Overview of the Tier 1 Investor Initial Application
- In order to qualify for a Tier 1 Investor visa, the applicant must have a minimum of £2 million at their disposal and ready to invest in the UK.
- They must also have organised an account with a recognised and regulated bank in the UK, which will be used to invest the funds accordingly.
- The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are in complete control of the funds and that they can be immediately accessed when required.
- Evidence must be provided to substantiate the legal and ethical methods by which the investment funds were obtained by the applicant.
- All applications take into account the conduct, character and associations of the applicant, which must not be deemed a threat to the good of the public.
The UK Home Office offers a variety of emigration schemes to attract investors, entrepreneurs, skilled workers and exceptional individuals in general to the United Kingdom. However, the government is continuously intensifying its scrutiny of every application submitted across all visa categories. Now more than ever, the fastest and easiest access pathway to the United Kingdom for wealthy individuals is under the Tier 1 Investor scheme.
This unique entry programme targets affluent individuals with the intention of investing significant amounts of money in the UK. There are very few criteria to fulfil (compared to some other visa categories) and the amount of money invested determines how quickly the applicant can subsequently apply for settled status.
Current requirements are as follows:
- £10 million allows you to apply for settlement in 2 years;
- £5 million allows you to apply for settlement in 3 years;
- £2 million allows you to apply for settlement in 5 years.
As things stand today, the UK’s Tier 1 Investor provides one of the fastest immigration pathways of any G8 nation and measures eligibility by way of a series of simple criteria.
For example, no specific English language skills are necessary and the applicant doesn’t need to meet the usual maintenance requirements. Tier 1 Investors are permitted to seek employment, but it’s assumed this will not be necessary due to their existing wealth. Likewise, general proof of financial status (maintenance) is unnecessary due to the size of the investment required to qualify.
There’s comparatively little likelihood of an eligible Tier 1 Investor attempting to claim benefits or put a drain on public funds, allowing such applications to be evaluated and processed much more quickly.
Changes to Immigration Rules Affecting Tier 1 Investors
Significant changes to Tier 1 Investor visa rules and regulations were implemented in April 2015. The most important of which are outlined below:
- It is now necessary to open a UK regulated investment account before submitting a Tier 1 Investor application
Before the 2015 overhaul, applicants had three months to meet the minimum investment requirements following their entry to the UK. Today, the investment account needs to be set up before the application is submitted. In some instances, this may mean applying for initial entry clearance as a visitor, in order to travel to the United Kingdom or make the necessary arrangements. In which case, Aristone Solicitors can provide the support you need to prepare for your Tier 1 Investor visa application.
- The minimum age has been raised from 16 to 18
It is no longer possible for an overseas investor to qualify for Tier 1 Investor visa, before reaching the age of 18.
- Additional investment clarification
There is no longer any requirement for a successful Tier 1 Investor visa applicant to ‘top-up’ their investment if its total value falls below the minimum £2 million threshold. However, they will need to make reasonable efforts to ensure this doesn’t happen and ensure they reinvest gross proceeds of all sales in the relevant investment portfolio(s). The Tier 1 Investor scheme is now part of the UK’s points-based immigration system, under which a minimum of 75 points must be scored for a visa to be granted.
- £2 million held in a regulated financial institution
The applicant is required to provide evidence of a minimum of £2 million of their own money under their complete control, held by a regulated financial institution. The funds must be immediately accessible and disposable in the UK, and can be jointly owned with a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner.
A UK bank account must be opened with a regulated Financial Service provider for the purposes of investing the £2 million minimum. Records must also show that the funds have been held in a recognised back account for a minimum of three months prior to the date of the application, or additional evidence may be required to verify the source of the funds. Acceptable documentation includes:
- Deeds of sale
- A last will and testament
- Business documentation
- Divorce settlements
- Award of winnings
- Formal gifts
The Home Office may question and scrutinise the source of the investor’s capital, in order to ensure that the money has not been obtained through illegal or unethical means. Even if the funds have been obtained through legal channels in the applicant’s home country, the method may be considered unlawful in the UK and thus invalidate their application.
Switching to a Tier 1 Investor Visa
It is possible for individuals under certain visa categories to switch to the Tier 1 Investor category and access its unique benefits accordingly. In order to switch, the applicant must already reside in the UK under one of the following visa categories:
- A highly skilled migrant
- A Tier 1 (General) migrant
- A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
- A Tier 1 (Post – Study Work) migrant
- A Tier 2 migrant
- A Businessperson
- An Innovator
- A Tier 4 student
- A student
- A student nurse
- A student re-sitting an examination
- A student writing up a thesis
- A Work Permit holder
- A writer, composer or artist
- An Investor
Updated legislation includes the requirement for Tier 1 Investor visa applicants and adult dependants included in their application to provide overseas criminal record certificates for countries in which they have resided for 12 continuous months or more, during the 10 years prior to their application.
It’s also important to ensure that current exchange rates are carefully considered at the time of your application, in order to ensure that your funds held in foreign currency meet the minimum specified requirements. The UK’s Home Office considers exchange rates in accordance with the rates published on the day by www.oanda.com.
Tier 1 Investor Visa Immigration Lawyers in Luton
While the Tier 1 Investor scheme is considered comparatively straightforward, there are still countless essential criteria that must be fulfilled in order to qualify. Along with the information you provide in your application, the formal evidence you submit to support your case will have a marked impact on the outcome. Aristone Solicitors can provide the expert support and consultancy you need to present your case with confidence. Whatever your current situation and requirements, we’re standing by to support your application from start to finish. Call today to book your obligation-free consultation with one of our experts.