What is the Tier 1 Investor Visa?
As a highly valuable immigration route, the UK Investor visa allows investors, entrepreneurs, or highly talented, high-net-worth individuals to establish a business through making a substantial financial investment in the UK with the aim of driving growth and making a contribution to the commercial landscape.
There are a number of advantages to this UK visa. If your application for the investor visa is accepted, you have permission to do the following:
- Work or study in the UK (except as a professional sportsperson or in some medical fields)
- Apply for British settlement after two years (if you invest £10 million)
- Apply for British settlement after three years (if you invest £5 million)
- Apply for British settlement after five years (if you invest £2 million)
Who can apply for the UK Investor Visa?
Unlike the Innovator, Business Development and Talent Visas, there are no requirements to show English language ability or evidence of financial maintenance for the UK Investor visa.
However, you should be able to provide evidence of the following eligibility requirements:
- Aged 18 years or older
- Can provide evidence that the £2 million+ in investment funds is legally owned by the applicant or their partner
- Has opened an eligible UK bank account in a UK regulated bank in which to deposit the funds
- The funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions free to spend or ‘disposable’ in the UK
Required documents for the UK Investor visa
In order to apply for an Investor Visa, you should provide evidence of the following documents:
- Valid passport or travel document
- Clean tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
- A criminal record certificate from any country in which you have lived for over 12 months or longer over the last ten years
You will need to have a blank page in your passport (front and back) for your UK Investor visa to be issued.
As well as this, if any of your documents are in a language other than English or Welsh, you will need to provide a certified translation of each document.
How can you show evidence of investment funds?
A significant requirement of the UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) is demonstrating that you have lawfully obtained the £2 million+ qualifying investment funds required.
The evidence you provide will depend on where the money has originated from.
If the money is yours, you must provide evidence of the following:
- The amount of money you have and where it is held
- The source of the money (if you have had it for less than two years)
- Proof that you can transfer the money to the UK and convert it to sterling
If the money belongs to your partner, you should show:
- The nature of your relationship with your partner (e.g., certificate of marriage, civil partnership, or evidence of being in a long-term relationship (2+ years))
- A statement from your partner authorising them to give you control of the funds in the UK
- A letter from a qualified legal expert advising that the declaration is valid
You will also need to provide evidence that you have an account at a regulated financial institution – UK bank. This can be evidenced by the following:
- Letter issued by an authorised bank official
- Letter is dated within three months of your application date
- Letter is on official headed paper
- Letter confirms your details and that you have opened an account in order to invest £2 million
- Confirmation that the bank is a UK regulated financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- Confirmation that money-laundering checks have been carried out on your account
There may be additional documents or evidence required in order to process your Investor visa application.
For assistance with applying for the Investment visa category, get in touch with us today. Our immigration lawyers can help you with obtaining UK’s investment visa. Call 0191 303 8965 today.
Extending or switching to the Tier 1 Investor Visa
It may be possible to extend or switch to the Investor Visa (Tier 1) if you can provide proof of meeting the eligibility criteria.
The requirements for extending your UK Investor visa are different from other forms of visa extensions and largely depend on when you first applied for your visa.
If you successfully applied for your Investor visa before 6 November 2014 and the following situations apply:
- You have at least £1 million under your control in the UK
- You have invested at least 75% in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK businesses
- You have invested this sum within three months of your investor start date
Then you may apply for a UK Tier 1 investor visa extension.
If you successfully applied for your UK Investor visa on or after 6 November 2014, and the following applies:
- You have at least £2 million under your control in the UK
- You have invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, (except those primarily engaged in property investment)
- You have invested this sum within three months of your investor start date
Then you may apply for an investor visa extension.
For each applicant (including yourself and any dependents), you must pay the extension application fee of £1,623, the immigration healthcare surcharge, and the fee to submit your biometric information.
If you are already in the UK on a different form of visa, you may be able to switch to the Tier 1 Investor Visa if you meet the eligibility requirements.
If your application to switch to the Tier 1 Investor Visa is approved, you will likely receive permission to stay for a maximum of three years, with the possibility of further extensions.
You must demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements (including the funds requirement) and meet all other criteria.
How to apply for the Tier 1 Investor Visa
To apply for the Investor Visa (Tier 1), you should first read the application guidance to ensure that you meet the criteria and that you understand the information you need to submit.
When you have prepared the documents and evidence required, you should use the online application form to submit your Investor visa UK application.
You will need to submit your biometric information as part of the application process (fingerprints and facial photograph). You may be required to submit these at a visa application centre.
You must collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you stated you would arrive in the UK.
The earliest that you can apply for the investor visa is three months in advance of when you intend to arrive in the UK.
Fees and waiting time for the UK Investor visa
The cost of the Investor Visa (Tier 1) application is £1,623. This price is the same for you or for any dependents. This is also the cost of switching to or extending the UK Investor visa.
You will also be required to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge (usually on an annual basis) for yourself and eligible dependents.
If you need to make an urgent application, you may be able to pay £500 for the priority service in order to receive a faster decision.
The majority of applicants for the Investor Visa will receive a decision on their application within three weeks.
You may be able to receive a faster decision if you pay for a priority service. Further, if there are any elements of your application that require further attention from the Home Office, you will likely be waiting longer for your application to be processed.
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The tier 1 investor visa allows eligible investors or high-net-worth individuals to come to the UK in order to live and work. They must demonstrate that they have at least £2 million in available funds to invest into a UK business, corporate bonds, UK share capital or loan capital.
It is a route towards UK residency and British citizenship. The greater amount of money that an investor has, the quicker they can apply for UK citizenship.
No, it is not a requirement for tier 1 Investor Visa holders to have a minimum standard of English in order to be eligible to apply for this visa.
However, a requirement of British settlement (or indefinite leave to remain) includes the criteria to speak English at least to B1 level on the CEFR scale. Applicants must also pass the Life in the UK test, which is in English.
The UK immigration system undergoes regular changes and some of the recent changes have meant that categories have been renamed or replaced.
Tier 1 (or T1) visas are named because they are some of the most difficult visas to obtain, typically requiring significant financial investment or exceptional professional talent.
Below is a list of the T1 visa changes as they apply in 2021:
- The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa has been replaced by the Start-Up Visa and UK Innovator Visa
- The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa has been replaced by the Global Talent Visa
- The Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Visa has been replaced by the Graduate Visa
There has been no major change to the Tier 1 Investor Visa.