Tier 1 Investor visa guide (a fast track to citizenship through investment)
You can no longer apply for a new Tier 1 (Investor) visa; however if you already have this visa (or had one in the last 12 months and it was your most recent visa), you can still apply:
- to settle in the UK (indefinite leave to remain)
- to extend your visa for 2 years
- for family members to join you
Table of content
- About your investment funds
- Evidence of an UK bank account
- UK Investor visa: 2 years requirement
- Overseas criminal record certificates
- Family members
- Switching into investor visa
- Application process and cost
- Condition of leave and settlement
- Documents you must provide
- Rights of Appeal and Administrative Review
The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high-net-worth individuals making a substantial financial investment in the UK.
Under the Tier 1 (Investor) requirements, you must score at least 75 points for attributes; in order to qualify for an initial grant of leave in this category you must:
- have money under your control, held in a regulated financial institution, and which is disposable in the UK, amounting to not less than £2 million.
- have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2 million in the UK
- be 18 or over to apply for this visa
- be able to prove that the money belongs to either you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
- have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your funds
Your funds must be:
- held in one or more regulated financial institutions
- free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK
- Your money can be in the UK or overseas when you apply.
Under this route you will not need to show that you have any English language ability or any maintenance (funds) because, if you have the required investment funds, you will be able to support yourself in the UK without needing help from public funds.
About your investment funds
You must show that you are able to make an investment of £2 million or more in the UK. You may rely on your money or on fund that you is owned either jointly with, or solely by, your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner.
If you’re using your own money to invest, you should be able to show how much money you have and where it’s being held and that the money can be transferred to the UK and converted to sterling.
You may use, as evidence of funds, investments made in the UK within the 12 months immediately before the date of the application, provided they are held in a UK regulated financial institution.
You may not use assets or possessions such as property as evidence of your funds for investment.
If you are relying on your partner’s money, you’ll need to provide a certificate of marriage or civil partnership, or in the case of unmarried or same-sex relationships, proof that you are in a long-term relationship (at least 2 years); a statement from your partner confirming that they will allow you to control the funds in the UK and a letter from a legal adviser stating that the declaration is valid.
In all cases you (or you and/or your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried or same-sex partner) must be the beneficial owner of the funds and not holding the investments on behalf of anyone else.
Evidence of an UK bank account
You must provide a letter to prove you have an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your investment funds. The letter must:
- have been issued by an authorised official
- be dated within 3 months of your application
- be on the official headed paper of the bank
- state your name and account number
- confirm you’ve opened an account with the bank in order to invest £2,000,000
- confirm the bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- confirm checks for money-laundering have been carried out
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Types of UK Visas
Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for your visa.
UK Investor visa: 2 years requirement
If you have not held the funds for 2 years consecutively before the date of the application, you must also provide evidence of the source of the funds. The Home Office will contact the source of these documents to confirm the information as necessary.
If you have held your investment funds for less than 2 years then you can still qualify for a UK Investor visa if the source of the funds was:
- a gift received by yourself (and/or your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried or same-sex partner) in the 2 years prior to the date of application; or
- the proceeds of sale of assets such as business or property within the 2 years before the date of application; or
- money held in your business (and/or the business of your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried or same-sex partner); or
- inheritance under a will received within the 2 years before making the application; or
- the proceeds of a divorce settlement received within the 2 years immediately before the date of application; or
- a financial award or winnings; or
- any other source provided that the source can be documented and independently corroborated.
Overseas criminal record certificates
If you are applying for entry clearance as a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant or are an adult dependant (over 18 years old) of the main applicant in this route, you must provide an
overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have been present in continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application.
You must provide the following specified documents:
- A certificate, for each country (excluding the UK) where you have resided continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, since aged 18 years old, issued by the overseas authority, and
- If the original certificate is not in English, a translated copy of the certificate.
Certificates will only be considered valid if they have been issued within 6 months of the visa application or within the expressed validity period of the document, whichever is the shorter.
Your family members (‘dependants’) can join you if you’re in the UK on this visa. Your family members must apply for their own visa.
