Skip to content

Ask us a question

Tier 1 Investor

Scroll to:

Tier 1 Investor - overview

What is the Tier 1 Investor visa?

This visa is for high-net worth individuals who wish to invest a minimum of £2m in the UK to travel freely to and live in the UK with their families.

How long can I have a Tier 1 Investor visa for?

This visa is granted initially for a period of three years and four months.  It can then be extended for a further two years allowing you to hold this visa for a maximum of five years and four months.  You can ultimately apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Can I bring my family to the UK with me?

Yes, you can bring certain family members known as “dependants” with you. These are your:

  • husband, wife or partner;
  • children under the age of 18;
  • children over 18 who are already in the UK as your dependant.

If your child is over the age of 18 at the time of applying and not already in the UK as your dependant, you may still be able to include them in the visa application but this will depend on the individual circumstances.

If you are already in the UK with your dependants and you switch to the Tier 1 Investor visa, they will be able to remain with you.  Whether or not they need to apply for new visas will depend on the circumstances and it is recommended that you contact us to discuss this further.

Can my children study in the UK as dependants of a Tier 1 Investor visa holder?

Yes, dependants of a Tier 1 Investor visa holder are free to attend nursery, school and/or university in the UK.

Once I have a Tier 1 Investor visa, can I travel and live outside the UK?

Your Tier 1 Investor visa will allow you to travel in and out of the UK.

When applying for the visa initially, or when applying to extend the visa, there is no requirement to intend to live in the UK for a certain length of time or to make the UK your main residence.

However if your intention is to apply for ILR in the future you do need to comply with the maximum absence from the UK requirement (see below).

How long does it take to settle/obtain ILR in the UK with a Tier 1 Investor visa?

How long it will take to settle in the UK depends on the value of your investment into the UK.  You can apply to settle after:

  • two years if you invest £10 million;
  • three years if you invest £5 million; or
  • five years if you invest £2 million.

Further information about ILR and settlement can be found here.

All dependants of a Tier 1 Investor have to wait five years before they are eligible to apply for ILR.

There are other eligibility requirements for ILR which you should be mindful of.  Please contact us to discuss these to ensure that you do not fall foul of these whilst holding your Tier 1 Investor visa.

To apply for ILR under the Tier 1 investor visa, how many days absence from the UK can I have?

If you wish to apply for ILR you must have had no more than 180 days’ absence from the UK during any rolling 12 month period during the applicable two, three or five year qualifying period. You are required to list your absences when applying for ILR and so you should retain a record of these.

Dependants of Tier 1 Investor visa holders who were granted their initial or extended visa on or after 11 January 2018 must also meet the above absence requirements for any period of leave granted after this date.

Once I have obtained ILR, do I need to maintain my investment in the UK?

No, if you wish, you can withdraw your investment after obtaining ILR.

Can ILR be revoked if I live outside the UK?

ILR can be revoked for a number of reasons, for example relating to criminal or immigration offences, but importantly, ILR will lapse if you spend more than two consecutive years outside of the UK.  To ensure this does not happen, you should travel to the UK at least every two years if you are a non-UK resident.

Can I apply for citizenship if I have a Tier 1 Investor visa?

Yes, if you invested £2m, you must have lived in the UK for five years and held ILR for one year (a total of six years) before you can apply for citizenship. This is also the case for dependants regardless of the total funds invested.

If you invested £5m or £10m, you are usually eligible to apply for citizenship after five years rather than six.

The absence requirements for British citizenship applications are more onerous than they are for ILR and so if you may want to apply for citizenship in the future, please contact us to ensure that you are aware of the requirements and can plan ahead.

Are there any changes expected to the Tier 1 Investor visa category?

Previous years have seen substantial changes to this visa route and in 2021 the UK’s immigration system is changing however there are no proposals at present to make any fundamental changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa.

Tier 1 Investor - eligibility

What are the eligibility criteria for an initial application for a Tier 1 Investor visa?

To apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa:

  • you must be at least 18 years old;
  • you must have at least £2m available to invest in the UK;
  • the investment funds must:
    • be wholly in your control or controlled by your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner or jointly with them, so long as you have unrestricted access (see below);
    • be free to be transferred to and disposed of in the UK or already held in a UK regulated financial institution (see below);
    • have been held in a regulated financial institution in cash for two years or more, or arise from a permitted source of funds (see below);
  • you must not meet any of the general grounds for refusal; and
  • you must have a criminal record certificate for each country in the last 10 years that you have lived in for either six months continuously or cumulatively.

