How to Get an Investor Visa in UK?
The UK government is no longer accepting applications for the Investor Visa as of 17 February 2022, however, if you have entered the UK before this date on the investor visa, you may continue to reside there until it’s time to issue a new visa application.
Keep reading to learn what the investor visa was, what replaced it and what to do if you’re already in the UK with a Tier 1 investor visa.
What is the Investor Visa UK?
The UK investor visa was in place until 17 February 2022 and allowed foreign citizens to have residency in the UK for up to 5 years after making an investment in the UK worth at least £2 million. The investor visa was also known as the golden visa due to the high sum that was required. It was withdrawn after concerns of criminal behaviour and abetting financial crimes such as fraud and money laundering, however, anyone who received an investor visa before this date is permitted to remain in the UK until the end of the visa.
Can You Still Extend a UK Investor Visa?
Although no new applications are being taken for the investor visa, if you obtained your investor visa before 17 February 2022, you can still extend your investor visa providing you meet several requirements.
If you obtained your investor visa before 6 November 2014, to extend your visa, you must:
- have invested £750,000 in UK government bonds, or capital in active UK companies within the first 3 months of your investor start date (date of entry to the UK or date of visa approval)
- have had a minimum of £2 million invested in UK government bonds, or share or loan capital in active UK companies since 6 April 2020
- have had at least £1 million in the UK in your control before 6 April 2020
If you obtained your investor visa between 6 November 2014 and 17 February 2022, to extend your visa, you must:
- have invested at least £2 million in the UK within 3 months of your investor start date
- have at least £2 million in your control in the UK
- have invested those funds in capital in active UK companies
It costs £1,638 to extend your visa as well as the health surcharge, and you must provide sufficient evidence of your investments to be approved by an official UK financial institution.
Please note you must submit extension applications before 17 February 2026 and settlement applications before 17 February 2028.
What Replaced the Investor Visa?
If you are looking to invest money in the UK and receive temporary residency, it’s not as simple as it was previously with the investor visa, and several types of visa may be appropriate, depending on each individual’s circumstances. These include:
- Global Talent Visa
- Innovator Founder visa
- Skilled Worker visa
- Scale-up Worker visa
- Student visa
The Innovator Founder visa was designed to replace the Tier 1 investor visa; You must have enough funds to start a business in the UK, however, that business must be unlike anything already in the UK market, demonstrate how it will greatly benefit the UK economy and create jobs, and show how it will grow into the national and later international market. If you don’t have a tight business plan that’s approved by a UK authority, you won’t be eligible for the Innovator Founder visa.
The Global Talent visa is also similar to the investor visa although rather than focusing on a large financial investment, it looks for industry leaders across academia and research, arts and culture, and digital technology. To obtain the Global Talent visa, you must have a letter of endorsement from a registered UK company to demonstrate your qualifications.
The skilled worker visa also has limitations, as it permits you to live and work within the UK, however, only if your job title is among those listed as “skilled work”, you have a UK company eager to employ you and pay an appropriate salary, and you have sufficient funds to support you during your time in the UK. The right-to-work status also changed in 2022.
What’s the Difference Between the Start-Up Visa and Innovator Visa?
The start-up visa was a business-related visa that granted anyone looking to start a business in the UK temporary residency and the right to work, providing they have a solid business plan that demonstrates uniqueness, job creation and intended growth which will support the UK economy. This had to be endorsed by a relevant UK authority. However, the start-up visa is no longer viable and has been replaced by the innovator founder visa, so there are slight differences.
The innovator founder visa has the same requirements of uniqueness, innovation, viability and scalability but requires a minimum of £50,000 investment in your business from the outset, is valid for up to 3 years and costs £1,036 if applied for from outside the UK. Each of your dependents and your partner who wishes to join you in the UK must also pay this fee.
On the contrary, the start-up visa was only valid for 2 years, meaning it did not lead to settlement in the UK, but required applicants to obtain a different visa once the start-up visa had expired.
Can You Buy a House in the UK and Get a Visa?
While some countries around the world have property visas allowing foreign nationals to gain residency by buying property of a certain value, the UK does not have such a visa. While you can buy a property in the UK without having residency or citizenship, your immigration status remains the same, so if you needed a visa to enter the UK before, you will still need one even after buying a house.
What’s more, although the investor visa allowed foreign nationals to obtain temporary residency after investing over £2 million, this had to be invested in active and trading UK companies, excluding those that worked in property investment, management or development.
When Can You Get British Citizenship?
British citizenship is different from having settled status or indefinite leave to remain in the UK, and is more difficult to get. To get British citizenship, you must already have settled status or ILR. You may apply for ILR if you have lived in the UK for 5 years or more on a relevant visa route, or, if you are on a Global Talent or Innovator Founder visa, you may apply after 3 years instead.
Once you have received your settled status, you can apply for British citizenship provided you have not spent more than 450 days outside of the UK during those 5 years, and no more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months prior to your application. You must also be over 18, prove your ability to communicate and understand in English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic, intend to live permanently in the UK, and have not committed any serious crimes, including immigration fraud. Children under 18 can have an adult apply for British citizenship on their behalf.
As well as meeting these requirements, to obtain British citizenship, you must pass the Life in the UK test, designed to ensure each candidate’s knowledge of the history and culture of the UK to allow for easy integration. The application fee is £1,330 for adults and £1,012 for children, although there are other smaller costs for certain necessary documents.
Get Help with Your UK Visa Application – Synergy Immigration Solutions
Understanding which visa you need and gathering all the right documents alone is far from easy, which is why Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help you achieve your dream of living and working or studying in the UK.
Contact us now to find out how we can help you.