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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

Need to extend your Investor visa? Our tips on how to minimise risk of refusal

PUBLISHED: 5 August 2019

Investor visa is not a cheap one as you know. You invest a lot of money, but it does not guarantee you an automatic extension, permanent residence and citizenship. There is still some effort required from your part. And you have to take it seriously because any mistake can cost you your visa and an opportunity to become British. Here we will share some tips on how to extend an investor visa and stay in the UK.

Benefits of the investor visa

Many of us know or have heard that an investor visa is one of the easiest routes to come to the UK, with no tough rules. There are no English language or work experience requirements. In order to get a Tier 1 Investor visa, a foreign investor, however, is asked to invest at least £2,000,000 in a UK registered company or government bonds (the latter applies to earlier applications) for the period of up to 5 years. It is not an amount you would spend every day shopping, but it does open a world of opportunities for you and your family, provided you can spare it. You and your dependants can open a business, get a job, study, become globe trotters, do whatever your heart desires – all this on one visa, all this without proving you can maintain yourself. It sounds very easy to get a UK investor visa, but it is not always as easy to extend it and get permanent residence. There are certain rules and regulations, and if you don’t comply you will have to pay for it.

The bigger the investment, the faster is settlement

Let´s do it step by step. You will be surprised but you need to ask yourself a question, Do I need to extend my investor visa? Initial visa is granted for 3 years 4 months and can be extended for another 2 years. However, if you have invested £10,000,000 you can apply for permanent residence, or ILR, in 2 years. £5,000,000 means you can settle in the UK in 3 years after first entry. Basically, only £2M investors need to extend their visa as they can apply for indefinite leave to remain in 5 years.

Speaking about settlement now, you need to remember that no matter when you apply for a long-desired status, you must follow a certain procedure and meet all the requirements of the UK immigration laws. For example, you must not spend more than 180 days outside the UK during any 12-month period, if you were granted a visa after 01 January 2018, or more than 180 days in each year for earlier applicants. However, if you plan to apply for a British passport later, the number of days you can be absent from the country is reduced to 90 days. Besides, to apply for ILR, you must show that at least £2,000,000 has been invested and maintained. That’s why be careful with withdrawing money from the investment account, otherwise your extension or permanent residence will be at risk.

Though you don’t have to take an English test for initial application, ILR applications require the investor and their family members over 18 to pass this test. You don’t have to speak English as a BBC presenter, but you do need to be able to do some small talk, what with having lived in the country for a few years. Another test you need to pass is the Life in the UK test to show you know the traditions, customs and history of the United Kingdom.

From settlement to citizenship – how to avoid mistakes

Let’s say you’ve met all the requirements of the Home Office and been granted settled status. It is time to start thinking about UK citizenship. You must be aware of all the requirements and be ready to fulfil them. In order to apply for a British Passport, you must live in the UK for at least 5 years, including one year after settlement. It is important to avoid a common mistake when calculating the number of days when you have been absent from the country. Basically, you must not be out of the UK for more than 450 days in total during the five years preceding the naturalisation application. When you sum up all your trips, remember that the departure and arrival days do not count because you are physically in the country. Moreover, you will be checked for criminal and administrative offences, so you have to make sure you have a clean history.

Another thing to remember when applying for settlement, or ILR, is the age of your children. If they turn 18 while your visa is valid, they will be classed as your dependants and can be added to your application only if they are financially dependent on you. However, if your child starts working and gets their own income, they won´t be able to extend their visa or apply for ILR together with you.

As you can see, the whole process of settlement and naturalisation is not a piece of cake, and one mistake or omission can become life changing. We highly recommend getting professional immigration advice.

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