Can I apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa with £1million investment funds?

No, the minimum investment in the UK is £2m.  For applications made before 6 November 2014, individuals could invest £1m but this is no longer the case.

What are the permitted sources of funds for the Tier 1 Investor visa?

You have to have held the investment funds within your control for two consecutive years prior to applying for the visa.  If you cannot meet this requirement, you can still apply for this visa if the funds come from a permitted source.

Permitted sources include:

  • funds received as a gift, for example from a family member;
  • funds arising from the proceeds of sale from an asset;
  • funds taken from your business;
  • funds bequeathed to you from a will;
  • funds received as part of a divorce settlement;
  • funds issued to you as an award or winnings; and
  • other sources of funds may also be permissible but will depend on the individual circumstances.

Can I make my partner the main applicant for a Tier 1 Investor visa using funds held in my name?

Yes.  Applicants may rely on investment funds that are:

  • solely held by the applicant;
  • jointly held by the applicant and their partner; or
  • solely held by the applicant’s partner.

For these purposes, a partner is a:

  • husband;
  • wife;
  • civil partner;
  • unmarried partner; or
  • same sex partner.

When relying on joint funds or funds held solely by your partner, you need to provide evidence that you have permission from the owner of the funds to transfer and dispose of the money without any restrictions.  You also have to provide evidence that you are either married or have been living together in a relationship for at least two years.

What type of investments qualify for the Tier 1 Investor visa?

If you are making an initial application for a Tier 1 Investor visa you must invest in either:

  • share capital or loan capital e.g. corporate bonds in active and trading UK registered companies.  These companies cannot be principally engaged in property investment, property management or property development; or
  • pooled investment vehicles which receive funding from the UK government or a devolved government department or one of its agencies.

For initial applications, you are no longer permitted to invest in UK government bonds however this remains permissible for some extension applications.

There are also many other investments which are not permitted and it is crucial that you invest the funds in a qualifying investment, otherwise your visa may be revoked and you will not qualify for ILR or a visa extension.  We work closely with wealth managers and your advisors to ensure that you do not fall foul of the Immigration Rules.

Can I invest in property under the Tier 1 Investor visa?

No you are not permitted to invest in assets e.g. property, or in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development (e.g. buying and renovating property to earn a return on investment via sale or renting).

You are however permitted to invest in companies that are mainly involved in construction services.

Do I have to have a UK bank account to apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa?

At the time of making your visa application you have to have opened a bank account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2m in the UK and you must provide evidence of this as part of the application process.

As required we can assist you with this process.

Who manages my funds once they have been invested in the UK?

There is no restriction on who can manage your funds once your initial investment in the UK has been made.  If you wish, you can manage your funds yourself or engage a wealth manager.

In our experience, it is preferable to use a UK based wealth manager who is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and/or the Prudential Regulation Authority to manage your investment portfolio.  This is because requirement to provide evidence of investment when it comes to extending your visa or applying for ILR is complicated and onerous and so it is preferable to use a wealth manager who is familiar with the Tier 1 Investor visa rules and regulations.

We are able to introduce you to a suitable wealth manager upon request.

Do I have to take an English language test before applying for the Tier 1 Investor visa?

No. There is no requirement to have a minimum level of English language proficiency to apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa.

What are the eligibility criteria to extend my Tier 1 Investor visa?

What are the eligibility criteria to extend my Tier 1 Investor visa?

The eligibility criteria applicable to extension applications will depend on:

  1. when you applied for your initial Tier 1 Investor visa; and
  2. when you are applying to extend your visa.

For the specific requirements that are applicable to your visa and circumstances, please contact us.

Tier 1 Investor - application process

How do I apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa?

You will be required to complete an online application form, upload copies of your supporting documents and then book and attend an in-person appointment to give your biometric details (fingerprints and photograph).

Can family members apply at the same time?

Yes. We can assist you with preparing and submitting one application for you and your dependant family.

How much does it cost to apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa?

The visa application fee is £1,623 per person.

