United Kingdom

United Kingdom Investment Immigration Programs Overview

NOTE: The UK scrapped the Tier 1 Investor Visa route on February 17, 2022.

The UK residency routes offer a chance to settle in a stable, cosmopolitan country with a vibrant business community, free healthcare (for its permanent residents), and some of the best schools and universities in the world. 

The programs are aimed at people who want to settle permanently in the UK and offers a valuable pathway to residency and eventually citizenship. After several years as a resident, investors will receive permanent residency. 

CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

UK does not operate a citizenship-by-investment program. Previously, investors were able to receive admission to the UK under the Tier 1 Investor Visa program; however, they could qualify for citizenship after a minimum of five years of residency, without making any additional investments. The investor visa program was scrapped on February 17, 2022. 

Investors must have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, the British equivalent of permanent residency before applying for citizenship. In most cases, Investors must hold ILR for at least 12 months unless they are married or in a civil partnership with a British Citizen at the time of ILR. 

To qualify for ILR, Investors are also required to reside in the UK for at least 6 months in any rolling 12 months. There is higher scrutiny to British citizenship applications but flexibility can be applied to a certain degree.

Other options to gain residency in the UK include the Graduate visa route, which is specifically aimed at international students, and the Global Talent stream that offers 5-year long stays to leaders in the fields of academia, digital technology, and arts and culture.

HOW TO APPLY

Investors must open a British bank account or investment account and demonstrate they have at least 2 million pounds available for investment in the UK, typically by providing a portfolio report, bank documents, or other evidence. Funds can be held overseas at the time of application but must be deposited with a registered financial institution capable of complying with British verification checks as well as freely transferable to the UK and convertible into Pound Sterling. If the applicant already has such an account in the UK, funds invested within the past year can be counted toward the threshold.

The funds can be held by the applicant, or jointly with or solely by their spouse or unmarried partner. The UK closely monitors the sources of funds if the applicant has not held the money for a consecutive 2-year period prior to the submission of an application. Authorities can issue rejections when it believes funds were acquired through means that would have been illegal in the UK, or if it believes the funds were provided by a third party of questionable character or associations.

Investors are not required to demonstrate English-language proficiency but must provide criminal record certificates for every country where they have lived for more than 12 months, either continuously or accumulated, over the previous decade. Applications should be filed, along with a 1,623-pound filing fee and 1,872-pound immigration health surcharges, no more than three months before travel, and are typically processed within three weeks of receipt.

MOBILITY

The ILR status does not automatically allow visa-free travel. Once the visa-holder qualifies for British citizenship, it changes considerably: the British passport is one of the strongest in the world, offering visa-free travel to 175 countries.

The British travel and employment rights in Europe has changed but the passport-holders are able to stay in EU countries for up to 90 days in any 180 days. 

COUNTRY

Britain remains a major international power and a global financial hub. Despite Brexit, UK remains one of Europe’s most powerful economies, and its stability, world-class educational system, and free health service for permanent resident should ensure it remains a magnet for immigration investors in coming years.

Updated by Henan Zhang and Uglobal Staff

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Citizenship By Investment

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Residency By Investment

The UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa was designed for investors from all over the world. The British government ended this visa route on February 17, 2022.

Graduate route
The Graduate visa route was launched in 2021 which allows international students to stay in the UK for up to three additional years upon completion of their studies for the purpose of finding jobs. Those pursuing a master's degree get two years on top of their one to two year long education period; PhD. students get three additional years to stay in the country.

Global Talent visa 
This 5-year renewable visa is open to all foreigners who are considered as leaders in academia, arts and culture, and digital technology. Applicants need to show endorsements from reputable and accredited bodies to qualify for this visa.

New visa streams on the cards in 2022:

High Potential Individual route would be aimed towards attracting graduates from top global universities.

Global Business Mobility stream will specifically be offered to those who want to come to the UK and grow their existing global businesses and employ people from within the UK.

Scale-up Route would be aimed at attracting the elite among highly talented and qualified foreigners. This route is expected to be launched in 2022 and will be in addition to the Global Talent visa stream.
 
Revitalized Innovator route will be offered to foreign entrepreneurs looking for speedy growth in the UK.

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The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program has stopped accepting new applications until April 1, 2021

The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program

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