Tier 1 (Investor) Visa. Frequently Asked Questions
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is a passive investment programme, designed for high-net-worth individuals who have at least £2million to invest in actively trading UK companies. Those who hold a Tier 1 (Investor) visa are permitted to work, study and engage in business activities in the UK. They can also be accompanied or joined by their dependants which includes spouse/unmarried partner and children.
Q: I thought the Investor visa was closed?
A: No. The UK Investor visa category has not been closed. It is open to new applicants who have at least £2 million to invest into actively trading UK companies. It also remains open for previous applicants looking to make an extension application. The criteria and documents required are complex and should be reviewed by a qualified immigration lawyer.
Q: Do I have to invest in the UK forever?
A: No. You only need to invest at least £2 million into the UK for the duration you require a visa or until you obtain settlement. There is no fee or cash payment to the government. As an investor, you just invest your money as shares or loan into a UK company, which may well increase in value.
Q: Will I get a British Passport if I have an Investor visa?
A: The Tier 1 (Investor) visa route provides a route to settlement. The amount of time you are required to reside in the UK on a Tier 1 (Investor) visa before you can get settlement depends on how much money you invest. Settlement can be obtained in either 2, 3 or 5 years. Once you have had settlement, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain, for 12 months, you can then apply to be naturalised as a British citizen. Once your naturalisation application is approved, you can apply for your passport.
Q: I want to come to the UK as an Investor. Does my wife need to invest £2 million as well?
A: One of many good things about the Investor visa is that the main applicant can bring their family members, such as their spouse or unmarried partner and dependent children under the age of 18, without the family members needing to invest into the UK. The family members will be issued a visa for the same duration as the Tier 1 (Investor).
Q: Do I need to show where I got the £2 million from?
A: If you have held the £2 million in your name for a period exceeding 2 years, then you only need to show that you have held it for the 2 year duration. If you have held your investment funds for less than 2 years then you can still qualify for a UK Investor visa but you will need to show the source of funds. The Immigration Rules require very specific documents to evidence the source of funds, with each document needing to include certain information and wording.
Q: A friend has invested into government bonds, why do I have to invest into a company?
A: In March 2019, the Immigration Rules changed what investments are acceptable. Prior to 29 March 2019, an applicant could purchase UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. Since 29 March 2019, the only investment permitted is into actively trading UK companies. It is important to note that investments in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management and/or property development are not prohibited. There are also strict requirements in relation to how you invest your funds.
Q: If I have an Investor visa, do I need to live in the UK?
A: Luckily the investor visa gives you the freedom to enter and exit the UK as you wish. There is no specific requirement of how many days you have to spend in the UK on an investor visa. However, if your plan is to obtain settlement in the UK and then British nationality, you will need to make sure your absences from the UK do not exceed 180 days in any 12-month period as this could impact your application for settlement.
Q: Do I need to know English to get an Investor Visa?
A: Another perk of the investor visa is that you do not need to be able to speak English to a certain level or take any tests. However, if you wish to apply for settlement, you will need to pass an English test.
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