You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (see below) for the duration of your visa and pay a small fee to enrol your biometric information.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

This is currently £400 per person, per year of your visa.  It is an upfront cost and is due to increase to £624 per year from October 2020.

What supporting documents do I need to provide with my application?

The supporting documents are specific to each applicant but generally the following documents are likely to apply:

Requirement Likely documentation
IDPassport and current BRP (if you have one)
Evidence of investment fundsThis will vary depending on matters such as:
- the source of the funds;
- whether the funds are held in your name, your partner's or jointly;
- how long the funds have been held for; and
- the current location of the funds.
We can provide specific advice on the documentation required for your personal circumstances and assist with preparing and obtaining the necessary documentation.
Evidence of UK bank accountLetter from authorised official of UK regulated bank
Criminal record certificate Criminal record certificate from any country (excluding the UK) you have lived in cumulatively or continuously for 12 months or more in the last 10 years whilst aged 18 or over
TB testClear TB test if you are from a country requiring a TB test

Do I need to provide translations of my supporting documents for my visa application?

Yes if any of the documents are not in English or Welsh.  There are specific guidelines set by UK Visas and Immigration for the provision of translated documents, please contact us to discuss these.

How long will it take for my application to be considered?

If you are applying from outside the UK, your application should be dealt with within 3 weeks.

If you are applying from inside the UK, your application should be dealt with within 8 weeks.

You can, in certain circumstances, pay an additional fee to use a priority or premium service for a faster decision. Please contact us to discuss these options.

Can I apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa from inside the UK?

You can submit your Tier 1 Investor visa application from inside the UK if you are present in the UK already with one of the following visas:

  • Tier 1 General;
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur;
  • Tier 2 General;
  • Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer; or
  • Tier 4 General Student.

If you have any other visa type, you will need to leave the UK and make your application from overseas.

Can you switch from a Tier 4 Student visa to a Tier 1 Investor visa?

Yes, so long as you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa.

In addition, if you received financial sponsorship from a foreign government or an international scholarship agency, this third party must permit you to remain in the UK at the end of your student visa.

Services and pricing

Services and pricing

We provide a range of services to Tier 1 Investor visa applicants including assistance with their initial application, switching to this visa category and extending their visa. This includes:

  • obtaining a detailed understanding from you of your circumstances and funding;
  • advice to you on eligibility;
  • advice on which supporting documents to provide with the application;
  • assistance with preparing and obtaining supporting documents including liaising with overseas lawyers, translators and financial institutions;
  • review of and advice to you on the visa application form;
  • advice to you on the application process and queries;
  • assisting with questions about the process or correspondence from the Home Office.

Fee estimate (initial application and switching)*: £12,500 – £20,000

Fee estimate (extension applications)*: £10,000 – £15,000

*:  Our fees are calculated based on the number of hours it will take us to carry out this work. The exact number of hours it will take depends on the circumstances in your case, such as:

  • the source of the investment funds;
  • the location of the investment funds;
  • the ownership of the investment funds;
  • the location and availability of relevant third parties such as lawyers, translators and financial institutions;
  • the volume and complexity of supporting documents and evidence that we need to consider;
  • whether face to face meetings with you are required (if you reside in the UK) and the volume of calls and queries from you;
  • the urgency of your application;
  • whether you have an adverse immigration or criminal history;
  • whether you are applying alone or with dependants;
  • whether you require advice on your current UK immigration status.

Fees are excluding VAT at the rate of 20%. VAT may or may not be payable on the above fee estimate as this is dependent on the country in which you reside and you will be advised of this before work on your application commences. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as visa fees payable to the Home Office and document translation fees. These are not included in the above estimates.

Full details can be found in our comprehensive pricing document, which can be found here, or please contact one of our immigration specialists.

Disclaimer

Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

As a hub, we have included references to articles and explainers from third parties. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Our immigration team

Flora Mewies profile image

Flora Mewies

Associate | Employment

View full profile

Leeds and Manchester

Roisin Patton profile image

Roisin Patton

Partner | Employment

View full profile

Newcastle

Gillian Burns profile image

Gillian Burns

Associate | Employment

View full profile

Newcastle

Natalie Payne profile image

Natalie Payne

Solicitor | Employment

View full profile

Leeds and Manchester

If your browser settings permit, we have placed cookies on your computer for analytics and other site-improvement purposes. You can give or withdraw consent at any time by changing your cookie settings.