimum investment of £50,000 for new businesses.
  • Start-Up Visa: No specific investment fund requirements, making it more accessible for entrepreneurs with varying capital.

2. Duration of Stay:

  • Innovator Visa: A 3-year visa then application for indefinite leave to remain. The quickest route to citizenship.
  • Start-Up Visa: A shorter initial duration of 2 years and 4 months, with no extension option. Followed by an application for the innovator visa.


3. Permitted Activities:

  • Both visas allow for business establishment and bringing family members. Note the requirement for employing 3 individuals under the innovator visa. 
  • The Innovator Visa offers a broader scope for working within and outside your business.

4. Settlement Option:

  • Innovator Visa: Offers a pathway to settlement after 3 years.
  • Start-Up Visa: Does not provide a settlement option.


Choosing between the Innovator Visa and the Start-Up Visa for the Isle of Man depends on your unique business plans, financial capacity, and long-term goals. The Innovator Visa offers a more extended stay and a potential path to settlement, making it suitable for entrepreneurs with substantial investment capital. In contrast, the Start-Up Visa offers flexibility in investment requirements but comes with a shorter stay duration. Careful consideration of your business vision and personal circumstances is essential when deciding which path to embark upon for your entrepreneurial journey in the Isle of Man.

Immigration requirements are subject to constant change so the above information should be used as a guideline. Please schedule a complimentary consultation with us for accurate up to date information and to access your eligibility.