What is the UK Investor visa (Tier 1 Investor visa)?
The UK Investor visa (Tier 1 Investor visa) is applicable to overseas nationals who intend on investing a significant amount of money in a UK business. As per the UK Tier 1 category, applicants are either considered exceptionally talented whereby they can offer a unique service or skill to the UK, or they are high net-worth individuals. Aside from the investor route, there is also the Tier 1 Innovator Visa and the Tier 1 Start-Up Visa.
Due to the highly valued nature of the UK Investors visa route, applicants do not need a job offer or sponsorship from a UK company to be endorsed. In addition, applicants do not need to pass any English language requirements which are usually one of the main tenets to apply for UK visas. Instead, eligibility largely hinges on the applicant’s capabilities to invest in the United Kingdom and their high net-worth.
This particular route generates many benefits and rewards for an applicant. Due to their high share capital or loan and intention to invest in one or more UK companies, overseas investors can easily bring family members with them to the UK.
One of the key benefits of the Tier 1 Investor visa outlined in the UK immigration rules is that applicants can fast-track their way to permanent residence and full UK citizenship. Whilst most applicants must wait a minimum of 5 years with only some exceptions lowering the threshold to 3 years, those under a UK Investor visa can seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in as little as 2 years. Once this has been achieved, applicants can then apply for British Citizenship.
The maximum length of validity you can remain in the UK under this immigration route is 3 years and 4 months. However, to prolong the initial Investor visa term, you can seek an extension. You can register to stay for another two years providing you can meet the eligibility requirements.
UK Investor visa requirements
To be considered an international investor in the UK and be awarded the appropriate Tier 1 Investor Visa, it is of utmost importance you meet the qualifying investor requirements.
To be deemed eligible, you must:
- Be at least age 18 or over
- Have funds at your disposal
- Be able to prove either yourself or your partner has ownership of your investment funds
- Have secured your funds in at least one regulated financial institution such as a UK bank account
- Be able to demonstrate you have access to these funds and that it is at your disposal to be spent in the UK
Here at Manchester Immigration Lawyers, our OISC-certified and expert team of solicitors are fully equipped to ensure you meet the Tier 1 requirements before you submit your application. We provide a premium consultation and comprehensive application guidance for all Tier 1 applicants to maximise your chances of success and minimise the risk of a refusal.
The key aspect of the Tier 1 Investor Visa route is ensuring you have enough monetary funds for the purposes of investment. However, unlike other visa types, you do not need to demonstrate you have enough money to satisfy personal maintenance. The financial requirement, in this case, is solely based on your intent to invest in a UK business.
The UK-based business that you are seeking to invest in must be an active and trading UK registered company.
The financial requirements of the Tier 1 Investor route are as follows:
- You must intend to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK
- You must have access to at least £2,000,000 in investment funds
- Your funds must be held by a regulated institution (bank or venture capital firm)
In addition, your investment funds must have been kept in a regulated bank account for the purpose of investing.
Ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements of the Tier 1 Investor visa does not end with the financial requirements. You may have £2 million at your disposal to invest, but you will need to ensure you are investing in the right place.
This may include checking that your chosen UK business is an active and trading UK registered company prior to investing.
In addition, you will need to ensure that:
- Your UK business has been registered with Companies House in the UK
- Your investing business has registered with HM, Revenue and Customs for corporation tax and PAYE purposes
- Your UK business has at least two UK-based employees in addition to directors
- Your UK business has accounts and registered UK bank accounts
If you are unsure about meeting the business requirement of the UK Tier 1 Investor route, contact Manchester Immigration Lawyers today. Our corporate and business team of immigration lawyers can advise you on your next steps, including your investment plans, and ensure you are eligible for the UK Investor visa.
UK Investor visa application process
You can easily apply for a UK Investor visa online, but it is highly recommended you seek professional and expert legal advice before you do so as any errors in your application are likely to result in a visa refusal.
Once your application has been approved by the Home Office, you will then need to have your biometric information taken at the appropriate visa centre. You should then be notified of your biometric residence permit which you must collect within 10 days before arriving in the UK.
UK Investor visa fees
Aside from the £2 million you must have to invest in the UK, you will need to ensure that you can pay for the Investor visa itself.
The Home Office fee to process your application is £1,623. This fee remains the same if you wish to extend your Investor visa or change your immigration status. This is also the same fee per every dependent, such as a child or partner, who you wish to bring with you to the country.
In addition, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge per each year you are living in the UK.
These fees do not cover other costs such as the fee to register your biometric information, lawyer fees or other services such as Fast-Track and Super Priority Services.
Investor visa document checklist
When filling your international investor visa application, you will be required to submit a portfolio of supporting evidence. These documents are essential to prove your eligibility. Failure to provide enough evidence may see your Tier 1 Investor permit application denied.
