Tier 1 Investor Visa is specifically designed for wealthy foreign nationals who wish to relocate to the UK and invest a minimum of £2,000,000 in the UK economy. Successful applicants are granted a 3-year stay in the UK with the possibility of an extension of a further 2 years if all essential requirements are met.

If you have at least £50,000 that you would like to invest into starting up your own business in the UK, you may be a suitable candidate for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa instead.

Work restrictions & partners

Investor Visa applicants can manage their investments but are prohibited from working in the UK. However, their spouse who is also granted entry into the UK on this visa is eligible for employment during their stay. Due to this, many applicants of this business investment visa make the less active partner the main applicant. Tier 1 Investor Visa applicants are permitted to be accompanied by their spouse and children who can take advantage of the same benefits as UK citizens.

How can we help you?

Our expert team of trusted legal advisers will ensure that your entire application process runs smoothly, from document preparation to interview. We’ll even help you put together a custom business plan for your investment to prove your genuineness as a UK investor. For further information about how Imperial Visas can help you succeed, contact us today on +44 (0)20 3627 4777 or email info@imperialvisas.com.

Eligibility for Tier 1 Investor visa

The Tier 1 Investor visa is quite different from other tier 1 visas as it does not require the applicant to have a sponsorship certificate from a licensed sponsor to gain entry clearance. Individuals can apply for this UK business investor visa if they are non EEA and Swiss nationals.

The following criteria allow applicants to qualify for this visa:

  • Applicants must have at least £2,000,000 which should be held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the United Kingdom
  • Applicant own personal assets worth £2,000,000 in value after liabilities.
  • Applicants who are in the UK and wish to make an initial application for the investor category.
  • Applicants who are already in the UK under the former investor category and wish to extend their stay within the new tier 1 investor category.
  • Applicants who are already in the UK under the tier 1 investor category and who wish to extend their stay in the existing category.
  • Applicants applying from outside the UK for entry clearance on the investor category.

Investments and source of funding

The money should be held in the bank account for 3 months before the date of application. If the money has been held in the bank account or portfolio for less than 3 months, then it is necessary to give specified evidence regarding the source of the money. The source of funding in this case can be one of the below:

  • Will
  • Divorce Settlement
  • Award or winnings
  • Gift
  • Sale deed
  • Evidence from a business

The minimum investment required is £2 million, which is enough for the initial application, though according to the new rules the qualifying period for settlement depends on the sums already invested, so there are 3 categories:

  • £2 million and more
  • £5 million and more
  • £10 million and more

Money can be invested within 3 months of entering to the UK in proportion: 75% of the capital by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies other than those principally engaged in property investment and 25% as other assets; or the whole of the amount can be invested in UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered company or companies.

Money should be disposable in the UK which means that it is held in a UK based financial institution or, if held outside the UK, it should be freely transferable to the UK and convertible to sterling. It can include money or assets belonging to the applicant’s spouse, civil partner or unmarried or same-sex partner, provided that specified documents are provided to show that the money or assets are under the applicant’s control and that he/she is free to invest them in the UK.


Tier 1 Investor visa migrants will be able to invite their spouse/unmarried partner/civil partner and children under 18 years of age to join them as dependants in the UK. The dependants will be given full rights to work in the UK apart from working as Trainee Doctor/Dentist or professional sportsperson or a sports coach.

PBS dependants can now apply from within the UK, as long as they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release or on bail in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor Visa Extension

Successful applicants are initially permitted to stay for a period of 3 years which they can extend by a further 2 years so that they have sufficient time to study the market and invest in the most appropriate business. Applicants applying for an extension are assessed on a points based system. They must fulfill one of the following criteria:

30 points are awarded if the applicant has a minimum of £1 million of their own money that is disposable in the UK.

30 points are awarded if the applicant has personal assets to the value of at least £2 million without any liabilities.

If the applicant has a loan of £2 million minimum under their control, it must be taken out with an FSA regulated loan provider.

Applicants must fulfill all of the below criteria for Investor visa extension:

Applicants must invest a minimum of £1,500,000 through UK government bonds, share capital or investment capital in active UK companies. The companies should not be involved in property investment nor is depositing money in a bank or building society considered an investment.

The investment must have been made within 3 months of obtaining the investor visa and must be maintained throughout the duration of the visa.

Allowable absences

The Tier 1 Investor visa migrants will be allowed to remain outside the UK up to maximum 180 days in any calendar year without losing their right to apply for permanent settlement after 2 years (£10 Million investment), 3 years (£ 5 million investment) or 5 years (£2 million investment).

Duration of Tier 1 Investor visa and settlement

First time applicants will be given 3 years’ and 4 months’ leave to enter or three years’ leave to remain if they switch from another immigration category in the UK.

Qualifying period for settlement (ILR) is:

  • 2 years from the point when £10m is invested; or
  • 3 years from the point when £5m is invested; or
  • 5 years if £1m invested

Therefore those who invest £2m will require a visa extension for 2 years to enable them to complete five years’ residence in the UK and apply for ILR in the UK.

The requirements relating to naturalization applications have not been affected and even if they obtain ILR in two years by investing £10 million in the UK economy they would still be required to wait for another 3 years and comply with the residence requirements in order to apply for naturalization in the UK.

Benefits Offered

Tier 1 Investor Visa applicants are exempt from several essential requirements that other Tier 1 Visa category holders must comply with. They are also entitled to the following benefits:

  • Free education
  • Free healthcare
  • Work opportunities
  • Possessing an Investor Visa is considered a status symbol
  • Exemption from certain prerequisites such as English proficiency, minimum age and education requirements
  • Proof of personal income tax is not required
  • The main applicant can be either the husband or wife and they can be accompanied by their children under the age of 18 years. If their child is above the age of 18, the applicant will need to transfer their assets to their child’s name and appoint the child as the main applicant. If the child intends to study in the UK, the parents can apply for the Investor Visa as the child can obtain immigration status as a student.
  • The main applicant is required to live in their UK home for a minimum of 183 days
  • The processing time for an Investor Visa is less in comparison to other visas. Investor Visas usually take between 3 to 5 months to process.