UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Explained

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Fewer wealthy investors have come to the UK in the past year, but that’s mainly due to international borders closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you have £2 million or more to invest in UK businesses, the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is still open.

The Home Office granted an average of 285 UK Investor Visas a year between 2015 and the end of 2020.

Around one in three of the visas go to investors from China. However, applications are also rising from Americans, who are granted one in six of the visas.

What does a Tier 1 Investor Visa Give Me?

If your application for a UK Investor Visa is successful, you can:

  • Stay in the UK for three years and four months
  • Extend your visa by two years
  • Work or study
  • Bring your partner and children to the UK
  • Apply to settle
  • after five years, if you invest £2 million
  • after three years, if you invest £5 million
  • after two years, if you invest £10 million

You do not have to show you are proficient in English to a high standard.

Preparing For A UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Application

You can apply for your UK Investor Visa up to three months before your travel date.

The main requirement is that you can show you have at least £2 million of investment funds.

Otherwise, you should be:

  • Aged 18 years or older
  • Have proof your investment funds belong to you or your partner
  • Have a bank account in the UK to accept your investment funds, which you can leave overseas when you apply for your visa
  • Able to spend the money as you wish

Students can apply for a UK Investor Visa if they are already in the UK  on a study visa. 

However, if a government or international scholarship agency pays your course fees and living costs, you must have their agreement to come to or stay in the UK.

Proof of investment funds

You must have evidence that you have at least £2 million to invest in the UK.

If the money is yours, you should have documents to show:

  • How much you have to invest and where the money is on deposit
  • If you have had the funds for less than two years, you need to show the source; for example, you inherited the money.
  • If the money is not in the UK, you must show you can transfer the funds to a UK bank as Sterling

If the money belongs to your partner, you’ll need some extra paperwork:

  • Your certificate of marriage or civil partnership. If you are unmarried, you need to show your relationship has lasted for at least two years
  • Permission from your partner that you can invest the money in the UK
  • Confirmation from a lawyer that your partner’s consent to invest the funds is valid

Showing you have a UK bank account

You should ask your UK bank to issue a letter confirming you have an account for your investment funds that covers:

  • You have an account to invest at least £2 million
  • Confirmation the bank is regulated in the UK and that it has completed money-laundering checks 

Your letter should be on official headed notepaper and dated within three months of your visa application.

Other documents you must provide

For your Uk Tier 1 Investor Visa application, you will need:

If the documents are not in English or Welsh, you should get them translated.

Your passport should have a blank page for the visa if you come from outside the EEA or Switzerland or do not have a biometric passport.

More detailed guidance about applying for a UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) is published online.

Making Your Tier 1 Investor Visa Application

You can apply for a UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) from inside or outside the UK.

If you are outside the UK, you must go to a visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken for a Biometric Residence permit.

You can upload the other documents you need to support your application or scan them at the centre.

Another option for proving ID is the UK Immigration: ID Check app for smartphones and tablets. 

Decisions take three weeks from outside the UK, although you can pay extra for a fast-track visa result.

If you are already in the UK, you can extend or switch to the UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) from another visa.

You can pay £500 for a fast-tracked decision within five working days. 

If you are in the UK, apply online to make an initial application, extend or switch to the Investor Visa.

All applications from outside the UK should be online via the Tier 1 Investor Visa site.

Bringing Your Family To The UK

Your partner and dependent children can join you in the UK on your Investor Visa.

However, they must make separate applications.

 A ‘dependant’ is:

  • Your partner, if you are married to them or not
  • Children under 18 years old
  • Children over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

You can read more about making an application for this visa for your dependents online.

Costs

The fee to apply for the UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) is £1,623 – and the same fee applies to extending or switching to the visa.

In addition, you must pay an £18.20 biometric data process charge and a healthcare surcharge.

Read more information about the Tier 1 investor visa costs.

Extending Your UK Investor Visa (Tier 1)

The terms of extending the UK Investor Visa depends on the date your original visa started.

Visa starts before November 6, 2014

You must show you:

  • Have At least £1 million to invest in the UK
  • Have invested £750,000 of that sum in government bonds as a loan or share capital in an active UK company
  • That the money was invested within three months of your investor start date

The money in your bank account should total at least £1 million and comprise the £750,000 or more under-investment and a balance in cash to reach £1 million.

The funds should come from:

  • You or your partner, or
  • a loan from a UK financial institution if you have personal assets worth £2 million or more

Visa starts after November 6, 2014

You must show you:

  • Have At least £2 million to invest in the UK
  • Have invested that sum in government bonds as a loan or share capital in an active UK company
  • That the money was invested within three months of your investor start date

Evidence of your investment

Your bank or other financial institution in the UK will provide statements that show:

  • How much you have invested since your visa’s ‘investor start date’
  • You have maintained the investment level throughout the life of your visa

Your ‘investor start date’ is either:

  • The date you came to Britain
  • The date your original visa or switch from another visa was approved

Switching To A UK Investor Visa (Tier 1)

You can apply to switch to a UK Investor Visa if you meet the investment and personal requirements if you are already in the UK with a visa that is:

  • Tier 1 (General) 
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) 
  • any Tier 2 category visa
  • Student (including Tier 4)

If you hold any other visa, you should leave the UK and apply for the UK Investor Visa (Tier 1) from overseas.

You can stay for three years if the application is successful.

A decision usually takes eight weeks

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