Written by Takumi Yamazaki
Please note that as of 17 Feb 2022, the Home Office has taken decisive action to shut the Tier 1 Investor visa route to all new applicants from all nationalities with immediate effect. However, pending applications for Tier 1 visas are unaffected.
UK Investor Visa
The Tier 1 Investor Visa category is for high-net-worth individuals who can make a substantial financial investment in the UK. Most notably, individuals must have access to at least £2 million to apply, be over 18 and prove that the money belongs to themselves or their partner. Once the individual obtains this visa, the law permits holders to study, work and engage in business activities without restrictions.
Typically, this visa leads to settlement in the UK after five years; however, an accelerated process is readily available to those visa holders willing to invest more in the UK. Individuals can apply to settle after three years if they invest £5 million or after two years if £10 million is invested (UK Government).
The regulation states that the money must be held in a regulated financial institution and be freely transferrable to the UK to be converted into pounds sterling. The individual must also have opened a bank account with a regulated bank in the UK to invest at least £2 million in the UK. The earliest you can apply for the visa is three months (around eight weeks) before you travel. The decision on the visa is usually made within three weeks when you apply from outside of the UK.
However, most domestic visa application centres will offer a priority service which allows Tier 1 Visa holders to receive a decision on their application within five working days if an extra £500 is paid. Once the individual receives their decision letter, their biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.
If applying from within the UK, the initial Investor visa will be valid for three years, but if the individual is applying from overseas, the visa will be valid for three years and four months. At least £2 million must be invested within three months of entering the classification, and it is essential to sustain your investment in the UK.
Suppose the investor wants to stay in the UK for longer. In that case, they can choose to extend their visa for a further two years before being eligible to request Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) settlement status after five years in the country (UK Government). There is a faster route to settlement, as mentioned above, if the individual chooses to invest more than the required £2 million.
Please get in touch with us here for more information on this topic. Our highly experienced lawyers can guide you through the complex process of UK visas for you and your dependants, including under the Tier 1 (Investor) and Representative of Overseas Business routes.