The main method for acquiring British citizenship via investment is the Tier 1 (Investor) visa, which provides a streamlined pathway for investors.
What is Tier 1 Investor visa status?
This special investment visa lets the holder and their dependents live in the UK, and if they meet the requirements, they can eventually become British citizens.
For example, applicants will have to put a minimum amount of money into the UK and keep that money there while they live there. You have to invest in active trading companies registered in the UK. You don’t have to donate. You might also be able to take advantage of the non-domiciled tax system for UK residents.
The Tier 1 investor visa demand process is usually faster than other routes and can be done in as little as 4 weeks.
The activities that people with a Tier 1 investor visa are allowed to do are less strict than other ways to move to the UK.
The bearer of a Tier 1 Investor visa is allowed to stay, work, and enroll in school in the UK for up to three years and four months. The applicant’s spouse and kids under 18 can also apply as dependents to join the main visa holder. Your kids will be able to take advantage of the UK’s education system, one of the best in the world.
But if you have a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, you can’t get public funds like benefits and tax credits because you have enough money to live in the UK on your own.
- You also can’t work as a professional athlete or coach or train as a doctor or dentist, except in certain situations.
- With a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 3 years and 4 months, and you can apply to extend it for another 2 years.
Qualification for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa
To be able to use the Tier 1 investor visa to become a British citizen by investing, you will need to meet the visa requirements. You need at least £2 million to invest in the UK and be at least 18 years old.
Your assets must be:
- Located in a single or more regulated financial institution.
- In the UK, money is “disposable” or free to spend.
When you apply, your capital can be in the UK or elsewhere.
You won’t have to meet any English language requirements for the investor visa. However, you will have to do so if you later want to apply for ILR and citizenship.
The investment funds are subject to strict guidelines.
The amount of the investment that will be used for the application must be put into an account at a bank regulated in the UK. It must be in British pounds. You’ll have to show that the money belongs to you or your husband, wife, unmarried partner, or same-sex partner and that it can be used in the UK.
It has to be put into a UK-based company actively doing business. It can’t be kept in property or assets.
Within 90-days of getting your visa, you must invest the money in shares and loan capital in a UK-registered company actively trading. When you have your visa, you must keep investment of at least £2 million, but you can take out any money you make from the investment.
You should think carefully about these investments because some of them, like investments in certain property companies and open-ended investment companies (OEICs), is not allowed by the visa terms.
If you sell an investment, you can’t buy a new one for less than what the old one sold for. The new investment must be bought by the end of the reporting period or six months after the sale, whichever comes first.
Even though the funds don’t have to be in the UK when you apply, it’s important to check if there are any rules or restrictions in the country where they are held that could make it hard to move them to the UK.
How is a Tier 1 (Investor) visa application processed?
You can’t apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa more than three months before you plan to visit the UK.
You must often fill out an online form to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
As part of the application process, you must provide many documents and proof that you are eligible and that the investment funds meet the requirements. The documents for the applicant are:
- A valid passport with one or more blank pages or another form of travel-authorized identification.
- Acriminal record certificate.
Anyone who has lived in a country for at least one year in the last ten years must show a criminal record certificate. This one-year time frame doesn’t have to go on and on. The certificate must be recent, meaning it must have been given within six months of applying for your visa.
Additionally, selected applicants must undergo a TB test and submit the findings to the Home Office. The main purpose of the investment fund documents is to prove that the applicant is the owner of the funds. They include:
- Proof of how much and where it is kept
- Confirm where the money came from if the person hasn’t had it for more than two years.
- Confirmation that the funds can be changed into pounds sterling and moved to the UK if they are held outside of the UK at the time of the application.
- Proof of the applicant’s bank account with a UK-licensed banking institution
If the money belongs to your spouse or partner, you will need to show the following:
Proof of your connection with your spouse, such as a marriage certificate, joint mortgage paperwork, joint bank account documents, a child’s birth certificate indicating both partners as parents, a life insurance policy naming the other partner as the beneficiary, etc., demonstrating that you have been together for more than two years or are married;
A letter from your spouse or partner says you have permission to manage the money in the UK. A letter from a lawyer is saying that the permission letter is valid.
A certified translation will also be needed if any of the application papers are not in Welsh or English.
To get a biometric residence authorized, you must also give information about your biometrics.
Within three to four weeks of the date you sent in your application, the Home Office should let you know what it thinks about it. If any documents are missing or wrong, the Home Office will contact you and tell you that you must send the right documents within ten working days.
What does it cost to get a Tier 1 (Investor) visa?
The fee for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa right now is £1623. (as of April 2021). The Immigration healthcare premium must also be paid during the validity of the visa.