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UK Investor Visa

A fast route to British citizenship
Minimum requirements
Investment from £2,000,000

Why choose UK investor visa

Great Britain, with its strong economy, entrepreneurial spirit and high living standards, has long been a hot spot for businessmen from all over the world. Each year, a lot of foreigners come to the UK to start a business, to work and study.

In most cases, to become UK resident, you would need to speak at least basic English, demonstrate your education and experience and meet other stringent criteria of UK immigration authorities. However, applicants for a Tier 1 Investor Visa are a happy exception to this rule.

UK investor visa is an ideal solution for wealthy individuals. It is the easiest way to relocate to the United Kingdom, to settle here and apply for British citizenship via a standard or a fast-track option.

What is Tier 1 Investor visa?

UK Tier 1 investor visa is a long-term settlement visa for affluent foreigners who want to move to Great Britain. The minimum amount you must invest is £2 million, and the more you invest the quicker you will be able to apply for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The earliest you can settle in the UK is 2 years, and become a British citizen – 5 years.

To qualify for a Tier 1 Investor visa, you must invest money in a UK-registered company or companies, pass due diligence checks and open an investment account. In exchange for your generous contribution, you will get almost unlimited freedom as to what you can do in the UK. First visa is issued for 3 years and four months and, unless you are eligible to apply for ILR at that point, it can be extended for another 2 years.

UK investor visa comes with a lot of advantages about which we are going to talk now.

7 benefits of UK investor visa

  1. It is one of the fastest UK visa applications. The whole process – from submitting an application to getting a visa – does not take more than 3 months. Home Office would normally make a decision on your application within 15 days. You can speed it up by paying extra £500 for a priority service.
  2. Your spouse or unmarried partner as well as minor children can be included in your UK investor visa application.
  3. You do not need to demonstrate your work experience, provide proof of education or take an English test.
  4. You and your family can work, do business, study or do nothing in the UK while enjoying comforts and safety of everyday life in a modern European country. Your investment will buy you access to high standards of healthcare, education and security.
  5. It is profitable to invest in shares of UK companies. You will be the one making decisions where to invest, and you will always stay in control. After your visa expires or you get an indefinite leave to remain, you can sell the shares and get your money back (with a gain, if you are lucky).
  6. UK investor visa is valid for 3 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK and 3 years if you apply in the country. It can be extended for another 2 years or you can apply for settlement straight away, depending on how much you have invested.
  7. If you invest more than £5,000,000, you can apply for British citizenship after 5 years of having lived in Great Britain. It makes a UK investor visa one of the fastest routes to UK passport.

 

What you cannot do in the UK on an investor visa

There are only a few limitations on investors’ professional activities in the United Kingdom:

  • They cannot work as doctors or dentists without relevant education and/or experience in the UK.
  • They cannot earn money as professional sportsmen or coaches as those fall under different visa categories.
  • Irrespective of their occupation, they cannot apply for social benefits.

Requirements for Tier 1 Investor visa

  1. You can submit a UK visa application for Tier 1 investor visa if you are over 18.
  2. You must have access to £2 to £10 million or more.
    The money must be held in a foreign or UK bank account. The key thing is to have it readily transferrable to be used in the UK.
    If on the date of application you have had your money on a bank account for less than 2 years, you must prove that it was sourced legally by way of inheritance or business dividends.
    If you use your spouse’s or partner’s funds, a marriage certificate must be provided, or evidence of living together, along with a sponsor’s letter giving you free access to the funds.
  3. You must open an investment account in a regulated financial institution in the UK and obtain a letter from an authorised bank official.
    UK banks conduct background checks on all potential clients which is in your interest.
  4. You must provide a criminal record certificate covering the last 10 years and any country where you have spent more than 12 months.
  5. You might be required to do a tuberculosis test for Tier 1 Investor visa application if you are from a listed country.

UK Investor visa – key facts

spouse, children under 18
Eligible dependants

recoverable
Investment

£2,000,000
Minimum investment

from 1 month
Processing time

in 2 years
Permanent residence in the UK

in 5 years
British passport

Sole representative Business visa to the UK

Investment options for Tier 1 Investor visa

UK government is keen on attracting foreign investments to the real economy. Therefore, investors applying for UK Tier 1 investor visa after 29 March 2019 can invest only in shares of UK-registered businesses.

Once you get your visa, you have 3 months to arrive to the United Kingdom, transfer funds to an investment account in the country and buy shares in chosen companies.

The required minimum amount is £2,000,000. The higher it is, the less it will take you to settle and naturalise in Great Britain.

Investment amount

£2,000,000£5,000,000£10,000,000

Settlement

5 years3 years2 years

British citizenship

6 years5 years5 years

UK investor visa extension

Before your first investor visa expires you can apply to extend it for another 2 years, if needed, provided you comply with the following requirements:

  1. You entered the UK and bought shares of UK companies for at least £2 million within 90 days of getting a visa. You and adult dependants have registered with the police within 7 days of arriving in the country.
  2. Since entering the UK, you have not withdrawn any money from your investment portfolio. A good thing is, if the value of shares has dropped below £2,000,000 since then, you do not need to top it up to extend your visa.
  3. Your spouse or partner, minor children and children that turned 18 since arriving to the UK on a fist investor visa can extend their visas together with you.
  4. You are entitled to extend your UK investor visa if you applied before 29 March 2019 through investing in government bonds.
  5. If you applied under old rules and invested £1,000,000, you can only extend your visa now if you invest another £1,000,000 in shares of UK-registered companies.

UK visa application processing time

It takes 1-2 weeks to prepare your application. Then we submit it with all supporting evidence. All you need to do is go to a visa centre to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken. A decision will be made within 8 weeks (standard service) or 5 working days (priority service).

