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UK Tier 1 Investor Visa

Tier 1 Investor Visa is now closed to new applicants. If you already have this visa, you may be eligible to extend your investor visa or apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your options.

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Note: UK investor visa is no longer open to new applicants.

What is the Investor visa?

The Investor visa UK is designed for high net worth individuals who are looking to make a sizeable investment of £2 million or more and provides the fastest pathway to permanent settlement in the UK of all visas. Investor visa holders can live, invest capital, work, study, and engage in business for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. At this point, they can then choose to extend their visa or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (depending on the amount invested).

Applications under the Tier 1 Investor route are based on the applicant’s ability to invest the required amount into the UK. Unlike many other immigration routes, the English Language requirement is not mandatory for the Investor visa.

UK Tier 1 Investor visa key benefits

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the investor visa is the ability to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after just 2 years with an investment of £10 million. As such, this provides the shortest route to permanent settlement of all UK visas. In addition, there is no English language requirement for the Investor visa.

The other UK Tier 1 Investor visa provides a wide range of benefits, including the ability to:

  • Stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months
  • Apply to extend their visa for a further 2 years before their visa expires
  • Work – as an investor visa holder, you will be free to work in any type of role or any company (including changing job and employer as you wish), assuming you have the qualifications needed for the job. The only exception being you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. This is highly beneficial compared to a work visa which only allows you to work for a specific sponsor license holder and within certain occupation types.
  • Engage in business activities – this may include setting up a new business in the UK, buying an existing business, or setting up a partnership with another entrepreneur
  • Study – as an Investor visa holder, you and your family members will be free to enrol in a short or long-term course of study at a UK university or other educational establishment.
  • Travel to and from the UK freely
  • Bring your family members with you to the UK – you will be able to bring your partner and dependant children with you to the UK. As such, they will be able to benefit from and enjoy the excellent standard of living, education, housing, and healthcare available in the UK.
  • Gain ILR after 2 years if you invest £10 million
  • Gain ILR after 3 years if you invest £5 million
  • Gain ILR after 5 years if you invest £2 million

UK Tier 1 Investor visa requirements

As a UK Tier 1 Investor visa applicant, you will need to show that:

  • You are over 18 years
  • You have £2 million or more in investment funds
  • The investment funds must belong to yourself or your partner or be held jointly
  • The investment funds must be free to spend in the UK when you apply
  • The investment funds must be held in a regulated financial institution
  • You have opened a UK bank account (this must be a regulated bank)
  • The investment funds can be transferred to your UK bank account into pounds sterling. This requirement is important as some countries restrict how much money can be transferred to another country, hence you will need to ensure you are not subject to such limitations.

Note: It does not matter whether the investment funds are located inside or outside the UK when you apply as long as you can show you will be able to transfer them to the UK.

UK Investor visa 2-year requirement

The 2-year requirement for the UK Investor visa necessitates that applicants show the source of their funds if they have been held for less than 24 months.

The Home Office Investor visa guidance states, “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. We will contact the source of these documents to confirm the information as necessary” 1.

The Home Office will consider the following as valid sources of funds (note: this list is not exhaustive):

  • Inheritance from a will
  • Gifts received in the last 2 years
  • Any proceeds from the sale of property within the last 2 years
  • Money made or held within your business
  • A divorce settlement received in the last two years
  • Financial award
  • Winnings

Other sources of funds are also eligible as long as you can show sufficient evidence these were lawfully obtained.

UK Tier 1 Investor visa investment options

The Investor Visa route has 3 separate investment tiers, with higher amounts providing a faster route to permanent settlement in the UK, as follows:

Investment Amount

When You Can Apply for Settlement (ILR)

£10 million

2 years

£5 million

3 years

£2 million

5 years

You will need to invest at least £2m within 90 days of arriving in the UK. Qualifying investments for a UK Investor visa include the following:

1. Government Bonds

This only applies if you gained your Investor visa under the old immigration rules prior to 29th March 2019. This also means that if you received your visa before this date and you wish to extend your visa, you will need to do so before 5th April 2023 if you are applying on the basis of your investment in UK Government bonds. The deadline for those applying for ILR in this situation is 5th April 2025.

2. Share capital or loan capital

This must be invested in active, and trading UK registered companies. Investments cannot be made in:

  • Offshore companies or trusts
  • In open-ended investment companies
  • Investment trust companies
  • Investment syndicate companies (pooled resource / shared risk entities such as "namecos" operating as part of a banking, underwriting or insurance syndicate, for example)
  • Pooled investment vehicles
  • In companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development (you can, however, invest in construction companies).

Investor visa extension

Your initial Investor visa will be granted for up to 3 years and 4 months if you apply from outside the UK. If you apply inside the UK, your visa will last for an initial period of 3 years.

At the end of this initial period, you will be able to apply for an extension if you plan to stay.

To make a successful application for an Investor visa extension, you will need to show:

  • You have made an investment of at least £2,000,000 in the UK
  • The funds invested are in your control
  • The investment has been made in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
  • You invested this sum within 90 days of either the date you came into the UK or the date your visa application was approved.

To make an Investor visa extension application, you will need to:

  1. Complete the online application form 2
  2. Provide proof of identity (as explained above when applying for a new visa)
  3. Pay the online application fee of £1,623
  4. Provide evidence of your eligible investment

Investor visa extension applications typically take around 8 weeks to process, however, you can continue to stay in the UK while you are waiting for a decision from the Home Office. There is also an accelerated application process for an additional cost of £500, which will lead to a decision within 5 working days.

Tier 1 investor visa to ILR and UK citizenship

One of the main benefits of the Investor visa is that it provides a pathway to settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR) in the UK of 2, 3, or 5 years depending on the amount invested (as shown above).

With ILR, you will be able to remain permanently in the UK without being subject to immigration control, and after a further year, you will be able to apply for British citizenship.

To qualify for ILR as an Investor visa holder:

  • You must have lived in the UK for 2, 3, or 5 years on your Investor visa – time spent on any other visa type will not be counted towards ILR
  • You must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any one year period
  • You must have invested £2 million, £5 million, or £10 million (depending on when you apply for ILR) in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies within 3 months of your arrival in the UK, or the date you were granted your visa
  • You will need to complete the Life in the UK Test

Other points to consider when applying for ILR as an Investor visa are:

  • You can apply for ILR 28 days before you become eligible.
  • The application fee for ILR as an Investor visa holder is £2,389 for each person who is applying.
  • Decisions are typically made within 6 months.
  • You can receive an ILR decision within 5 working days for an additional cost of £500 or 1 working day for an additional cost of £800
  • You can include your family members on your application, or they can apply separately if they are not yet eligible.


1 UK Visa and Immigration: Tier 1 (Investor) of the points-based system – policy guidance

2 GOV.UK: Tier 1 (Investor) leave to remain

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