USA and the UK
UK Investor Visa
The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is for those looking to invest large amounts of money into the UK. As an American, you could be eligible for this visa if you have at least £2,000,000 to invest in active and trading businesses in the UK.
The funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and the funds must be freely available to spend in the UK.
This UK immigration permission offers particularly attractive benefits. An Investor Visa holder can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after just two, there or five years of residence in the UK, depending on the level of their business activities in the country.
- Eligibility criteria for UK Tier 1 Investor Visa
- Evidence of investment funds
- Requirements for the UK Business
- Evidence of UK bank account
- Document checklist for UK Investor Visa
- Fees & application process
- Family dependents
- Validity period
- Investor Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain
- How to apply for British citizenship
Eligibility Criteria for UK Tier 1 Investor Visa
The main requirement for the UK Investor Visa is that you have at least £2,000,000 in investment funds and that you have access to the funds. You will need to provide substantial evidence of the investment funds which you have access to.
In addition to this, you will need to meet a number of other conditions to be eligible, including:
- You must be at least 18-years-old
- You must be able to prove that the money belongs either to you, your spouse/civil partner or your de facto partner
- You must have opened an account at a UK regulated bank
Your funds must be held in at least one regulated financial institution and the funds must be disposable, which means that the funds must be free to spend. The funds can be in the United States (or elsewhere) when you complete your Investor Visa application.
What do I Need to Know About Evidence of Investment Funds?
If you want to invest your own money in the UK, you will need to show evidence of the sum of money you have available to you, and how you received it.
It is also possible to use your partner’s money for your investments. If you plan to use your partner’s money, you will need to provide the following information in your application:
- An official certificate of marriage/civil partnership
- If you are not married to your partner, you will need to provide evidence which demonstrates that you have been in a long-term relationship which has lasted for at least two years, and is akin to marriage
- Your partner will need to provide a statement which states that they give permission for you to use the funds. The statement must be accompanied by a letter from a legal advisor in which they confirm the validity of the declaration
What are the Requirements for the UK Business?
As well as the requirements around the investment funds, there are also conditions which need to be met in relation to the UK business which you want to invest in.
The business which you want to invest in must be an active and trading one and officially registered in the UK.
You need to ensure that:
- The UK business has been registered with Companies House in the UK
- The UK business has at least two UK-based employees, in addition to the directors
- The business is registered with HM Revenue and Customs for corporation tax and PAYE purposes
- The UK business must have registered UK bank accounts
Evidence of a UK Bank Account
In your portfolio of evidence, you need to provide a letter which proves you have a UK bank account from which you can use your investment funds.
The letter which you provide must:
- Have been issued by an authorized official
- State your name and account number
- Be dated within 3 months of the date of the application
- Be on the official headed paper of the bank
- Confirm that you have opened an account with the bank for the purpose of investing £2,000,000
- Confirm checks for money laundering have been carried out
- Confirm the bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
Document Checklist for UK Investor Visa
You will need to submit a substantial portfolio of evidence to the UK Home Office with your Investor Visa application.
A document checklist for a UK Investor Visa will need to include the following:
- Your passport or another identification document
- A criminal record certificate for any country which you have lived in for at least twelve months over the previous ten years
- A portfolio of your investments, if available
- A certificate of marriage or civil partnership if you will be using your partner’s money. (If you will be using the funds of your long-term partner who isn’t your spouse or civil partner, you will need to provide evidence to prove the validity of the relationship)
- A confirmation letter from a UK regulated bank that confirms that you have a valid bank account to use the funds
The portfolio of evidence is a key part of the Investor Visa application. In addition to the documents above, you may need to provide other documents. It is imperative that you include all relevant information and documentation in your application. Failure to do so will result in delays in the processing of your application and, potentially, a rejected application.
We can help you to prepare your portfolio of evidence. Our UK immigration lawyers will take the time to understand your circumstances and will inform you of the information which you need to provide. This guidance can be invaluable to those completing UK immigration applications.
Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 for more information.
Fees & Application Process
You must apply online for the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa. It is strongly advised that you only start the online application after you have your portfolio of evidence compiled. The application cost is currently £1,623.
You can expect to receive a decision on your application within twelve weeks of the date it is received by the UK Home Office.
You can receive a decision quicker if you choose one of the priority services. With the priority service, your application will be processed within five working days, at an additional cost of £500. Alternatively, you could opt for the super priority service which will process your application in one working day at an additional cost of £800.
As part of the application process, you will need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken at a visa application center. Usually, you will be instructed to provide your biometrics at a center in the United States. It costs £19.20 to provide your biometric information.
When you arrive in the UK, you will need to collect your biometric residence permit within the first ten days of the date which you said you would arrive in the UK.
The immigration health surcharge is another fee to keep in mind. As an Investor Visa holder, you will need to pay £624 per year for the immigration health surcharge.
Can I Include Dependents in my Application?