A ‘dependant’ is any of the following: your husband, wife or partner, your child under 18 or your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant.
Adult family members must provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years.
Family members cannot apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.
If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply online to add them to your visa as your dependant.
Switching into investor visa
You may be able to switch to a Tier 1 (Investor) visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re already in the UK under one of the following categories:
- Tier 1 (General)
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- any Tier 2 category
- Student (including Tier 4)
You must leave the UK and make your application from abroad if you’re in another category.
Students with financial sponsorship: you may be able to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa if you’re already in the UK and you’re a student (including Tier 4) visa holder. You must have unconditional agreement in writing from your financial sponsor to re-enter or stay in the UK if your course fees and living costs were paid by either a government or an international scholarship agency
If you wish to find out more about your immigration matters, our team of experienced lawyers is happy to assist.
Application process and cost
You must apply online for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.
You must pay £1,623 to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. The fee is the same if you’re extending or switching visas, or if you’re applying as a family member.
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.
Even if you meet all of the conditions of the Tier 1 (Investor) category, there may be other reasons why the Home Office may refuse your application under the general grounds for refusal. For example, this could be because of your previous immigration history.
Condition of leave and settlement
You can come to the UK with a Tier 1 (Investor) visa for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. You can apply to extend this visa for another 2 years.
You can apply for settlement under Tier 1 (Investor) once you have reached 5 years’ continuous leave in the United Kingdom under the route. However, if you meet additional criteria, you may apply for accelerated ILR after a continuous period of either 2 years or 3 years.
- work or study
- apply to settle after 2 years if you invest £10 million
- apply to settle after 3 years if you invest £5 million
- apply to settle after 5 years if you invest £2 million
- work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
- get public funds
You will need to meet some requirements which apply to all Points Based System
settlement applications and some which are specific to Tier 1 (Investor).
When you apply for settlement, you are required to show that you have knowledge of life and language in the United Kingdom before you can be granted (unless you fall under an exemption). You can demonstrate this by passing both the Life in the UK test and holding an English speaking and listening qualification at level B1 or above.
You cannot combine Tier 1 (Investor) leave with leave in any other category to meet the continuous leave requirement.
Your qualifying period can include time from the date your initial application (for entry clearance or leave to remain) was approved.
You can apply for settlement up to 28 days before you will reach the qualifying period. If you apply earlier than that, your application may be refused. Your qualifying period will be the 5, 3 or 2 years immediately before the date you apply for settlement or the 5, 3 or 2 years immediately before the date your settlement application Tier 1 (Investor) is decided, depending on which is most beneficial to you.
You cannot have had more than 180 days’ absence from the United Kingdom during any consecutive 12 months of the qualifying period.
Documents you must provide
When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).
You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can either upload them into the online service or have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment
When you apply you’ll need to provide:
- a current passport
- your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- a criminal record certificate from any country you have stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years
Depending on your circumstances, you may have to provide additional documentation including evidence that:
- you are able to make an investment of £2 million or more in the UK.
- you have money under your control, held in a regulated financial institution, and which is disposable in the UK, amounting to not less than £2 million.
- you have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2 million in the UK
- If you are relying on your partner’s money, you’ll need to provide a certificate of your relationship, or in the case of unmarried or same-sex relationships, proof that you are in a long-term relationship (at least 2 years); a statement from your partner confirming that they will allow you to control the funds in the UK and a letter from a legal adviser stating that the declaration is valid.
- If you have not held the funds for 2 years consecutively before the date of the application, you must also provide evidence of the source of the funds
You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
Rights of Appeal and Administrative Review
If your application is refused and you think a mistake has been made, you can request a review of that decision through administrative review.
To discuss your UK visa application with one of our immigration lawyers, contact our immigration lawyer team or select one of our packages below.
Our highly experienced team of lawyers assists clients to navigate the constantly evolving areas of UK immigration law.
This visa is a subcategory of the standard visitor visa enabling visitors only to get married in the UK and leave the country on the expiry of their visa; it should not be confused with fiancée visa which is intended to those who want to settle in the UK after their wedding.