Golden Visa

All About the Golden Visa

Apr 09, 2024
Last Updated on May 10, 2024

You may have heard about the UK Golden visa and how this provides a direct route to permanent settlement through investment. The Golden visa (properly referred to as the Tier 1 (Investor) visa) is, unfortunately, now closed to new applications as of 17th February 2022. While the Golden visa route is closed to new applicants, it is still possible to extend the Tier 1 Investor visa and apply for permanent settlement. In this article, we will explain the Tier 1 Investor visa requirements and eligibility criteria, how to apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, and the processing time for a Tier 1 Investor Visa when applying for an extension.

What is the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa, also known as the Tier 1 (Investor) visa, enables high net-worth individuals from overseas to make a substantial financial investment of at least £2m into the UK economy and gain permission to remain in return. Depending on the amount invested, Golden Visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (i.e. permanent residence) after 2, 3, or 5 years. As such, the Tier 1 Investor visa offers an accelerated route to permanent settlement compared to other visas, which require 5 years of continuous residence.

Why was the Golden Visa closed to new applicants?

The Home Office made the decision to close the Golden Visa to new applicants from 17th February 2022 to prevent what it referred to as “corrupt elites” from accessing the UK. When announcing its closure, the Home Secretary at the time, Priti Patel, explained, “Closing this route is just the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance. We will be publishing a fraud action plan, while the forthcoming Economic Crime Bill will crack down on people abusing our financial institutions and better protect the taxpayer”.

The Home Office confirmed that it would still be possible to further extend existing Investor visas, but that permanent settlement would be conditional on applicants “executing an investment strategy that can show genuine job creation and other tangible economic impacts. Passively holding UK investments will no longer be enough to obtain settlement”. 

Golden Visa requirements (for renewal)

If you currently hold a Golden visa, you can further extend your stay as long as you meet the requirements. 

If you made a successful application for a Golden visa prior to 6th November 2014, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • You must have invested a minimum of £2 million in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies since 6th April 2020
  • You must have had at least £1 million under your control in the UK before 6th April 2020 and
  • You must have invested £750,000 in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies within 3 months of your ‘investor start date.’

If you made a successful application for a Golden visa on or after 6th November 2014, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • You must have a minimum of £2 million under your control in the UK
  • You must have invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies and
  • You must have invested this sum within 3 months of your ‘investor start date.’

When determining if you meet these criteria, bear in mind that your ‘investor start date’ is either the date you came into the UK, the date your original visa application or when you switched switch from a different visa category and this was approved.

Eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If you applied prior to 6th November 2014, you can apply for ILR after 2 years if you have invested £10m, 3 years if you have invested £5m, or 5 years if you have invested £2m. You must have invested your funds in share capital, loan capital or UK government bonds in active UK companies within 3 months of your ‘investor start date’.

If you applied after 6th November 2014, you can apply for ILR after:

  • 2 years if you have £10m in cash, £20m in personal assets, or £10m in loans from a UK-regulated financial institution 
  • 3 years if you have £5m in cash, £10m in personal assets, or £5m in loans from a UK-regulated financial institution, or
  • 5 years if you have £1m in cash, £2m in personal assets, or £1m in loans from a UK-regulated financial institution 

The rules also state that you must have invested at least 75% of your investment funds in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies within 3 months of your ‘investor start date’.

In addition to the time in the UK and the investment amount requirements, you will also need to provide evidence that you have passed the ‘Life in the UK’ test and that you meet the English language requirement. To meet the language requirement, you must have passed an approved English test at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or have a degree-level qualification that was taught or researched in English.

How to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) Visa and Processing time

Your application to renew your Tier 1 Investor visa can be completed online on the Home Office website. You will need to pay an application fee of £1,884 per person in addition to the healthcare surcharge.

Most Tier 1 Investor visa renewal applications are processed, and a decision is made within 8 weeks of the date of submission. However, if you wish to use the priority service to receive a faster decision within 5 working days, you can pay an additional fee of £500.

What is the Self-Sponsorship Visa UK?

As the Golden visa has now closed, many applicants are considering the self-sponsorship visa. The UK’s Self-Sponsorship visa provides a excellent way for overseas to move to the UK by setting up a company here and working for themselves without the need to apply for a job with an employer. One of the biggest benefits of this route is that it offers a direct route to permanent settlement and British citizenship after a further one year. If you need any information on the self-sponsorship visa UK, please speak to an immigration Solicitor who can explain the rules and how to apply. 

Final words

If you do not currently hold a Tier Investor visa but would like to invest in the UK, there are other visa options which may be available to you, including the Innovator Founder Visa. To discuss your plans and better understand your visa options, we recommend speaking to a London-based immigration solicitor to explain the best route for your needs and for your family. 

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

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