Please note: Tier 1 Investor Visa route closed over security concerns in 2022. See gov.uk website for more information.
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa category has enabled high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals to live in the UK by investing £2 million or more of their own money in the UK in a permitted way, such as into UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
On 17 February 2022, the Home Office announced the unexpected closure of the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route. Therefore, no new initial Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications can now be submitted to the Home Office. Those individuals currently on a Tier 1 (Investor) visa can continue to live in the UK, extend their visa and subsequently apply for indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement) in the UK subject to meeting various requirements.
What are some of the key requirements to extend your Tier 1 (Investor) visa?
Some of the key requirements (this list is not exhaustive) to extend your Investor visa, if you applied after 6 November 2014, include the following:
- You must have invested £2 million or more in the UK;
- You must have invested your own money, which can be owned solely by or jointly with, the applicant’s husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same sex partner in the UK by way of:
- UK Government bonds, UK share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, if you were initially granted a Tier 1 (Investor) visa between 6 November 2014 and 28 March 2019; or
- UK Share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, if you were initially granted a Tier 1 (Investor) visa on or after 29 March 2019;
- The investment must have been made:
- within three months of your entry to the UK;
- within three months of the date you were granted entry clearance; or
- no earlier than 12 months before the date of the initial application that led to your first grant of leave as a Tier 1 (Investor) visa holder;
- You must maintain the £2 million level of investment, except if a drop in the market value of your investment is the reason for your investment dropping below that level. To ensure that this requirement is met the following points should be considered:
- You must have purchased £2 million of qualifying investments;
- Where any part of the qualifying investment(s) is sold, the gross proceeds should be re-invested in qualifying investments before the end of the next reporting period or within 6 months of the date of completion of the sale, whichever is sooner;
- Fees payable to an institution for managing the portfolio, taxes or other costs must not be deducted such that they cause the investment fund to fall below £2 million;
- Interest and dividend payments generated by your qualifying investments may be withdrawn as long as these funds did not make up the initial investment; and
You must not have recourse to “public funds” (which has a specific meaning);
- You must register with the police, if required to;
There are various restrictions on what investments will be counted as a lawful qualifying investment for the purposes of a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. Therefore, if you haven’t already, we would recommend obtaining legal advice to ensure you have invested in qualifying investments that would meet the Tier 1 (Investor) extension visa requirements.
Supporting documents required for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa extension application are onerous and will depend on the investments made, e.g. investment as loan funds, or in a pooled investment vehicle (after 29 March 2019). We can liaise directly with your portfolio manager to ensure the correct documents are provided in support of your extension and indefinite leave to remain application.
Length of Tier 1 (Investor) visa
Applicants granted a Tier 1 (Investor) visa having invested at least £2 million should have received leave to enter or remain in the UK for three years and four months. Applicants can apply to extend this visa for a further two years, which would be a total of c.5 years. The last Tier 1 (Investor) visa extension application that you can submit is before 17 February 2026. After this date you will not be able to extend your Tier 1 (Investor) visa in the UK.
It is important to note that you may need to apply earlier than 17 February 2026 to be eligible to extend your Tier 1 (Investor) visa. The deadline to extend your Tier 1 (Investor) visa will depend on the amount of investment you have made and/or what qualifying investments you have made. Therefore, we would recommend you are fully aware of your own personal deadline to apply for an extension of your Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
Can the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
Applicants investing £2 million can apply for indefinite leave to remain after completing five years as a Tier 1 (Investor) visa holder subject to meeting various requirements. For those applicants who invest £5 million or £10 million there is an accelerated route to indefinite leave to remain.
You will not be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Investor) holder after 16 February 2028. As with extension applications, your deadline to make an indefinite leave to remain application may be sooner than 16 February 2028 and again this depends on the amount of investment you have made, what qualifying investments you have made in the UK and other factors. Therefore, we recommend you are fully aware of your own personal deadline to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Investor) visa holder.
Applying for Indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) visa holder is subject to applicants meeting very strict requirements, including a requirement relating to a specific number of days you can be absent from the UK.
Have you invested in UK Government bonds?
If you were granted a Tier 1 (Investor) visa under the rules in place after 6 November 2014 and before 29 March 2019, you have the option to invest in UK Government bonds. If you wish to rely on investment in UK Government bonds, we recommend you obtain advice to understand by what date you should apply for an extension and/or indefinite leave to remain application under the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category.
Is it possible to switch into this visa category?
Since 17 February 2022, you can no longer switch into this visa category.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications are complex and our immigration team can help you if you have any further questions about this or any other immigration matters.
We have excellent relationships with leading UK investment banks and fund and wealth managers, with whom we work closely, to help ensure the application process is as stress-free as possible for our investor clients and their families.