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UK citizenship by investment: Investment options

If you are looking to move to the UK in order to invest then you may be wondering what your investment options are on a Tier 1 or if you can get the UK citizenship by investment. First and foremost, you will need to apply for a Tier 1 investor visa to move to the UK on investment; so in order to apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you will need to ensure that not only do you have the capital required to start investing, you will also need to ensure that you begin to invest quickly after entering the country in order to satisfy the requirements of the visa.

In this article, we will look at the Tier 1 Investor Visa in a little more detail and have a look at what qualifies as an eligible investment to satisfy the criteria laid out by the visa route and the chances of becoming British via the investor visa route.

How much capital do I need to apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

The Tier 1 Investor Visa requires a minimum of £2m to be available in a regulated institution (such as a bank, not necessarily a British one, but it may be beneficial to bank with a global bank that operates in the UK) for making investments in the UK. According to the governmental guidance on the subject, you are able to invest £2m or more in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.

You must be mindful that there also investments that you are not eligible to make such as investing in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development. You need to be mindful that you will need to keep an accurate record of your investment history, this is especially true if you, as most people choose to, extend your visa after the initial period has expired. The criteria for an extension includes looking at your trading history.

How long can I stay in the UK for on a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

You will be able to stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years. Depending on your available capital, you can apply to settle in the UK after 2 (£10m to invest), 3 (£5m to invest) or 5 years (£2m to invest). With the higher funding levels, you can apply to settle whilst in the period of your first visa, otherwise you will need to extend and then apply to settle. You are able to live, study and work freely while on a Tier 1 Investor Visa and this is one of the big benefits of the visa route.

Once you have settled in the UK (known as gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain), you can then begin to think about applying for British citizenship. You will need to wait for 12 months after gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and ensure that you remain normally resident in the UK (no long gaps outside of the country) as long as you satisfy this criteria and a few other necessities (such as passing the Life in the UK test) you will be apply to apply for British citizenship.

Can I become a British citizen with a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

Yes, as laid out in the paragraph above, depending on your capital levels, you can become a British citizen within only a few years. The benefits of this visa are clear for all to see. If becoming a British citizen is your ultimate aim, the Tier 1 Investor Visa offers a superb route for achieving it.

As long as you can satisfy the criteria, achieving British citizenship is straightforward, but if you would like some help and advice from independent immigration specialists then please get in touch and our team will be happy to help you deal with your query. Many people worry about making applications and the eligibility criteria, but a quick call to us can help to set your mind at ease.

Can I bring family members to the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

Yes, you can bring dependents with you to the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa. You will need to ensure that they are on your application. This applies to a husband/wife/partner and a child under the age of 18. Adult children will need to apply separately unless you are extending a visa on which they were under the age of 18 when it was originally granted.

You will be able to bring family members to the UK if you become a British citizen in the future. This is possible with this visa and if you have the means, it can be done with in only a few years. If you wish to discuss British citizenship applications then please get in touch and we'll be happy to help you.

What qualifies as an eligible investment on a Tier 1 Investor Visa?

If you are looking to stay in the UK for the long-term then it is important that you follow the criteria for investing closely. Principally you will need to prove, if you need to extend your visa, that you have kept within the confines of investing as laid out in the guidance. You can invest £2m or more in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies while in the UK. But you must also avoid the following: investing in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development.

When you come to extend your visa your trading history will be looked at carefully and therefore it is necessary that you stick to the investments that you are allowed to make under the visa, any failure to do so will harm your prospects at extension time.

How do I extend my Tier 1 Investor Visa?

You can extend your visa in the run up to the expiry of your current one. You will also need to ensure that your investments are eligible (in the categories as laid out above) and that you invested a large number of them within the first 3 months of arriving in the UK or "Investor Start Date". This sum depends upon when you first got your visa, but since 2014, you will need to have invested at least £2m in eligible investments in the first 3 months of your stay in the UK.

As long as you satisfy the criteria, extension should be straightforward and you will be granted a further 3 years. Once you have reached 5 years, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Where can I get more help?

If you need more advice or help on a Tier 1 Investor Visa and how you can become British through the investor visa route, then please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors have a wealth of knowledge that means they can help with any and all visa queries. So if you have a query, get in touch and our team will be happy to help you.

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