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The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa

The United Kingdom at a Glance

The United Kingdom is group of islands off the Northwest coast of Europe which include England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A constitutional monarchy steeped in history, the UK has had a powerful political, financial and cultural influence around the world.

Living in the UK offers a unique combination of bustling modern cities, quaint little towns, beautiful countryside, magnificent natural landscapes, and many famous historical landmarks. The home of modern-day icons like the Beatles and Wimbledon, the UK has just as much pivotal history steeped in its cathedrals, castles, Roman baths, Stonehenge, and old medieval towns. From pubs, to museums, to world-class dining, shopping and a vibrant theatrical culture, the UK is a cultural haven.

As one of the top economies and most influential finance and commerce centers in the world, the UK’s Tier 1 immigration programs have been intentionally created to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and other highly-talented individuals that will drive business and prosperity in the UK.

Investment Options

We currently provide services for two options under the UK Tier 1 Visa program, one geared toward investors, and the other toward entrepreneurs. Both of these programs offer the means to secure permanent residency in the UK, with the opportunity to apply for UK citizenship down the line. While both have the same final outcome, the two programs differ in their required investment sums and qualifications. We’ve covered both programs at length below so you can decide which is the best fit for you. 

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Tier 1 Investor Visa – Overview

The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is one of the fastest and most secure ways to obtain UK residency; you can be approved in as little as 10 weeks! It’s an excellent option for investors who have free capital and would like to secure UK citizenship by investment.

This program requires an investment of at least £2,000,000 in either UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.

With the Tier 1 Investor Visa you can:

  • Work, do business or study in the UK
  • Apply for ILR after 2 years if you invest £10 million
  • Apply for ILR after 3 years if you invest £5 million
  • Apply for ILR if you invest the required £2 million

You cannot:

  • Invest (directly) in companies primarily involved in property investment, management or development
  • Invest in offshore companies
  • Receive public funds

With the Tier 1 Investor Visa, you are allowed to reside in the UK for up to 3 years and 4 months. Once this time has elapsed, you can apply to extend the visa for an additional 2 years. After 5 years in the UK, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and 1 year later, you can apply for citizenship.

More detailed qualifications for this program and UK citizenship by investment are described below.

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Qualifications & Conditions to Apply

In addition to the investment requirements, there are several other qualifications and conditions that must be met in order to apply to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Program.

Investors must be:

  • 18 or over
  • From outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland
  • Willing to invest £2,000,000 or more in either UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.
  • Able to prove that the investment funds personally belong to you or your spouse/partner.
  • Have a UK bank account
  • Economically self-sufficient

The investment funds must be held in at least one approved financial institution (can be outside the UK) and free to spend in the UK

Your family members (spouse, civil partner, dependent children under 18 years of age) can apply along with you.

Students on a financial sponsorship are also able to apply if they’re already in the UK and fall into one of the below categories:

  • Tier 4 visa holder (Student visa)
  • Studying, writing a thesis or redoing an exam
  • Student nurse
  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • Overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • Student sabbatical officer

In any of the above scenarios, you are required to provide an unconditional agreement in writing from your financial sponsor to re-enter or stay in the UK if your course fees and living costs were paid by either a government or an international scholarship agency.

Application process and list of required documents

The application process for the Tier 1 Investor Visa program is thorough, yet efficient. The Tier 1 Investor category has the shortest application processing time and is straightforward.

Key Application Information:

  • The application fee is £1,561.
  • There is a healthcare surcharge as part of your application. 
  • You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photo taken at a visa application center to get a biometric residence permit. You must get this permit within 10 days of when you plan to arrive in the UK.
  • Forms can be submitted online or via mail up to 3 months before traveling to the UK.
  • Application processing time is approximately 3 weeks.
  • Visas are normally issued 8 weeks after approval, or sooner if using the expedited service.
  • You’ll need a blank page (on both sides) in your passport for your visa.
  • Required documents must be in English or Welsh.

 

 

Documents you’ll need to provide:

  • A current passport or other valid travel identification
  • Birth, marriage, adoption certificates (if applicable)
  • Recent passport-sized photos
  • Your tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
  • A criminal record certificate from any country you have resided in for a year or more during the last 10 years
  • Evidence of the required investment funds and their source. (More details on this below)

You’ll need a certified translation for any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

 

Proof of investment funds:

If you’re using your own money to invest, you should be able to show:

  • How much money you have and where it’s being held
  • Where the money came from if you haven’t had the money for at least 3 months
  • That the money can be transferred to the UK and converted to sterling (if it’s not already in the UK)

 

If using your partner’s money you’ll need to provide:

  • A certificate of marriage or civil partnership or proof that you are in a long-term relationship for at least 2 years if you’re unmarried or in a same-sex relationship.
  • A statement from your partner confirming that you have their permission to control the funds in the UK
  • A letter from a legal adviser stating that your partner’s declaration is valid

British Citizenship by Naturalization – Requirement

Investors who have lived in the UK for at least 5 years can apply for British citizenship by naturalization as long as they meet the following requirements:

 

Investors who have lived in the UK for at least 5 years can apply for British citizenship by naturalization as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Spend no more than 90 days outside of the UK during the 12 months prior to applying
  • Spend no more than 450 days outside of the UK during the previous 5 years
  • Be of good moral character, not involved in any criminal activity, and not in violation of any immigration laws.
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of life and culture in the UK, and have a basic level of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic languages.

Applicable Fees:

£1,282 - Naturalization

£1,163 - Registration

£80 - Naturalization Ceremony

Benefits - Why invest and reside in the UK?

UK Citizenship by Investment provides investors the opportunity to settle and conduct business in one of the most influential and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Both residency and citizenship in the UK offer many benefits in different areas. Some specific key benefits include the following:

Financial

  • London is a leading financial center in the global market.
  • Established and stable banking system.
  • Preferential tax regime for high net worth investors that are non-domicile UK residents.
  • The British Sterling is one of the world's best currencies. The British pound is more stable than almost all other world currencies, including the US dollar.
  • London has the highest GDP of any city in Europe.
  • The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world.

Lifestyle

  • One of the best free health care services in the world with excellent facilities.
  • Excellent standard of education, a large network of state and private schools, and many top universities including Oxford. Plus, public school education is free for all children.
  • Visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to more than 180 countries.
  • Stable democratic government.
  • Diverse society with a variety of cultural, religious, and ethnic communities.
  • London is one of the world’s most famous cities and home to the British royal family.
  • London offers an excellent public transportation system and ample culture including museums, art galleries, theaters, dining, shopping, etc.
  • Many historical landmarks all over the UK.
  • In addition to the cities, the UK has wide expanses of gorgeous countryside and quaint villages.
  • Safe place to live.

Business

  • London ranks among one of the top 10 cities to start a business and is home to the corporate headquarters of many major organization and corporations.
  • According to the World Bank, the UK has one of the highest ease of doing business scores in the world.
  • Private enterprise is actively encouraged.
  • Very large skilled workforce.
  • Competitive labor costs.
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There are countless reasons to secure residency and citizenship in the UK for high-net-worth individuals. Not only is it home to one of the most influential, successful, and historically-relevant countries in the world, but it also provides ample business opportunities and attractive incentives. Both the Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur Visas provide a wonderful opportunity to reside and ultimately gain citizenship in the UK. To decide which is best for your circumstances or learn more about UK Citizenship by Investment, please contact us today for your free initial consultation.

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