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Investor Visas for Non-EEA Investors

Non-EEA investors that are investing in the UK may be eligible for a Tier 1 Investor Visa (“Tier 1 Visa”).

The Tier 1 Visa is a visa for high net worth individuals outside of the EEA who are making a substantial investment in the UK.

In 2014 the Home Office changed many of the requirements for a Tier 1 Visa, which included increasing the amount of substantial investment required. These changes led to a significant decrease in applications for Tier 1 Visas. Applicants who intend to make a substantial investment of over $2 million, wish to live in the UK, and are open to probing regarding the source of their funds will not be affected by the changes.

Tier 1 Visa Requirements

In order to be successful in obtaining a Tier 1 Visa applicants must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  1. Show that they have the required funds of at least $2 million and that the funds are either held in a UK regulated bank account or transferable to the UK.
  1. Held the funds for at least 90 days prior to the application. If an applicant has not held the funds for 90 days they will be required to provide evidence of the source of funds. The evidence provided is normally by way of Deed of Gift and confirmation letter from a lawyer that the Deed is binding.
  1. Provide a criminal record certificate for themselves and their dependants for any country they have resided, for 12 months or more, ten years prior to making the application.
  1. Be prepared to be probed by the Home Office as to whether or not the applicant:
    • is in control of the funds;
    • has acquired the funds by way of unlawful conduct; or
    • has received funds from a third party by way of gift whose character and conduct is not conducive to the public good.

Dependents

Successful applicants may invite their spouse, civil partner, partner and/or children under the age of 18 to join them as dependants.

Conditions of the Visa

Tier 1 Visa migrants must abide by the following conditions:

  1. Register with the police
  2. Make the investment within 90 days of entering the UK or 90 days of being granted the residence permit if already living in the UK.
  3. Make the investment in permitted type of investment which includes: government bonds or share or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
  4. The investment must remain in the UK. The investment can no longer be invested in balancing capital, preventing investment of the funds into UK property.
  5. Not to be employed as a doctor, dentist in training (unless the migrant has previously obtained a degree from a UK institution) or sports person.

Duration of the Tier 1 Visa

Applicants who make the application outside the UK will be granted 3 years and 4 months leave. Applicants who made the application whilst living in the UK under another visa and switched to a Tier 1 Visa will be granted 3 years leave.

It is possible for Tier 1 migrants to extend their visas for an additional two years. There is no limit on the amount of times an applicant may apply for an extension.

Tier 1 migrants who have lived in the UK for over a certain period of time may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The time period required is dependent upon the amount of investment made.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

If a Tier 1 migrant have invested $2 million they may apply for settlement after 5 years.

If a Tier 1 migrant has invested $5 million they may apply for settlement after 3 years.

If a Tier 1 Migrant has invested $10 million they may apply for settlement after 2 years.

An applicant for Indefinite Leave to Remain may not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days per year.

It is important to note that a Dependant will not be able to apply for settlement until after 5 years. It is therefore possible that the applicant will be granted indefinite leave before their dependants.

Citizenship

If a Tier 1 migrant has lived in the UK for 5 years and held Indefinite Leave to Remain for one year they will be eligible to apply for citizenship. If a migrant has invested $5 or $10 million they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years. If a migrant has invested $2 million they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after 6 years. All dependants will be eligible after 6 years.

Applicants should mindful of their absences from the UK. An applicant should not have more than 450 days of absences in the five years prior to their application for citizenship and no more than 90 days of absences in the last year prior to their application. The Home Office has discretion to waive any excess absences but it is highly suggested that applicants adhere to the Home Office’s absence requirements.

 Conclusion

Applicants should take considerable care when applying for a Tier 1 Investor Visa and ensure that they meet the necessary requirements. ELS Legal do not provide advice on immigration law but are happy to suggest lawyers that may assist you in making your application to the Home Office.

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ELS Legal is a legal firm based in the City of London. We are located in the historic and traditional street of Ely Place near Holborn. Established in 1290, Ely Place is today the home of many modern and forward looking legal firms.

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