Tier 1 Investor Visa
The Tier 1 Investor visa is designed for non-EEA nationals who are able to invest £2 million or more in UK share capital or loan capital in actively trading and registered UK companies. Investor visa holders are permitted to work, study or engage in business activities in the UK. The requirements under the Tier 1 investor visa were tightened in March 2019 following a government review. The new rules:
- Require you to demonstrate that they you have held wealth of £2 million for at least two years or, if not, provide evidence of the source of your funds
- Remove the option of investing in government bonds
- Require the UK bank account evidence submitted by initial applicants to include confirmation that the bank has carried out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries
- Require further evidence that businesses are genuinely active and trading
- Provide further requirements for evidence of investment where qualifying invested funds have been further invested through multiple companies
- Allow pooled investment vehicles to be invested in but only if that pooled investment vehicle also has investment from a UK or devolved Government department or one of its agencies and this is confirmed in a letter from that agency or department
A Tier 1 (Investor) visa is initially valid for three years, but applicants also have the option to extend for a further two years, subject to meeting all of the extension requirements.
Advantages of the Investor visa
When applying as a Tier 1 investor, there are certain key benefits. If your application is successful, it means you:
- Are permitted to work, study and engage in business activities
- Can also be accompanied or joined by their dependants
- Can move to settlement in the UK after a period of five years
Tier 1 Investor visa requirements
When applying as a Tier 1 Investor, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Be 18 or over to apply for this visa
- You have funds amounting to at least £2 million belonging to yourself, your partner or the two of you jointly
- Be able to prove that the money belongs to either you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
- You have opened a bank account with a UK-regulated bank for the purpose of investing not less than £2 million in the UK
- You are free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK
- If investment funds have been held for less than two years, then you will need to prove the source of your funds
- If applying for a UK Investor visa from overseas, along with any adult dependants you will need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country that you have lived in for at least 12 months in the last 10 years
- You will need to make a qualifying investment within 90 days of entering the UK Investor visa category
Investment funds held for less than 2 years
If you have not held the funds for the two years before the date of the application (or 90 days if you are applying for accelerated ILR and your initial Tier 1 [Investor] leave was granted under the rules in place before 29 March 2019) and not provided evidence of the source of the funds, you may still qualify for a UK Investor visa if the source of the funds was:
- A gift which was given to you and or your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner within the two years
- A deed of sale of assets, such as business or property, if you have generated these funds within the two years
- Business funds which are currently held in your business, or the business belonging to you and/or your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner
- Money left to either you and/or your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner as beneficiary in a Will within the two years
- Any other source, provided that the source can be documented and independently corroborated
If you or your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner has received possessions or assets, rather than money, then you must not accept estimates of the value of the items as evidence of money for investment. Where the source of funds is the issue of an award or winnings, then a letter must be provided which declares the award or winnings as genuine.
English language and maintenance funds
As a UK Investor visa applicant, you will not need to satisfy any English language or maintenance funds requirement.
UK Government Bonds
With effect from 1 October 2019, there are particular rules relating to Tier 1 Investor migrants who have invested in UK Government Bonds and whose first grant of leave was made on the basis of the immigration rules in place before 29 March 2019.
- The investor can make an extension application in the category on or after 6 April 2023, provided they move their investment out of UK Government bonds and into another qualifying investment before this date
- They will also be allowed to make an application for indefinite leave to remain on or after 6 April 2025, provided they moved their investment out of UK Government Bonds before this date
- If the investor does not meet the above deadlines, they can still apply for a further extension and settlement if they invest the full £2 million in qualifying investments before they apply for further extensions and maintain the full £2 million investment for the qualifying period required for settlement
These changes mean that the relevant Tier 1 Investors do not need to change their investment straight away. But they must do it before the deadlines the Home Office has imposed, if they want to avoid setting the time they have accrued towards settlement back to zero.
When reinvesting, the investors need to make sure that the funds they previously invested in UK Government bonds are moved into qualifying share capital or loan capital investments in active and trading UK registered companies. Certain investments do not qualify, such as investments in property investment, property management or property development companies, or pooled investment vehicles unless they are funded by a UK or devolved government department or agency. The gross proceeds from the sale of the bonds must also be re-invested in qualifying investments before the end of the investor’s next reporting period, or within six months of the sale, whichever is earlier.
Extending your Tier 1 Investor visa
If you are currently in the UK with a Tier 1 Investor Visa you can apply to extend it for a further period of two years. If you were originally granted leave in this category under the Immigration Rules in place on or after 6 November 2014 and before 28 March 2019, then you need to show you have:
- Invested not less than £2 million in the UK, by way of
- UK government bonds and/or
- Share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies
- Invested the money within three months of their specified date
- Maintained the level of the total investment for the whole of the remaining period of their leave
If you have applied for and been granted a Tier 1 Investor visa prior to the 29th March 2019, the ‘old’ rules will continue to apply in respect of visa extensions until 5th April 2023.
Tier 1 Investor Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR/Settlement
You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor or Tier 1 Investor ILR after spending two, three or five years in the UK. The requirements that you will need to satisfy will depend upon when your initial Tier 1 Investor visa was granted and the amount of your investment. If you successfully applied for your Tier 1 Investor visa before 6 November 2014 and invested at least £750,000 of your £1 million:
- You will need to submit your Tier 1 Investor ILR application before 6 April 2022. If you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on or after 6 April 2022 but before 6 April 2025, you will need to have invested at least £2 million for five years by way of share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies or UK Government bonds
If you successfully applied for your Tier 1 Investor visa between 6 November 2014 and 28 March 2019:
- You will be able to apply for Tier 1 Investor ILR if you have at least £2 million invested by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies
If you successfully applied for your Tier 1 Investor visa on or after 29 March 2019:
- You will be able to apply for Tier 1 Investor ILR if you have at least £2 million invested in the UK by way of share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies
Accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR/Settlement
You can apply for ILR under the Tier 1 Investor route once you have resided in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor for a continuous period of five years. However, as a Tier 1 Investor you may apply for accelerated ILR after a continuous period of either two years or three years if you have maintained an investment of at least £10 million or £5 million respectively.
Applicants normally become eligible to apply for ILR after five years of continuous residence in the UK, however there are some routes which allow accelerated settlement after three years or even two. To be eligible for the accelerated route, you need to demonstrate that you have maintained an investment of at least £10 million or £5 million respectively.
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