As such, you should include the following documentation in your application:
- Your physical passport or another identification certificate
- Evidence of a thorough background check including your criminal record certificate from any country you have resided in for more than a year covering the last 10 years
- Bank statements or other proof that you have access to the £2 million investment funds requirement
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate if you are using your spouse’s funds to invest
- A confirmation letter from a UK-regulated bank that confirms that you have a valid bank account to use your funds
How can Manchester Immigration Lawyers help?
If you are unsure about meeting the Tier 1 Investor Visa requirements or you need assistance in building a portfolio of evidence in your application, speak to Manchester Immigration Lawyers today. Our expert lawyers are well versed in all areas of corporate law and immigration law and can offer a premium consultation for those seeking this high-value route.
Not only can we help you meet the eligibility requirements but our immigration lawyers can discuss your investment options and which documents you may need to gain entry clearance.
Our lawyers here in Manchester are on hand to help you with the Investment Application, from ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements to fulfilling your application for you. Get in touch with our friendly customer care team today on 0161 826 9783 to hear more about our bespoke services in Manchester.
How to settle in the UK as an Investor
Fortunately, unlike many other visa routes in the UK, as a UK Investor visa holder, you may be able to seek permanent settlement in the country far sooner.
In normal circumstances, UK visa applicants must ensure that they have accrued five years in the UK to be deemed eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This is the first permanent immigration status you are able to secure before being eligible for British Citizenship.
However, as an international investor who is funneling funds into the UK, you can seek to lower the continuous residency requirement of Indefinite Leave to Remain. This can be done as follows:
- By investing £10 million in the UK, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 2 years
- By investing £5 million in the UK, you can seek ILR status after 3 years
- By investing the minimum amount of £2 million, you are only able to seek settlement after 5 years
Get in touch with Manchester Immigration Lawyers if you need help meeting the ILR requirements.
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You can absolutely renew your UK Investor visa.
To do so, you will need to have access to at least £1,000,000 and have already invested a minimum of £750,000 (75%) of your capital funds. You could have invested these funds in UK government bonds, loan capital, or share capital in an active trading UK company, business, or firm.
However, you must have invested this money within 3 months of your investor start date.
It will cost £1,623 to extend your Investor visa. This fee applies to yourself and any dependents such as children who you wish to bring with you.
You should receive a decision from UKVI within 8 weeks of your request to renew your UK Investor visa.
How long it takes for the Home Office to process visa applications largely depends on the applicant’s individual circumstances.
For instance, if you are applying from within the UK, the processing time may be shorter than if you were applying from overseas.
Contact Manchester Immigration Lawyers if you need an urgent decision and fast immigration advice in regards to your application. Our lawyers are able to meet clients over the phone, via Skype or face-to-face.
Only in some certain circumstances are you able to switch your UK visa onto a Tier 1 UK Investor visa.
You can apply to switch if you in the UK under a:
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
- Tier 1 Innovator Visa
- Tier 2 General Work Visa or any Tier 2 Visa
- Tier 4 Student Visa
In most circumstances, you will be required to leave the UK if you do not have one of the above permits and you wish to apply for a UK Investor visa.
To ensure there are no gaps in your immigration history, you should seek to switch onto the Investor visa prior to your current visa expiring.
You may be permitted to work or seek employment in the UK but you may need to check first.
Generally speaking, international investors under the Tier 1 UK Investor visa cannot:
- Access any sort of public funds or welfare support such as benefits, social housing and Universal Credit
- Work as a professional sportsperson, including being a sports coach
- Work as a doctor or dentist in training
Generally speaking, if you are refused a visa in the UK, the authorities grant you 28 days to review and 10 working days to launch an appeal. However, there is no guarantee that your appeal will be granted. The appeals process can be lengthy, expensive, and extremely time-consuming.
Let Manchester Immigration Lawyers shoulder the appeals burden for you. If you need full Appeals Assistance, our immigration lawyers are here to help. We can even represent you at your Tribunal hearing. Contact us now if you are in this situation and would like some assistance.
UK citizenship by investment is considered to be the route through which you can seek British Citizenship in the UK as an international investor. You must have a UK Investor visa to achieve this.
What this means is that by investing £2 million or more in the UK, you can seek to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain(ILR) in less than the standard five years.
This is dependent on how much you invest in the UK. If you invest £10 million, you are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain in just 2 years. However, if you invest only £2 million, you will need to wait 5 years to be eligible.
Once you have resided in the UK for a minimum of 12 months under this status, you can apply for British Citizenship and reap all the rewards and rights as though you were a UK-born citizen.
The UK Investor visa (or Tier 1 Investor visa) route will allow you to remain in the UK for a period of 40 months or three years and four months.
You may seek to extend your Investor visa permission for another 24 months.