About UK Residency by Investment
Gaining UK residency through the Tier 1 (Investor) visa is one of the most attractive investment programmes in the world.
It has straightforward entry requirements, the shortest investor immigration application processing time amongst the G8 countries, and ultimately could lead to citizenship.
Of course being a UK resident present many attractive benefits. It’s safe, offer plenty of opportunities, and the UK passport is one of the strongest in the world.
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is specifically designed for high net-worth individuals prepared to make a substantial and significant investment in the economy and development of the UK.
You’ll apply for residency first and then citizenship, provided you’ve met the requirements.
Before we delve into the detail of how to obtain UK residency through the Tier 1 visa, let’s take a closer look at the UK itself.
About the UK
There aren’t a lot of people in the world unfamiliar with the UK, a region made up of England, Wales, Scotland and the northern portion of Ireland.
The capital is London, which is among the world’s leading commercial, financial and cultural centres. Other major cities include Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh.
The Head of State is of course Queen Elizabeth II, with Theresa May serving as Prime Minister.
The UK is also home to icons and public figures such as Sir Richard Branson, JK Rowling, Dame Helen Mirren, John Cleese, Banksy, and has given the world Wimbledon, rugby, soccer (or football) and cricket.
English is the UK’s official language. English originated in the UK and has become one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages, in business, tourism and everyday life.
Mention the UK’s weather and most people think of rainy days straight away. It’s for good reason, as rainfall is well distributed throughout the year. October to January see the highest rainfall, while February to March are the driest months of the year.
Summer reaches its peak around July to August, while January to February are the coldest months. The months with the best weather are May to June, and September to October.
The UK education system is divided into four main stages:
- Primary Education.
- Secondary Education.
- Further Education.
- Higher Education.
It’s compulsory for children to attend primary and secondary education, which runs from about the ages of 5 to 16.
During secondary school, students start preparing for their GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education). Once this certificate has been obtained, students have the choice of extending their education to A-Levels or other similar qualifications.
The higher education stage is when school leavers attend a university to study a degree of their choice. The UK has over 100 universities offering various degree programs to choose from.
The London Underground is perhaps one of the best known public transport systems in the world. This is the subway train system that connects most places in London with the city centre.
It’s not the only railway system in the UK though. There are a number of railway and train operators in the UK. The UK also offers taxi services, intercity bus services, and ferries.
The UK has a National Health System (NHS) which provides healthcare to its people. The NHS is financed through general taxation and is run by the Department of Health.
Despite the NHS cover, many people in the UK choose private care and private health insurance. This may be driven by increasing waiting times for NHS treatment.
The UK health system
Hospitals in the UK are organized as hospital trusts with three levels:
- Community hospitals;
- District hospitals; and
- Regional or inter-regional hospitals. These hospitals include specialist hospitals offering advanced treatment.
The NHS uses General Practitioners (GPs) to provide primary healthcare and to make referrals to further services and specialists services at hospitals as needed. Other primary healthcare practitioners include dentists, opticians, and pharmacists.
The UK saw a 0.2% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018, with manufacturing growth picking up in the preceding year. Economic growth slowed slight in 2017, which could be attributed to a number of factors, including rising inflation.
Taking a more general look at the UK’s economy, it’s known to be highly developed and market-oriented, with one of the most globalized economies. The service sector dominates the UK economy, with the financial services industry being the next biggest contributor to the UK economy.
The UK’s official currency is the British Pound, even though the UK is part of the EU.
You’ll find that only the Pound is accepted at shops and service providers, with the exception of some bigger retailers, such as Harrods and Selfridges, where Euros are also accepted.
Now let’s take a closer look at how to obtain UK residency through a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa offers foreign nationals the opportunity to gain UK residency by investing in the UK economy.
- Suitable for: High net worth individuals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who are looking for permanent residency for themselves and their families in the UK.
- Validity period: The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is valid for a maximum of three years and 4 months, but is renewable for a further 2 years. Individuals can make citizenship applications after residing in the UK for 5 years.
Investment requirements of the Tier 1 (Investor) visa
You must have at least GBP2,000,000 investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
These funds must be:
- Held in one or more regulated financial institutions; and
- Free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK.
Further to this, you must:
- Be able to prove that the funds belong to either you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner.
- You have opened a UK bank account.
Your money can be in the UK or overseas when you apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
Evidence of investment funds
You’ll need to be able to prove that you have the required investment funds. You’ll need to provide certified translations of documents not in English or Welsh.
Your own money
If you’re investing your own money, you should be able to show:
- How much money you have and where it’s held.
- Where the money came from, if you haven’t had the money for at least three months. For example, where you inherited it from a relative.
- That the money can be transferred to the UK and converted to sterling (if it’s not already in the UK).
Your partner’s money
You’ll need to provide:
- A certificate of marriage or civil partnership, or in the case of unmarried or same-sex relationships, proof that you are in a long-term relationship of at least two years.
- A statement from your partner confirming that they will allow you to control the funds in the UK.
- A letter from a legal adviser stating that the declaration is valid.
What the Tier 1 (Investor) visa allow
There are certain things you can and can’t do on the Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
- Invest GBP2,000,000 or more in the UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
- Work or study.
- Invest in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property investment or property development.
- Work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
- Get public funds.
- Work as a doctor or dentist in training unless one of the following applies:
- You have a primary degree at bachelors level or above in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence or is a UK recognized or listed body.
- You worked as a doctor or dentist in training the last time you were in the UK.
- Neither of those conditions were part of the terms and conditions on a previous visa.
Your immediate family members can come with you when you come to the UK on the Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
The eligible family members are:
- Your husband, wife or partner.
- Children under the age of 18.
Accelerated route to permanent residence
Should you wish to, you can fast-track your permanent residence through an accelerated route.
This route is only available to the main applicant. Family members, as discussed above, can only apply for permanent residence after give years.
There are two investment options:
- Invest GBP10 million or more for settlement after two years.
- Invest GBP5 million or more for settlement after three years
Benefits of UK residency
UK residency offers a number of benefits;
- Life in a diverse and multicultural society.
- Superior standards of education, a wide network of state and private schools, and more than 150 universities and higher education institutions.
- One of the best free healthcare services in the world.
- The UK is a member of the G8 and is still a member of the EU.
- One of the most powerful passports in the world, with visa-free travel to 173 countries around the world.
- Attractive tax regime for high net worth investors classed as UK residents.
General requirements of the Tier 1 (Investor) visa
You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Maintain the investment amount throughout the citizenship process without decline in asset value.
- Live in the UK. You are allowed 180 days of absence per year.
- Have no prior criminal record.
- Have sufficient financial means and accommodation.
Once you have lived in the UK for five or more years, you’ll be eligible to apply for UK citizenship, provided you meet the following requirements:
- You were absent from the UK for no more than 90 days in the 12 months prior to the application.
- The total number of days spent outside the UK for the entire five-year qualifying period should not exceed 450 days. This is three months of every year.
- Be of good character and not in breach of any immigration laws.
- Demonstrate a good knowledge of UK life and culture, as well as a basic level of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic languages.