Certain family members will be able to join you in the UK on the basis of their relationship to you.
A dependent can be any of the following:
- Your spouse/civil partner or long-term partner
- A child under 18
- A child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependent
A dependent family member will need to a criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for at least twelve months in the last ten years.
As dependents, they will need to complete an online application (and pay the full fee of £1,623) and have their biometric information taken, just as the Investor Visa applicant does.
UK Investor Visa Validity Period
The Investor Visa is valid for a maximum period of 3 years and 4 months. Before your Investor Visa expires, you can apply for an extension, which will be valid for a further two years.
It costs £1,623 to extend the Investor Visa, and you will still need to pay the annual immigration health surcharge.
The main eligibility criteria for an Investor Visa is as follows:
- Must have at least £2,000,000 under your control in the UK
- Must have invested funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
- Must have invested this sum within 3 months of your ‘investor start date’
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When Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The Investor Visa is one of the UK immigration permissions offering the most favourable immigration conditions. In some cases, you could be eligible for UK permanent residence after just two years of living in the UK.
Once someone has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status, they can stay in the UK without any need to apply for a visa or immigration permission. ILR can also act as the steppingstone towards full British citizenship.
The rules around Indefinite Leave to Remain for Investor Visa holders is as follows:
- Apply after two years if £10 million has been invested
- Apply after three years if £5 million has been invested
- Apply after five years if £2 million has been invested
When Will I be Eligible for British Citizenship?
You will be able to apply for British citizenship after you have lived in the UK under Indefinite Leave to Remain status for 12 months.
As long as your circumstances haven’t changed significantly since you received ILR status, you can apply for British citizenship after:
- Three years of UK residency (including 12 months of ILR) if invested £10 million
- Four years of UK residency (including 12 months of ILR) if invested £5 million
- Five years of UK residency (including 12 months of ILR) if invested £2 million
If you decide you apply for British citizenship, you do not need to renounce your American citizenship. This means that you can become a dual citizen of American and the United Kingdom.
This visa route is not subject to a job offer or valid sponsorship. You will be eligible to apply if you have £2 million available to invest in the UK economy.
The UK Investor Visa does not require you to meet the English Language Requirement. This is unlike any other points-based-system (PBS) applications.
There is also not an expectation to show sufficient maintenance funds.
The UK is one of the top destinations for financial services and attracts a lot of foreign investment in this sector. Investment in markets across the economy is made through London’s many thriving banks and asset management firms.
For your application to be successful, you will need to ensure you invest your money in active UK businesses.
The property sector is an attractive option for investors. But a UK Investor Visa application could be unsuccessful if the applicant plans to invest only in property. To ensure your UK Tier 1 Visa application has the best chance of success, a diverse investment portfolio is vital.
If your Tier 1 Investor Visa application is refused, you have a right to review within 28 days and can appeal the decision within 10 days. There is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful.
Our expert lawyers will be able to advise you on the merits of your appeal and advise you on your best options. We also have an excellent track record of successful appeals and can assist you with the appeal process.
On a UK Investor Visa, once you have invested £2 million, you can get a Tier 1 Investor Visa extension and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years. If you have invested £5 million, you can apply for ILR after three years. Investing at least £10 million will allow you to apply for settled status in the UK after two years.
The ‘investor start date’ is one of the following:
- The date you entered the UK (provided you have proof of this)
- The date your visa application was approved
- The date you officially switched from a different UK visa
If your funds have not been held in your bank account for at least two years, you will be required to provide detailed evidence about the source of your funds.
Usually, the following sources will be accepted:
- Financial winnings or award
- A sale, provided you can show detailed deed of the sale of the assets
- Gifts, provided you have official documents from a legal advisor which confirm the relationship between you and the person providing the funds, and that the money transfer is irrevocable
- Business financial accounts
- A will, if you hold a notarised copy of the will
- Divorce settlement, if you have evidence of a notarised copy of the divorce terms
Whilst Investor Visa holders enjoy favourable immigration conditions, there are certain things which you will not be able to do as an Investor Visa holder:
- Cannot access public funds
- Cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach
- Cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless specific conditions apply
In most cases, you can expect to receive a decision within twelve weeks of submitting the application.
The UK Investor Visa application fee is currently £1,623. Each dependent will also need to pay £1,623.
Our immigration lawyers can consult with you in any way which suits you. We are available in person, on the phone or via Skype and will ensure we are able to work around your schedule. For the best chance of receiving your Tier 1 Investor Visa, we are here to help.
Our services include:
- A full document check to ensure they are satisfactory;
- Preparing a Letter of Representation using expert legal knowledge to support your application;
- Fielding contact with the Entry Clearance Office throughout the process;
- Taking control of the completion of your application forms, ensuring they are of the highest possible standard.
Contact us for more information or to discuss your UK Tier 1 Visa. Call us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online form. Or visit UK immigration advice for U.S. citizens for information about other options for moving to the UK from the U.S.