Investor Visa (Tier 1)

Investor visa

Please note that the Investor Visa (Tier 1) has closed for new applications on 17 February 2022. You can read more here.

The Investor Visa (previously known as the Tier 1 Investor Visa)  is a very lucrative visa category available for high net worth individuals, making a substantial financial investment in the United Kingdom.

The visa allows investors a good degree of flexibility regarding settlement and work in the UK. Major investors may be able to qualify for an expedited timeline to settlement in the UK as opposed to the normal settlement timeline applicable to other types of visa holders. It is a highly advantageous UK immigration route, and many consider it as the ultimate route to relocate to the UK.   

How to qualify for the Investor Visa (Tier 1)

The investor has to be 18 years or older.

Have at least £2 million investment funds, and this money must belong to and be under the control of you, your spouse or partner.

Investment Funds

You have to have a bank account at a regulated UK bank for your funds.

The investment funds must be disposable in the UK. It must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions but can be in the UK or outside when you apply.

The funds can be from any legal source. You must be able to provide documents that can adequately prove the source of the money along with independent supporting evidence.

The visa holder has to invest the funds within three months of entry into the UK. These funds can only be invested in share or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.

Once you obtain the status of Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can withdraw your investment funds, should you wish to.

English Language Requirement

There is no need to fulfil an English language or maintenance requirement that applies to most other UK visa categories.

However, you will be required to fulfil an English language requirement when applying for Settlement in the UK.

Criminal Record Certificate

You have to provide a criminal record certificate from any country in which you have stayed for longer than twelve months over the past ten years.

This requirement also applies to all adult family members applying as your dependants.

Switching to the Investor Visa

Applicants can switch to the Investor Visa from inside the UK if they are currently in one of the following immigration categories; Tier 1 General, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, any Tier 2 category or a Student visa.

Applicants in other visa categories cannot switch from within the UK. They have to leave the UK and apply from abroad.

Spouses and Dependents

Your spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and children under 18 years can apply to accompany you to the UK. Dependents can also include children over 18 years if they are currently in the UK as your dependants.

Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for specific advice relating to your family members that want to accompany you.

Right to Work on the Investor Visa

There are no work or study restrictions on the Investor Visa (Tier 1). However, you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

There are some restrictions should you wish to work as a doctor or dentist in training. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for specific advice in this regard.

Length of Stay

It is possible to come to the UK for three years and four months. The investor can then apply to extend the visa for another two years.

Investors can apply to settle after two, three or five years, depending on their investment.

Investors who need to extend to reach ILR, have to apply for an extension before their current Investor visa expires. It is important to note that there are also criteria you have to fulfil to qualify for a visa extension. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for guidance on your visa extension.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The applicant applying for the Investor visa (Tier 1) has to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. The payment process is part of the visa application.

All dependents accompanying the main visa holder also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their application.

Indefinite Leave to Remain and the Investor Visa

One of the biggest advantages of the UK Investor visa is that it offers fast paths to UK settlement.

When an Investor qualifies for settlement in the UK depends on the amount of money he/she is investing:

  • £10 million investment – apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after two years.
  • £5 million investment – apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after three years.
  • £2 million investment –apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years.

Investors have to keep the residence requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain in mind. Investors cannot spend more than 180 days outside the UK in a year. The 180 days are counted as days outside the UK in any rolling 12-month period during the three years leading to ILR. Investors must keep careful records of their travels. This will ensure that you do not exceed the number of days outside the UK.

Unfortunately, your dependents will not qualify for the accelerated paths to settlement. They will qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after spending five years in the UK as a dependant.

How Breytenbachs can help

Breytenbachs have a dedicated and highly experienced team of experts dealing with UK Investor and Business visas. As the UK Investor visa is a very complex application, requiring several financial and other supporting documents, we highly recommend that you consult with a Breytenbachs consultant. Your Breytenbachs consultant will guide you through the application process. We will also ensure that your investment is maintained in line with the criteria.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or to start your application. 

Investor Visa (Tier 1)

Please contact us today for further information or applications.