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How Can I Get UK Citizenship Through Investment?

How Can I Get UK Citizenship Through Investment?

Investment in the UK won’t guarantee citizenship for individuals from outside of the EU/EEA, but depending on the amount you invest, it can significantly reduce the time it takes to secure permanent residency.  The Tier 1 (Investor) visa route is designed for this precise purpose and enables holders to settle in the UK after only two years.  The UK government want to encourage investors to the UK to contribute to the economy and have made the Tier 1 investor route as straightforward and fast as possible.

How long does it take investors to secure UK permanent residency?

This depends on the amount being invested.  Under the current immigration rules, Tier 1 investor visa holders can apply to settle (i.e. live permanently without immigration or any other restrictions) after the following period of continuous residence:

  • Two years if you invest £10 million
  • Three years if you invest £5 million
  • Five years if you invest £2 million

Continuous residence is defined as being out of the UK for no longer than 180 days in any 12-month period.  After meeting the required period of continuous residence, you can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). 

Will I need to extend my Tier 1 investor visa?

This depends on the amount you have invested.  Tier 1 (Investor) visas are granted for a maximum initial period of three years and four months.  This means that if you have invested £5 million or £10 million, you may already be eligible to apply for ILR.  If you have invested £2 million, if you wish to continue to work towards residency, you can apply to extend your visa for a further two years, at which point you can then submit an application for ILR. 

For those who applied for an investor visa before 6th November 2014, to be eligible for an extension, you will need to prove you have:

  • at least £1,000,000 under your control in the UK
  • invested at least £750,000 (or 75&#x) ;of that in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
  • invested this sum within three months of your ‘investor start date’

You will need to provide investment portfolio reports to show your investments were made within the time permitted and this remained in place for the duration of the visa.

If you applied for your investor visa on or after 6th November 2014, in order to extend your visa, you will need to prove you have:

  • at least £2,000,000 under your control in the UK
  • invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
  • invested this sum within three months of your ‘investor start date’

If you applied before 29th March 2019, you can also apply for an extension to your investment visa if you invested your funds into UK government bonds.

When can I apply for UK citizenship as an investor and am I eligible?

To apply to become a British/UK citizen, you will need to wait for a further 12 months after the point you have been living in the UK for five years.   

To be eligible to apply for British citizenship, you must:

  • provide evidence you arrived in the UK five years before the day the Home Office receives your application for citizenship
  • meet the language requirements for English, Welsh, or Scottish Gaelic
  • have passed the ‘life in the UK’ test
  • intend to continue living in the UK
  • be of good character

As part of your application, the Home Office will check how many days you have spent in total outside of the UK to verify you have not:

  • spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-year period
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • broken any UK immigration laws

You will also be able to apply for UK citizenship for your children at the same time, however, each person will require a separate application form to be completed.  This is assuming they were born outside the UK or in the UK but before you were granted ILR.

Once approved (which may take around six months), you will be required to attend a UK citizenship ceremony and you will be given a formal certificate of British citizenship.  Under the government rules, it is then required that you destroy your biometric residence permit (BRP) when you receive your certificate and return it to the Home Office within five days, otherwise, you may be fined £1,000.  At this point, you will also be eligible for a British passport. 

What should I do if I am refused entry, extension, or ILR as a Tier 1 investor applicant?

If at any point your application is refused by the Home Office, whether when applying for your initial Tier 1 investor visa, a subsequent extension, or for ILR, it is imperative you seek legal advice from specialist immigration Solicitors.  They will assess the details of your case to determine the underlying reason for the refusal and how best to proceed.  In some cases, it may be faster and preferable to submit a fresh application.  In other circumstances, it may be possible to bring an appeal on human rights grounds.

If there is clear evidence of an administrative error on behalf of the Home Office (i.e. if they made a mistake when interpreting the immigration rules), an Administrative Review may be sought.  And finally, a Judicial review may be possible if it is clear that the decision made was unlawful. 

Final words

As stated at the outset, the UK government are keen to encourage high-net-worth investors to come to the UK to contribute to the economy.  It is for this reason they have enabled the fast-tracking of ILR for individuals investing £5 million or more.   If you are keen to invest your capital and bring your family to the UK to settle, you will find the business and immigration system will be open and welcoming.  We wish you well in your new venture in the UK.

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