Tier 1 Investor visa

The Tier 1 Investor scheme was introduced to enable affluent individuals interested in UK-based investment opportunities to enter and remain in the United Kingdom.  Along with being one of the most popular entry routes for wealthy individuals, the Tier 1 Investor visa also represents one of the simplest schemes available, as far as requirements and qualification criteria are concerned.

Tier 1 Investor visa holders also have the opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to remain after a specified period of time, in accordance with the amount of money they invest:

  • £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.

Prior to November 2014, it was possible to qualify for a Tier 1 Investor visa by investing a minimum of £1 million, under the condition that further “top-up” investments were added if the total amount fell below this £1 million during the five-year period. The minimum investment has since been increased to £2 million.

Initial Application

For your initial application to be successful, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have a minimum of £2 million at your disposal, held by a regulated financial institution in the United Kingdom. Please note that the money doesn’t necessarily have to be your own – funds sourced from third-party contributors including family members and other third parties are also eligible.

These funds must be held in an appropriate bank account for a minimum of three months prior to the date of the application. Otherwise, the applicant is required to provide evidence of where the funds were sourced from and when, providing formal documentation such as the following:

  • Deeds of sale
  • A last will and testament
  • Business documentation
  • Divorce settlements
  • Award of winnings
  • Formal gifts

As of September 2015, it’s also been necessary to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country the applicant has resided in the 12 or more continuous months, during the 10 years prior to the date of their application. The same also applies to any adult dependants included in the application.

As with all entrepreneur visa programs, the main applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time they submit their application.

Important Considerations Before Applying

Please note that Entry Clearance Officers and immigration caseworkers in general have the authority to reject applications should they suspect that:

  • The investment funds are not under the direct control of the applicant;
  • The funds were sourced by unlawful means or through channels considered unethical or unsuitable by the Home Office;
  • The individual applying for the visa has demonstrated conduct or has associations that deem their entry to the UK against the good of the public.

Requirements Upon Obtaining a Tier 1 Investor Visa

If your application is successful, you will be expected to fulfil a series of important requirements within a specific time period:

  • An investment totalling a minimum of £2 million must be made in qualified investments (share or loan capital in active and trading UK companies, or UK government bonds);
  • Tier 1 Investor applicants are permitted to sell parts of their current UK portfolio in order to purchase new qualifying investments, should they wish to do so. However, the total investment amount must remain at or above the £2 million threshold at all times.
  • Exemptions apply for individuals who applied for Tier 1 Investor visas prior to November 2014. Please contact a member of our business immigration team to discuss the specifics of your case in more detail.

Extension Applications

As of November 2014, the rules governing extension applications for Tier 1 Investors specify the following:

  • The applicant must provide evidence of investments totalling a minimum of £2 million in the UK, in the form of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies;
  • Evidence must also be submitted to show that this minimum investment requirement was satisfied no later than three months following the applicant’s entry to the UK.
  • Formal documentation showing that the minimum £2 million threshold has been upheld throughout the applicant’s period of leave must also be provided.

As with various business immigration categories, the Tier 1 Investor schemes require that the applicants earn a minimum of 75 points to qualify – in accordance with Appendix A of the Immigration Rules.

One important note: points are not awarded in instances where the funds are invested in businesses involved in property management or property development ventures.

If the investor satisfies all Home Office requirements and abides by the term of their initial visa, they will be able to apply for an initial two years of leave. This will subsequently take the applicant all the way to the five-year threshold, after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

For applicants investing £10 million, indefinite leave to remain can be applied for after just two years. Likewise, an investment in the UK totalling £5 million can fast-track IDL-application eligibility to three years.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Requirements Before November 2014

As stated, some of the requirements governing Tier 1 Investor visa eligibility were overhauled in November 2014. Prior to this date, the following rules applied:

  • The investor must provide evidence of a minimum of £1 million under their direct control at the time of their application; or
  • The applicant must provide evidence of personal assets with a total combined value in excess of £2 million and have access to funds totalling no less than £1 million, provided by way of a loan from a recognised  and regulated UK lender; and
  • The applicant must provide evidence of an investment worth no less than £750,000 in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies other than those principally engaged in property investment; and
  • The remaining balance of the £1 million minimum must be used for purchasing assets or maintained on deposit in a UK regulated financial institution.

In addition, the investments referred to above must have been made:

  1. No later than three months following the applicant’s entry to the United Kingdom, if they entered the UK as a Tier 1 Investor and there is exact evidence of their date of arrival; or
  2. No later than three months after being granted entry to the United Kingdom, if they entered the UK on a Tier 1 Investor visa and there is no evidence of their exact entry date; or
  3. Where the investment was made prior to the first grant of leave as a Tier 1 (Investor), no earlier than 12 months before the date of the application which led to the first grant of leave as a Tier 1 Investor.

In all instances, the applicant must provide comprehensive evidence of the level of investment made and its subsequent maintenance throughout their period of leave in the United Kingdom. Exemptions may apply where the applicant’s last grant was as an Investor (under the Rules in force prior to June 30, 2008).

Under the points-based Tier 1 Investor immigration system, applicants must earn a minimum of 75 points to qualify. If all requirements are satisfied and terms adhered to for the duration of their stay, the applicant may qualify for an extension of two years, after which they may choose to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

In the case of investments totalling £10 million or £5 million, there is no need to apply for an extension – indefinite leave to remain can be applied for after a period of two years or three years respectively.

The Benefits of a Tier 1 Investor Visa

Some of the biggest points of appeal that make the Tier 1 Investor such an attractive option include the following:

  • No English language requirements to satisfy whatsoever
  • No evidence needed of maintenance or savings
  • The applicant can bring dependants with them to the UK
  • Limited study and work restrictions apply
  • Successful applicants are permitted to spend up to 180 days outside the UK during each calendar year

In addition, the Tier 1 Investor scheme is the fastest and easiest way for wealthy foreigners to obtain a UK passport.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Lawyers in Luton

Securing expert legal support at the earliest possible stage can ensure every step of the application process is streamlined and simplified. Here at Aristone Solicitors, we can help determine your eligibility and ensure your application is backed by strong supporting evidence. Whether planning ahead or dealing with an in-progress Tier 1 Investor visa application, we’re standing by to offer our full support. Contact a member of our business immigration team today to book your obligation-free consultation.

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