Tier 1 Investor Visa

How to qualify for UK residence through investment.

Tier 1 Investor Visa

While the UK immigration rules have become stricter in recent years, the Tier 1 investor visa remains one of the best routes for wealthy individuals.

The Tier 1 Investor Visa is the UK’s version of a golden visa scheme. It allows individuals who make a qualifying investment of at least £2million to attain UK residency and fast-tracked British settlement and citizenship.

Tier 1 Investor Visa requirements

UK investment visa requirements are strict but they are also clear.

The applicant has to provide evidence that they have funds of at least £2 million that are their own, available to invest and under their control within a regulated financial institution.

The investment of at least £2 million has to be made within three months of entering the category. Qualifying investments include UK share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies not principally engaged in property investment. Investment in government bonds and offshore companies is not permitted.

Applicants will also need to show they intend to make the UK their main home.

Some nationals including Chinese, Nigerian, Russian, among others are required to undertake a TB test before submitting their application.

The route does offer some applicatioon concessions compared with other UK visa routes. Tier 1 investor applications are exempt from the English language requirement and investor visa holders are subject to relaxed rules on permissible activities, with visa holders able to choose to work or to study while in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor applications are also typically processed faster than other G8 investment visa schemes.

Residence & settlement in the UK 

Tier 1 Investor visas are granted for an initial period of three years and four months if applying from overseas, or three years if applying from within the UK.

Before the current visa expires, the investor must apply for an extension of their visa. A two-year extension is available if the investor has maintained the investment and adhered to the other general conditions of their visa.

Fast-tracked settlement is open to visa holders (though not their dependants) where they have made an increased investment. An investment of £10 million or more will allow the investor to apply for UK indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after two years, and an investment of £5 million or more will provide for settlement after three years, instead of the usual five years.

To be eligible for ILR, investor visa holders and their spouses are not permitted to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days per year.

Visas for family members

The main applicant’s spouse and children under the age of 18 years can apply as dependents.

The UK investor visa does not provide for dependent parents, who would be required to consider alternative immigration options.

Dependents (spouse and children) can only apply for ILR  after living in the UK for five years.

Children who originally applied as the main applicant’s dependents will only be granted ILR if both parents are eligible for ILR.

EU citizens

During the Brexit transition period, EU citizens have the right to come to the UK to work and live without needing a visa.

The rules will change on 1 January 2021. After this date, EU citizens coming to the UK will need to apply to the Home Office for leave to enter and remain. The Tier 1 investor visa may be an option for EU national investors who are looking to obtain UK residency or citizenship, and who want the flexibility offered by the route.

EU citizens already in the UK at the end of the transition period will have until 30 June 2021 to register under the EU settlement scheme to retain their lawful immigration status, and their right to live and work, in the UK.

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