Tier 1 (Investor)
The Tier 1 Investor visa is designed to enable investors who will make a substantial financial investment to the UK economy to enter or remain in the UK.
Tier 1 Investor Visa: Main requirements
To qualify for a Tier 1 Investor visa applicants must be able to demonstrate that:
- they intend to invest at least £2 million in share capital or loan capital in UK companies;
- the investment funds belong to them or their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner;
- they have held the funds for at least two years or, if not, meet the Home Office’s rules on the source of funds (for example, the funds are from a gift, the proceeds of the sale of assets, a business, inheritance, a financial award, a divorce settlement); and
- they have opened a UK bank account with a regulated UK bank.
The investment funds must be:
- held in one or more regulated financial institutions; and
- freely available to spend and invest in the UK.
The Home Office may check that the funds are from a credible and lawful source and that the applicant has control of the funds.
It is also possible to switch into the Tier 1 Investor category if the applicant is already in the UK under Tier 1, 2 or 4 of the points-based system.
Length and conditions of stay in the UK
Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. If they are switching into this category from within the UK, they will be granted leave for 3 years. Applicants can then apply to extend their stay in the UK for an initial period of 2 years, and further extension applications can continue to be made, providing they meet the criteria for extension applications.
Under the extension criteria applicants must demonstrate that:
- they have at least £2 million under their control in the UK;
- they have invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in UK companies; and
- they invested this sum within three months of the date they came into the UK, or the date that their original visa application was approved.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held a Tier 1 Investor visa for a period of at least 5 years and demonstrated that they have invested £2 million by meeting the criteria above.
An application for accelerated settlement can be made after 2 years if the applicant has increased their investment to £10 million or 3 years if the investment has been increased to £5 million.
Applicants must also demonstrate that:
- they have spent the specified period in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
- they meet the requirements in relation to absences; and
- they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test.
Tier 1 Investor visa applicants who have invested £1 million
Under the rules in place prior to November 2014, investors needed to invest a minimum of £1 million in the UK to qualify for a visa.
Investors who have not yet obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain and who are still relying on a £1 million investment must file an application to extend their stay before 6 April 2020 and/or an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain by 6 April 2022.
In order for an application to succeed that is filed after the above dates, the investor must increase their investment to at least £2 million. Importantly, they will also need to complete the full qualifying period with the new level of investment (5 years at £2 million, 3 years at £5 million and 2 years at £10 million).
Tier 1 Investor visa applicants who have invested in government bonds
Government bonds were removed as a qualifying investment in March 2019.
Investors relying on a portfolio that includes government bonds must make an application to extend their stay before 6 April 2023 and for ILR before 6 April 2025. Applications filed after these dates must not include government bonds.
Tier 1 Investor visa applications: How we can help
The Home Office will carefully scrutinise an application for a Tier 1 Investor visa. If it does not consider that the applicant has the funds under their control or if it considers that any of the other requirements have not been met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore essential that the application is prepared thoroughly and carefully.
We are experienced in preparing Tier 1 Investor visa applications to ensure a successful outcome and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
For further advice, please contact us.