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A key feature of the investor visa is that it can lead to UK citizenship for the visa holder and their visa dependants in a shorter time than most other UK visa catgories.
The holder of a Tier 1 (Investor) visa can apply to settle in the UK under Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK (ILR) after a certain period of time. This qualifying period varies depending on the amount that you have invested in the UK. If you:
- Maintain your original £2 million investment, you can apply for ILR after five years;
- Increase your investment to £5 million, you can apply for ILR after three years; and
- Increase your investment to £10 million, you can apply for ILR after two years.
With 12 months of ILR, you then become eligible to apply to naturalise as a British citizen. To apply, you must:
- have been resident in the UK for at least five years (the residential qualifying period);
- have been physically in the UK on the exact day five years prior to the application date;
- not have been outside of the UK for more than 450 days in the residential qualifying period; and
- not have been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in the previous 12 months.
You will also need to show you have passed the Life in the UK test, that you meet the English language requirement and that you satisfy the general grounds for admissibility such as passing the good character requirement.
If you are granted citizenship, you can apply for a British passport. A British passport enables you to travel visa-free to over 150 countries, including the USA under the visa waiver program.
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There are various visa options to reside in the UK and it may be that an alternative to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa is more appropriate for you for citizenship by investment. For example, the Innovator visa is directed at entrepreneurs. To apply for the Innovator visa, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- be able to obtain at least £50,000 for use in your business;
- show a viable business concept which has the support of an endorsing body in the UK. You will need a business plan and evidence that you are active in the business, as well as evidence of your qualifications and experience in running a business;
- provide evidence that you have the necessary funds to live in the UK;
- employ at least two people in the business; and
- have achieved the upper intermediate (B2) level of English.
The innovator route can lead to UK settlement after 3 years if you are eligible.
While the investment amount is considerably less than the investor visa, you will under the innovator route have to show you will be active in directing the business.
Do you need advice about UK citizenship by investment?
The route from UK visa to residency and citizenship is challenging to navigate. It requires careful planning of the investment activity to ensure compliance with the strict Home Office requirements. Each individual application will demand extensive preparation to evidence your eligibility as an individual and your investment activity.
We work closely with investors, wealth managers, leading UK banks and other advisors in preparing and submitting visa applications for investors, entrepreneurs and their families.
As a dedicated team of immigration lawyers we can assist you with:
- A consultation to advise on the relevant requirements and documentation requirements
- Initial applications from outside and inside the United Kingdom
- Extension applications
- Applications for indefinite leave to remain under the ordinary and accelerated routes
- Appeals against any negative decisions made inside the UK
- Requests for the administrative review of any negative decisions made outside the UK
- Applications for permission to apply for Judicial Review where necessary
- Any other advice or assistance that you may require
- Applying for citizenship by investment
UK immigration rules are subject to constant change and revision, making it critical that applicants obtain up-to-date legal advice before making their applications. As specialists in UK immigration, we work with individuals from across the globe seeking residency and citizenship in the UK. We can support you and your family through the Home Office application process, providing expert advice and assistance to overseas investors looking to enter the UK through the Tier 1 investor visa category. Contact us for specialist advice