Tier 1 Investor Visa – A Golden Route To Settlement in the UK
The UK provides a wealth of opportunity for high-net-worth individuals looking to gain citizenship by investment. Its capital, London, is the financial hub of the world. And with open access to the EU and an abundance of luxury real estate options, some of the world’s elite private schools and excellent travel connections, it is no wonder that many of the worlds wealthy choose Britain as their base. It seems that the UK will be an attractive destination even after BREXIT.
For those who wish to obtain British Citizenship by investment, the required route is via the Tier 1 Investor Visa. This visa provides relatively restriction free entry into the country, providing you meet the eligibility requirements. It also allows for accelerated settlement, depending on the amount of capital you invest.
The gov.uk site lists the full guidance for Tier 1 Investors.
Key Requirements of a Tier 1 Investor Visa
To qualify for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you must:
- invest at least £2,000,000 in the UK – with funds that are yours (or your legal partners)
- be 18 years of age or older
- open a UK bank account
- pay an application fee of £1,561 plus healthcare surcharge(s) at time of application
- ensure investments are in UK equities (excluding property and cash), UK bonds, or UK gilts
Applications are usually approved within three weeks, and the initial visa is valid for three years and four months and can be extended when eligibility requirements are met.
What You CAN Do
If you enter the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you can:
- bring your partner and dependents
- receive healthcare for your entire family and public education for your dependents
- you and your dependents can work in the UK and travel outside the UK
What You CANNOT Do
On a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you will not be permitted to:
- invest in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development
- work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- get public funds
Applying for settlement
Most people who apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa wish to obtain British Citizenship in the long-term. If this is your aim, it is imperative that you work with an experienced immigration solicitor from the start to ensure the investments you make are compliant with the requirements to extend your visa, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and ultimately, obtain British Citizenship.
You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the following timeframes:
- Invest £10 million and apply for settlement after two years
- OR invest £5 million and apply for settlement after three years
- OR invest £2 million and apply for settlement after five years
Tier 1 Investor Visa holders applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain will also need to:
- reside in the UK for at least 185 days in each year
- show that in the final year before qualifying for the settlement they have not left the UK for more than 90 days
- pass the Life in the UK Test and demonstrate the required knowledge of English
Obtaining British Citizenship
To apply for British Citizenship, you will need to have had Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK for 12 months. To be eligible, you will need to show:
- you are 18 or over
- you are of ‘good character’ i.e. you have not broken any immigration laws, and you do not have a criminal record
- you will continue to reside in the UK
- you have met the Life in the UK and English language test requirements
- you have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during the past five years
- you have spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
Remaining in compliance with the residency requirements (i.e. spending no more than 450 days outside the UK during the past five years) is often one of the most difficult aspects for our Tier 1 Investor clients to manage. We understand that constant travel, for both work and pleasure, is essential for high-net-worth individuals. By working with us, we can advise you so that you can remain within the residency requirement guidelines, so your applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship are not threatened in any way.
It normally takes around six months to receive a decision on whether you will be granted British Citizenship. If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony, which will be organised by your local council. You will be entitled to bring two guests with you. There is a ceremony fee of £80.
An Example Case study
Mrs K was a non-EEA national who had long dreamed of bringing her family to the UK for a better quality of life and more opportunities for her children. She secured investment funds of £2,000,000 which she had been holding in a regulated bank account for three months before her application for a Tier 1 Investor Visa.
With the expert assistance of a UK immigration lawyer, she executed a qualified UK investment plan and had the application forms filled out and submitted. Three weeks later she received visas for herself and her dependents.
One month later, the family was on their way to the UK. Mrs K enjoyed finding a home in a lovely village near London. Her children are enrolled in an excellent school, and the family are enjoying the multitude of cultural and sporting activities their county has to offer.
We’re Here to Help
A Y & J Solicitors have had the privilege of helping many individuals successfully receive Tier 1 investor visas, and obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship.
As well as taking care of the legal aspects of visa applications, we can also use our connections to make useful introductions for our clients. These include introductions to:
- wealth managers
- real estate agents
- private schools
- interior designers
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.