UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa Overview

Foreign direct Investments (FDI) is an important driver to a country's economy in terms of job creation, increased competition and productivity.

UK Investor visa or so called “golden visa” which was initially aimed to confront the 2008 global financial crisis, allowed individuals and their families to live, work, study and do business in the United Kingdom (UK). The investor program is appealing to foreigners who can afford it, as it does not set any language, education and experience requirements.


Individuals who are ready to invest at least £2,000,000 (€2,365,300) and meets following eligibility requirements can apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa in the UK:

  • aged 18 or older;
  • proves the money they are willing to invest belongs to them or to their married or civil partner;
  • the funds are held in the account of a UK regulated bank and disposable in the UK.

Documents to be provided

The following documents are needed to file an application for a visa under par:

  • current biometric passport or travel identification document;
  • a criminal record certificate from a country the applicant stayed 12 months or more for the last 10 years;
  • results of tuberculosis test if the applicant is from one of the listed countries;
  • certificate issued by every foreign state in which the applicant lived (apart from UK) in the last ten years “continuously or cumulatively” for at least a 12 months or more since aged 18 years old.

The documents should be issued within 6 months of the visa application or within declared validity period whichever is shorter. Documents should be provided in English or a translated copy should be supplemented if the original document is not in English.

Moreover, applicants need to present a letter to prove that they hold finances in the UK regulating bank, that complies with the following conditions:

  • issued by an authorised official;
  • dated within 3 months of the application;
  • on the official headed paper of the bank;
  • states applicant’s name and account number;
  • confirms that the applicant has an account with the bank to invest £2,000,000 (€2,365,300);
  • confirms the bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority;
  • confirms checks carried out for Anti Money Laundering.

Family members

Investor visa applicants also can secure residency for immediate family members (dependents). Dependents should separately apply for their own visa. In line with other required documents, family members over 18 years should provide criminal record certificate from the countries they have resided for 12 months or more over the last 10 years.

Application procedure and timeframe

Fees: an official fee in the amount of £1,623 (€1,920) to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. The equivalent sum is charged for switching and extension visas as well as for dependent visas. Applicants are also subject to payment of healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Investor visa applications can be filed both from inside and outside of the UK.

For those who apply inside the UK, there is a possibility of extending their existing Tier 1 (Investor) visa or to switch to Investor visa from other types of visa (such as Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), any category of Tier 2 and student visa, including Tier 4). There is a possibility to speed up the decision process within 5 working days upon payment of an extra £500 (€592) for the priority service fee.

Investors should apply online for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa if they are outside the UK, with their biometric information collected at a visa application centre. Visa applicants outside of the UK can apply as early as three months before coming to the UK. Once the application is received, the applicant shall be invited to submit biometric details. Upon receipt of all necessary data, officials consider the application and issue the decision. Once the application is submitted, the decision should be received within 3 weeks.

After receipt of the decision letter, applicant’s collected biometric residence permit will arrive during 10 working days.

Length of stay

Recipients of investor visas can stay up to 3 years and 4 months, and visas can be extended for another 2 years.

Settlement through investment

One of the major advantages of the investor visa is that it makes it possible to settle in the UK. It is possible to accelerate obtaining citizenship by investing more in the country as following:

  • apply to settle after 2 years if invested £10 million(€11,826,500);
  • apply to settle after 3 years if invested £5 million (€5,913,247);
  • apply to settle after 5 years if invested £2 million(€2,365,300).

What investors can not do?

Although there are some limitations that apply to investor visa holders, they cannot work as a professional athlete or sports coach and receive a public funds. Moreover, investment visa holders cannot work as a doctor or as a dentist, exceptions apply to those who:

  • have an undergraduate or above degree in medicine or dentistry from UK institutes which hold a “student sponsor licence or is a UK-recognised or listed body”;
  • worked as a medical personnel or dentist in training based on their previous UK visa.

Moreover, the investor visa holder can work in the medical field if none of the above conditions were included in the terms and conditions of their previous visa.

Post-Brexit and hopes for the future

Investor visa is the short route for settlement in the UK, which allows foreign businesspeople to easily visit the country. However, the UK is having a slight decrease in the number of investor visa applications due to travel restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Being part of the European Union used to attract more foreign direct investment in the country. On the other hand, Brexit will not jeopardize the UK’s long-run stance for preferred investment jurisdiction. Rule of law, sound taxation regime, powerful dispute resolution system, and supportive economic policy which advocates investment and competitive business environment will still serve as the UK’s key driver for foreign investment.

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