2 million pounds
Tier 1 Investment Visa
Visa Free Travel
The UK residency program offers 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 program is 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. It will take a minimum of three years under the accelerated route for the main application but typically six years before they can qualify for citizenship.
UK does not operate a citizenship-by-investment program. Investors who receive admission to the UK under the Tier 1 Investor Visa program, however, can qualify for citizenship after a minimum of five years of residency, without making any additional investments. To expedite the process, Investors can choose to top-up the investment by additional 3 or 8 million pounds. 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.
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.
A Tier 1 investor visa does not confer automatic travel rights to a third country, and even 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.
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
The UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa is designed for investors from all over the world.
The core visa requires applicants to demonstrate that they have no less than 2 million pounds available to invest in the UK through share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The investment does not have to be completed prior to receiving a Tier 1 visa, but the investment should be made within three months of arrival in order to qualify for subsequent visa extensions and a pathway to citizenship. Investments made up to 12 months prior to the application can also be counted towards the 2-million-pound total.
Successful applicants receive a visa that remains valid for 3 years and 4 months, which can then be extended for an additional two years if the investments were made promptly and properly maintained. After five years, applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. One year after receiving ILR status, investors qualify for British citizenship.
The Tier 1 program also offers two fast-track programs that can allow investors to obtain permanent status more quickly. Applicants who invest 5 million pounds can obtain ILR status after three years, while applicants who invest 10 million pounds can obtain ILR status after two years. In both fast-track scenarios, investors would be able to apply for naturalization five years after arriving in the UK.
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