The UK Tier 1 investor visa is closed to new applicants. However, the route remains open for extensions from those who already have a valid Tier 1 investor visa.
Existing Tier 1 Investor visa holders have until 5th April 2025 to apply for UK settlement under this route.
This article predates the closure of the Tier 1 investor visa.
What is the Tier 1 investor visa?
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.
Following the end of the Brexit transition period, EU citizens coming to the UK after 1 January 2021 must secure the relevant permission to work, study or live here.