The Tier 1 Investor visa is designed to attract high net worth non-EEA nationals to invest and live in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor visa holders and their immediate family (spouse and children under the age of 18) are allowed to live in the UK, however they are not required to work, study or undertake business activities here, nor do they need to pass any English language tests or satisfy the maintenance requirements associated with many other visa categories.

One of the benefits of the Tier 1 Investor visa category is that holders of this visa (and their family members) will have access to the UK’s education system. In addition, the Tier 1 Investor category provides a pathway towards British Citizenship after a period of 6 years provided the required criteria are satisfied.

Specific requirements – Tier 1 Investor visa

To qualify for the Tier 1 Investor visa the applicant must achieve a score of 75 by proving they:

  • Have money of their own under their control which is held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK amounting to not less than £2 million; and
  • Have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2 million in the UK. Note that as of 6 April 2015 it is a requirement that applicants must have a UK regulated investment bank account before making their initial application.

In addition to the criteria above it is important to note that you must be at least 18 years old to make an application, and the assets and investment you are claiming points for must be wholly under your control.

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Investments and source of funding

The money to be invested should be held in the bank account for 3 months prior to application. If the money has been held in the bank account or portfolio for less than 3 months, it is necessary to give specified evidence of the source of the money. The source of funding in this case can be one of the following:

  • Gift
  • Sale deed
  • Evidence from a business
  • Will
  • Divorce Settlement
  • Award or winnings
  • Other sources – considered on a case by case basis whereby specified evidence must be provided.

Investor visa duration

Initially investor visas are granted for three years and four months. They can then be extended for another two years by providing evidence that an investment of at least £ 2 million was made in the UK.

Investor visa extensions

When applying for an extension to a Tier 1 Investor visa applicants must demonstrate the following:

  • You must show that you have invested not less than £2 million in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
  • Investors are required to make their investment in the UK in the form of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital. Note that the funds must not be invested in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development.

Investor visas & indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

The length of time required to qualify for ILR/permanent residence depends on the amount of investment, as follows:

  • Investment of £2 Million
    As an investor you will qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after five years, provided that you have invested £2,000,000 in the UK.
  • Investment of £5 million
    If you invest £5,000,000 you will be able to apply for ILR after the investment has been in place for three years.
  • Investment of £10 million
    If you invest £10,000,000 you will be able to apply for ILR after the investment has been in place for at least two years.

In order to qualify for settlement (ILR) investors are not permitted to spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 calendar month period.

Switching into the investor visa category

Holders of one of the following visa categories are eligible to switch into the Tier 1 Investor category while remaining in the UK.

  • A highly skilled migrant
  • A Tier 1 (General) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Post – Study Work) migrant
  • A Tier 2 migrant
  • A Business Person
  • An Innovator
  • A Tier 4 student
  • A student
  • A student nurse
  • A student re-sitting an examination
  • A student writing up a thesis
  • A Work Permit holder
  • A writer, composer or artist
  • An Investor

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