Let us just say this:
We don’t think that many people could be on the fence about investing in the United Kingdom.
Hands down, it’s one of the freest, richest, and most stable countries in the world.
The United Kingdom is a key player in many global organizations, has one of the best developed public services (e.g., healthcare and education), and offers its citizens a passport that’s ranked 6th in the world in terms of its travel power.
The quality of life in the islands is also top-notch. You simply wouldn’t have access to some of the world’s best cultural and sports events in, say, Malta or Cyprus.
The United Kingdom is a great place if you’re an investor who wants to actually live in the country that he invests in.
All that said, the post-Brexit uncertainty is still high and it’s bound to affect the country in many ways.
For example, its passport rank will drop and its restricted access to the European Union market will make some investors think twice.
Still, the country remains one of the leaders in the investment immigration world.
And it’s great that it offers not just one, but a plethora of ways to gain access to its market.
UK TIER 1 VISA FOR INVESTORS
• Invest £2, £5, or £10 million in UK business shares
• Gain residence for 3 years, with a possible 2-year extension
• No knowledge of the English language required
• Application costs of approximately $2,200
• Invest £5 million to gain permanent residence in 3 years and citizenship in 5 years
• Invest £10 million to gain permanent residence in 2 years and citizenship in 5 years
• Have a clean criminal record
• Be of good character
• Have at least £2 million in funds at your disposal
Then, the UK’s Tier 1 Visa for Investors will probably make the most sense for you.
This path to temporary residence in the UK is designed for those who want (and can) make a substantial financial investment in the country. We’re talking about at least £2 million in funds invested or more.
It sure is no small sum, but if you’re looking for a way to access not just the European Union but also the Commonwealth, plus a way to secure UK residency and even citizenship, this is the most straightforward way to achieve it.
And investors from all around the world have taken notice.
In 2019, the Tier 1 Investor Visa generated about £1 billion and had become one of Europe’s most lucrative Golden Visas.
Chinese applicants account for nearly half of all applications – no surprise there– and Hong Kong citizens came second. Brazilians, Americans, and Iranians are some of the other most prevalent applicants for the UK’s investor visa.
The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is much like any other investor visa.
You’ll be expected to invest in companies that are currently active and trading in the United Kingdom. Choose if you’d like to invest in share capital or loan capital, based on your financial standing and goals.
But what’s up with the different investment sums, we hear you ask.
Well, your permanent residence (known as settled status or indefinite leave to remain) depends on it:
• Invest £2 million to gain permanent residence in 5 years and citizenship in 6 years
Whichever option you choose, you must hold the entire investment for as long as your visa is valid.
• Be over 18 years of age
Note how there is no longer a requirement as to your nationality. Before, only non-EEA applicants used to be able to apply for Tier 1 visas, but it has since been opened up to everyone post-Brexit.
Now, let’s talk about those funds because there are a bunch of requirements for those too.
You can either be in possession of the money, or they can be your partner’s (married, unmarried, in a civil partnership, same-sex – the important thing here is that you’ve been together for at least two years).
Have you held this money for at least two years? Good, because you won’t be needing to take any additional steps.
However, if the cash has been in your possession for less than two years, you will need to trace the origin of all of it and let the UK government know too.
The money needs to be held in a regulated financial institution (anywhere in the world), from which you’ll need to provide a certificate that proves that you’re free to use the money.
In other words, you’ll need to show that your funds could be transferred to the UK, be converted into pound sterling (if applicable), and be spent.
THE PROS AND CONS OF UK TIER 1 VISA
There’s no need to go on and on about the key benefits of applying for a Tier 1 visa to live and work in the UK.
However, sometimes it’s easier to weigh up a decision that’s as big as this when you see it all clearly written out.
So, here are the main pros of a UK Tier 1 visa:
Unlike many other countries in the investment immigration world, the UK has a long-standing tradition of welcoming foreign investors. Its government website is also crystal clear on the eligibility requirements, application procedures, and everything in between.
Obtaining your Tier 1 visa will take just a few months.
Bring your family.
Under every Tier 1 visa option, you’re able to bring your partner and children under the age of 18 with no additional investment needed. What’s great is that you can be in a civil partnership, marriage, or be unmarried. Same-sex couples are also eligible.
A great quality of life.
The UK is one of the best countries in the world to live, work, and study in. It offers unmatched cultural heritage and it’s very well connected to the world.
Attractive tax regime.
High-net-worth individuals who are resident in the country but are not domiciled there can take advantage of a very flexible tax regime.
But there are some negative sides to the Tier 1 visa too:
Brexit. A lot of uncertainty remains when it comes to Brexit and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Whereas there is no dire and imminent threat to most UK businesses, only time will tell how the country’s economy changes in general.
Passport losing power. The British passport has dropped in the world’s passport rankings due to its withdrawal from the EU. Brits will need a visa or a visa-waiver to travel to the EU.
OBTAINING CITIZENSHIP OF THE UK
Depending on which Tier 1 Visa option you choose and how much you invest, at some point, you’ll become eligible to apply for UK citizenship.
Of course, you don’t have to go for it, but seeing as British citizenship holds many valuable benefits, we’ll briefly discuss the eligibility criteria.
If you’ve applied for the Investor Visa, you can apply for citizenship in five years if you invest £5 million or £10 million.
Meanwhile, those investors who make do with the minimum sum of £2 million will need to wait an additional year.
Under the Innovator and the Start-up visas, you would become eligible for naturalization after six years.
The first step will be to obtain your permanent residence in the country (known as the ILR). You cannot have spent more than 450 cumulative days outside of the UK in the five-year period to apply for your ILR.
Once you hold your settled status for at least 12 months, you’ll be able to apply for citizenship.
Note that for the 12-month period prior to applying for citizenship, you cannot spend longer than 90 days abroad.
In addition to the time spent abroad restrictions, people looking to get naturalized will need to pass the Live in the UK test (not required if older than 65 years), and prove that they speak English at a B1 level.
Dual citizenship is allowed in the UK, so you won’t have to renounce your original citizenship to reap the benefits of becoming not just a citizen of the United Kingdom, but of the Commonwealth too.
Choose the company you expect to call