The Tier 1 Investor visa is a route for high-net-worth individuals with access to at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK and is only applicable for applicants from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
The initial visa is granted for 3 years and 4 months (3 years if processed in the UK). After this time, applicants can apply for a 2-year extension provided they meet the eligibility criteria. If an applicant has spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK, they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Accelerated routes to settlement can be sought after 3 years if investments total £5 million, or 2 years if investments total £10 million. Knowledge of the English language is not a requirement for the initial visa but is required for subsequent ILR applications.
Investment has to be inactive and trading UK registered companies, by way of share capital or loan capital.
Tier 1 (Investor) routes to settlement are dependent on investments made:
|£2 M||£5 M||£10 M|
|ILR after 5 years||ILR after 3 years||ILR after 2 years|
|Citizenship after 6 years||Citizenship after 5 years||Citizenship after 5 years|
Entry clearance applications
There are certain requirements to be met when applying as a Tier 1 Investor. Applicants have to meet the following criteria:
- Provide evidence of holding at least £2,000,000 in investable funds.
The funds should be available to be transferred to and invested in the UK.
- Have opened a UK investment account at an FCA-regulated institution.
- Meet good character requirements and have a clean criminal records statement.
Key benefits when applying as a Tier 1 Investor:
- Fast visa processing and straightforward visa requirements.
- There are no English language requirements or language tests in the initial application.
- There is no individual maintenance requirement.
- Investor’s Immediate family members, spouses, and children under 18 are also eligible to enter the UK.
- Applicants are permitted (but not obliged) to work, study or engage in business activities in the UK.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa extensions
Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders can extend their stay in the UK if the following conditions are met:
- Evidence must be submitted to prove that the applicant’s first entry to the country was within 30 days of the date the clearance was granted.
- Evidence must be provided that all associated adults (for example spouses etc.) were registered with the Overseas Visitors Records Office within 7 days of arrival in the UK.
- Applicants must provide proof that they have not acquired public funds of any kind.
- Applicants must include any dependents on their current visa in the extension application, including children who turned 18 during the initial visa period.
- The minimum threshold for investment funds is £2,000,000 which must be under the Applicant’s control in the UK.
- There have been changes announced for those who entered the category before November 2014.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications
If an Applicant has spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK, they can apply for ILR. Accelerated routes to settlement can be sought after just 3 years if your investments total £5M, or just 2 years if total investments total £10M.
Applicants are required to meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any 12-month period.
- Applicants must have passed the Life in the UK Test.
- Applicants must meet the English Language requirement, which can be done by passing a language test in conformance with B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There are certain set exemptions to meeting the English Language requirement.
Residency Requirements and Time Spent Outside the UK:
- If applicants do not intend to settle in the UK then no residency requirements are set, and they may extend their visa for 2 years after the initial clearance has expired.
- Those wishing to apply for permanent residency (ILR) are not permitted to spend more than 180 days outside the UK, in any rolling 12-month period.
- For UK citizenship, applicants must not have spent more than 450 days outside of the UK in the 5-year period, and no more than 90 days during the 12 months prior to application.
- The earliest that applicants can submit visa requests is 3 months prior to travel to the UK.
- Applicants can pay for a Priority Service to receive a decision within 5 working days.
- Non-priority processing times for entry clearance applications are approximately 3 weeks if submitted from the country of residence, or approximately 8-12 weeks for those switching their visa and currently residing in the UK.
UK Residency & Citizenship via Tier 1 (Investor) visa