You can settle in the UK on an investor visa in 2 years and apply for British citizenship in 5 years, provided you make the minimum required investment.

Applying for ILR

Depending on your investment (see the table above) you can apply for ILR in the United Kingdom after 2, 3 or 5 years of continuous residence here. All your family members that initially applied with you, including a spouse/partner, minor children and children that turned 18 since then, can settle at the same time as you do, provided they still rely on you financially.

Exceptions

  • If you invested before 29 March 2019 and your portfolio includes government bonds, you must apply for settlement not later than 6 April 2025.
  • If you invested £1,000,000 before 6 November 2014 and have already extended it a few times under old rules, you must apply for ILR before 6 April 2022. If you fail to do so for any reason, you can still apply to settle, but only if you increase your investment portfolio to £2,000,000. Please bear in mind that in this case a holding period (2, 3 or 5 years) will start again.

Requirements for ILR applications

  1. You must prove you have been in the UK continuously – your absences cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period since first entry.
  2. You have not reduced your portfolio by withdrawing funds.
  3. You and all adult dependants passed an English test to Level B1 or higher.
  4. You and all adult dependants passed the Life in the UK test.

An indefinite leave to remain gives you almost the same rights as those of British citizens. Once you get your settled status you can return your money. A year after you can apply to naturalise in the United Kingdom and then obtain your first British passport.

British citizenship and passport

If your investment starts at £5,000,000, you can apply for a UK passport in 5 years after arriving in the country. If you do not have more than £2,000,000, you can make an application for British citizenship only after 6 years of continuous residence on the British Isles. In any case, naturalisation is possible only one year after settlement.

Requirements

  1. In the 5 years before application, you can leave the UK for not more than 450 days in total and in the last year, in a settled status, your absences should not exceed 90 days.
  2. No criminal or civil offences.
  3. Spoken English skills.
  4. Passed Life in the UK test.

If all of the above criteria are met, your British citizenship application will be decided within 6-8 weeks. If approved, you will be given a naturalisation certificate which you will then use to apply for a UK passport.

You should not underestimate legal help and support you can get for your Tier 1 Investor visa and naturalisation applications. Experienced immigration advisers at Imperial & Legal provide comprehensive support to investors at each step of their UK immigration journey.

Fastest way to get Investor visa and British passport

How much for UK Investor visa

1
Initial consultation and client agreement
Time frame: 1 day

Immigration advisers of Imperial & Legal will assess your case and walk you through what’s required for UK investor visa. We can meet in our office or have a chat over the phone, or a video call on WhatsApp/Zoom/Skype. We will need a copy of your passport and address to prepare a client agreement.

2
Prepare and submit UK visa application
Preparation: 1 – 2 weeks

We will help you open an account in one of British regulated banks and assist with finding profitable investment options. All supporting evidence will be prepared, translated and certified in strict compliance with the UK Immigration Rules. We will fill in all forms and submit them to the Home Office on your behalf.

3
Get UK investor visa and move to the UK
Processing: 2 – 4 weeks
The Home Office would normally make a decision on your application within 3 weeks of submission. If approved, you and dependants must collect your BRP cards within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Besides, within 3 months of arrival you must invest in shares of UK companies.
We have a dedicated team that offers relocation assistance including school search and finding an accommodation to rent, opening a bank account and other services.
4
Extend your Tier 1 investor visa
Processing: 6 – 8 weeks

If you have invested £2,000,000 and are not eligible for fast-track settlement, we will help you extend your investor visa. Imperial & Legal team will check if you have been complying with all requirements, prepare all documents and fill in and submit forms on your behalf.

5
Apply for an indefinite leave to remain
Processing time: 2 – 6 months
Irrespective of when you can apply for ILR – in 2, 3 or 5 years – the process is the same. The key thing is to make sure you have complied with all requirements. Our specialists will take care of your application and help you prepare and take an English test and Life in the UK test. Once you receive a settled status you can get your invested money back.
6
Apply for British citizenship and UK passport
Processing: 1 –2 months

UK citizenship applications can be made one year after obtaining ILR, but not earlier than 5 years of living in the country. Imperial & Legal team will fill in and submit your naturalisation application to the Home Office. Once approved, you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will be given a certificate of naturalisation. With that in hand, our experts will apply for your first British passport.

 

FAQ about UK Tier 1 Investor visa

Do I need an immigration adviser?

This visa category is characterised by significant and long-term investments which calls for attention to detail at every step of the way. Experienced immigration advisers will help you minimise risks and save a lot of time and money.

Why choose Imperial & Legal? An office in central London and many years of experience in such matters are key to finding fast and efficient solutions. A UK investment account will take under 7 days to open.


Do I need to learn English?

Though you do not need to speak any English when applying for the first investor visa, you might want to apply for ILR after 2, 3 or 5 years of living in the UK, depending on your investment. British immigration authorities assume that a permanent resident must speak good English to understand other speakers and be understood in casual and work environments.


Which documents do I need to have for a UK investor visa application?

Here is a standard list of evidence that you must provide:

  • A valid passport with at least one blank page.
  • Tuberculosis test results.
  • Criminal record certificate(s) for the last 10 years.
  • Proof of available funds for investment.
  • A letter from a UK bank that you passed their due diligence checks and your investment account is opened.

This list can be longer depending on your circumstances.


What is a British biometric residence permit?

A biometric residence permit (BRP) is a document confirming your right to be in the United Kingdom and to work or study here.

Such cards are made of polycarbonate and in size resemble debit cards. You will be required by law to collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in Great Britain.

Need expert immigration advice?

We have been helping high-net-worth individuals worldwide to obtain a Tier 1 Investor visa and relocate to the United Kingdom. Contact us to start your application today.

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