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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

British citizenship by investment

The United Kingdom started offering an immigration route for foreign investors in 1994. In 2008, they introduced a new points-based system that established Tier 1 Investor and Tier 1 Entrepreneur routes. In 2014, the UK saw record numbers of investor applicants.

On 29 March 2019, the Entrepreneur visa was stopped altogether, while the Investor visa underwent some changes. New routes have been introduced, including the Innovator visa.

Immigration rules for non-EEA citizens planning to come to the UK under these visas have been changing over the years, increasing some requirements and slackening others. Investor and Innovator routes lead to settlement (permanent residence) and eventually to citizenship by naturalisation. Let’s see what to do to get a British passport.

Differences between Investor and Innovator visas

Though at a first glance an investor visa looks more appealing and easier to get, it might not be what you are looking for and the required investment is significantly higher.

  • Investors can work, study or literally do anything while in the country. Innovators, however, can only work in the company in which they’ve invested.
  • Investors don’t need to meet English language requirement.
  • Investors can settle already in 2 years.
  • Investors have full control over their invested funds and might be able to recover them.

Benefits of investing in the UK

Great Britain is a well-advanced economy and high-income country. It offers the following advantages to foreign investors and businessmen:

  • Passport in 5-6 years
  • Citizenship for the whole family for life
  • Full confidentiality
  • Visa-free access to 164 countries
  • High quality of life
  • Top standards of education and healthcare
  • Transparent legal system
  • Vast business opportunities
  • Easy to set up and run a company
  • Least barriers to entrepreneurship
  • Highly skilled and productive workforce
  • Tax benefits for non-domiciled individuals
  • Simple taxation for small businesses
  • Profitable tourism sector
  • Developed transport network

Eligibility and requirements

Apart from a required investment, the main applicant and dependants must also comply with the following criteria:

  • Minimum age for the main applicant is 18.
  • Dependants include spouses and minor children.
  • Good health and no contagious diseases.
  • Clean criminal and immigration record.

Investment options

Two routes are available leading to UK citizenship by investment.

1. Tier 1 Investor

To qualify for settlement and citizenship, one of the following amounts must be invested in the capital of UK-based companies, irrespective of the number of dependants:

  • £2,000,000 to settle in 5 years
  • £5,000,000 to settle in 3 years
  • £10,000,000 to settle in 2 years

The funds must be held in your bank account for two years or your can prove the availability by showing the source of funds. UK financial institutions, where an investment account is open, are required to conduct thorough due diligence checks on all investors and state that in their letter.

Additional fees and charges must be paid.

You can apply from within the UK, when switching from another allowed category, or outside the country. Initial visa is granted for 3 years four months subject to extension.

2. Innovator

To get visa of this category, you have to have access to £50,000, get your business idea endorsed, set up a business in the UK, become director there and run it till you can apply for settlement.

You must be endorsed by an approved body that would acknowledge that your idea is viable, innovative and scalable. If your endorsement becomes invalid, you can re-apply.

You can apply alone or with a partner. If it is a team, each innovator must contribute £50,000.

Other fees and charges apply.

Applications can be made both in and outside the United Kingdom. First visa is given for 3 years four months subject to an unlimited number of extensions.

You can apply for settlement in 5 years and a British passport in 6 years.

Applying for British passport

You and your dependants can make naturalisation applications within the following timeframes:

  • 5 years if settled under the accelerated procedure
  • 6 years if settled 5 years after first entry to the UK

Requirements

Apart from complying with the English language criteria and passing the Life in the UK test, you must:

  • Have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years prior to applying for naturalisation, and no more than 90 days in the last 12 months;
  • Have not broken any criminal or immigration laws.

Your 5 steps to becoming UK citizen

Settle in as little as two years and get naturalised in five.

Step 1: Book an appointment with our specialists and sign a client agreement.

Step 2: Apply for Investor or Innovator visa.

Step 3: Extend your visa or apply for settlement.

Step 4: Apply for citizenship.

Step 5: Get your British passport.

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