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Investor Visa

The Investor Visa (Tier 1) is for high-net-worth individuals who want to make a significant financial contribution to the UK. It has been designed for applicants who intend to invest at least £2 million or more. Following five years of residence, eligible applicants may then apply for UK settlement. It is possible to receive settled status sooner with a higher investment.

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What is the Tier 1 Investor Visa?

As a highly valuable immigration route, this visa allows investors, entrepreneurs, or highly talented, high-net-worth individuals to establish a business 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 visa. If your application 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)

This is a much quicker route towards settlement (also known as indefinite leave to remain) and potentially British citizenship than most other visas.

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Who can apply for the Tier 1 Investor Visa?

Unlike some of the other Innovator, Business Development and Talent Visas, there are no requirements to show English language ability or evidence of financial maintenance.

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 which to deposit the funds
  • The funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions
  • The funds must be ‘disposable’ or free to spend in the UK

Required documents

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 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 Investor Visa (Tier 1) is demonstrating that you have lawfully obtained the £2 million+ 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 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 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 application.

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.

Visa extension

The requirements for extending your 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 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 visa extension.

If you successfully applied for your 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 UK businesses
  • You have invested this sum within three months of your investor start date

Then you may apply for a 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.

Visa switching

If you are already in the UK on a different form of visa, you may be able to switch to the Investor Visa (Tier 1) if you meet the eligibility requirements.

If your application to switch to the Investor Visa (Tier 1) 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.

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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 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 this visa is three months in advance of when you intend to arrive in the UK.

Fees and waiting time

Fees

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 this 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.

Waiting time

The majority of applicants for the Investor Visa (Tier 1) 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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Frequently Asked Questions

This 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, 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 citizenship.

No, it is not a requirement for 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 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.